Master's of Nursing Degree, Nurse Practitioner

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

April 1993

I have been sick often this past winter with four colds, gastrointestinal virus, and bronchitis. I was only able to go skiing once in Vermont even though we had tons of snow. Things are going well as a visiting nurse even though I have been assigned to three different districts and had my office desk relocated five times in eight months. I’m the sole nurse in a beautiful rural area. I had to switch supervisors, which has been difficult because the two I have now complain constantly, but I’m trying to adjust.

May 1994

During my annual evaluation with the director of the visiting nurses, she asked what career goal I had for the next year? I replied that I was considering getting a Master’s degree, but wasn’t sure which area to pursue. I asked if she had any suggestions? She said, “I think you would make a wonderful Nurse Practitioner (NP).”  I never heard of a Nurse Practitioner, so I asked her to describe the role to me. She said an NP receives advanced training through a Master’s degree program and is taught how to diagnose and treat common conditions, much like a Family Practice physician does. NPs can also specialize in pediatrics, adults, geriatrics, critical care, psychiatry, gynecology, etc. She told me of several excellent NP programs in my state to investigate.

July 1994

After much prayer, I decided to go to graduate school to study for my Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) as an Adult Nurse Practitioner if I get accepted. I spoke with several NPs who are currently employed and it sounds like a great career. My salary would also increase, so hopefully, I won’t need to work two jobs to make ends meet. Many of them have private practices or work in MD offices.

I applied to the State University last week and received permission to take a three-hour evening class in Nursing Issues this fall. I won’t learn if I am accepted into the program until April 1995, but they will allow me to take six hours of credits prior to matriculating. The Visiting Nurse Association where I currently work will reimburse me the tuition up to two classes a semester as long as I get an A or B grade in the course. I will probably take four to five years doing it this way part-time while working full time during the day, so I’m trusting the Lord to give me strength.

For my spring semester course, I might be able to go to the Dominican Republic for two weeks in January and study trans-cultural nursing. The only holdup is that I am short three days of vacation time between Christmas and New Year’s. I will see if the Lord opens the door or not.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)


I began to work on my MSN at the age of thirty-nine after being out of school for nineteen years. I was glad there were others in my class who were older than me along with a few younger ones. It was a long hard pull over the next four years, and I nearly dropped out which I will tell more about in future posts. I am thankful I became a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) rather than an Adult NP as I originally planned. I was much more marketable as an FNP than ANP when I graduated since I could provide care for all ages of people from birth to death. I worked as an NP for the next fifteen years. I recouped the cost of my graduate school education the first year after graduation with my doubled salary, so it was a good decision financially.

My well-worn stethoscopes


I learned how to examine ears and eyes.

Here is an interesting timeline about how Nurse Practitioners began in 1965. The reason I had never heard of NPs was that the physicians in Ohio where I received my BSN blocked NP programs for many years because they did not want them filling physician jobs. Since then, most physicians specialize and so they welcome NPs, especially in the Family Practice role.

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