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Direct Entry MSN/DNP student to PA?

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So I just finished my BS in Neurobiology in May and am currently a student in a direct entry MSN program. The MSN is 15 months long, about 65 (?) credits, and after completion, students are able to sit for the NCLEX and become an RN. There is also the option to apply to and continue in the 2.5 year-long DNP track to become an NP. There's a 86% acceptance rate (or so I've been told) into the DNP for current MSN students. I just finished my first semester of the MSN will be done this time next year.

During undergrad, I was planning to apply to PA school. However, my GPA was sitting below a 3.0 until the end of my senior year, and I graduated with a 3.116 cGPA. I applied to the nursing program mostly on a whim/as a backup and got in, and decided to move forward with it instead of doing a post-bacc. I figured I could just do NP instead through the DNP, since I was already on that track. But, I was still really dreaming of PA school, for a lot of the usual reasons- medical model curriculum, clinical hours, generalist training, etc.

I've realized I am really not happy with the idea of giving up PA school to do the DNP. Especially with my program- I've been trying to get a solid answer on the clinical hours for the program; both administration faculty and DNP students I've talked to have given really ambiguous answers- as low as 600 to maybe 1000 (yikes!) at best. You're also expected to take the NP certifying exams before the last year of the program and procure your own placements (i.e. apply for and get a job) after that. It is also unclear how much supervision is given/who is supervising students in the NP clinicals, I've been asking about that too. The school is really involved with nurse lobbying groups for independent practice and has what is best described as a "we're the same as doctors" attitude, both from administration and a lot of my peers. This is all coming from a really well known nursing school, so its kind of disappointing and surprising to see that that sort of sentiment has such a far reach. The DNP also costs like 150k, and I'm already eyeballs deep in loans for the MSN. I've decided that its time to jump ship on the DNP and try for PA school.

I have been doing really well so far- I managed a 3.9 this semester. My cGPA is now a 3.21, and my sGPA- if we include all nursing classes from this summer semester- is a 3.163. Above the usual 3.0 cutoff but not very competitive. I plan on working for a year as an RN to get more experience. I took the GRE twice- 312 + 3.5 writing the first time, and then 305 + 4.5 writing the second time. I have about 800 hours as a CNA from undergrad, and for HCE I have about 550 hours as an activities assistant in a nursing home, but that's from around 2014-2015. I have most of my prereqs done- my intro Bio, intro Chem are not great, mostly BCs with one C. My other prereqs, Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology and upper level neuro courses are ABs/Bs. I'm going to take microbio lab and biochemistry as well.

The questions I have-

  1. I'd really like to hear from someone who is either an RN in/applying to PA school, or goes to school with someone who has done so.

  2. Is it worth it to apply to schools during the first year of working as RN (I'm iffy on how the app cycle works tbh, so applying starting late 2020 into early 2021? I'd be able to start working in late 2020.), or do I work the first year to get all the hours and then apply? Would schools still seriously consider my application and experience based on the expectation I'll be working up until matriculation?

  3. I know there are programs who look closely at the last 60cr, but generally, will most schools give some extra consideration to a high GPA in just the MSN program since it's not undergrad level work?

  4. I am fresh out of undergrad so I'm still really young- but at what point/how many cycles in should I give up on PA school if I don't get in and just do the DNP?

  5. Do schools accept/look at both GRE scores? Do they calculate a "superscore" like the ACT and take the best Qualitative and best Quantitative and add them?

  6. CASPA lists Nursing other Other Sciences. Just to clarify- does it really mean ALL nursing classes? Even the not-science-y-at-all courses on theory and health equity? If no, my sGPA drops to a 2.98.

  7. Any other comments- strengths/weakness of my plan, things I should consider, work on, etc.

tl;dr current RN student with low undergrad stats who wants to apply to PA school

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