Finally, I can spill the beans!
Even though I shared I was applying to school, I didn’t say much more because I didn’t know if I would actually get in.
But yesterday morning I got the acceptance letter into UVA’s Master in Nursing program!
I also applied to Emory, Columbia, and Vanderbilt and will be hearing back from those schools in January and February, but for now at least I know I am actually going back to school.
And I’m going back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner!
Back in August, after a year working as an RD I started to feel limited in my job. The practice I work at and the doctors I work with are incredible. I get to teach and counsel and help people transition to a [mostly] plant based diet, reverse chronic disease and beat cancer, and talk about quinoa and give grocery store tours and lead workshops and give talks to healthcare facilities and corporate businesses. I love it. And I feel super blessed.
Being an RD is wonderful, but after a year it wasn’t as fulfilling anymore. As Nutshell Nutrition grew, I was seeing more and more clients with all kinds of health issues. I had this passion for women’s health that was growing exponentially. I read and researched and learned a ton from the endocrinologist I work alongside, Dr. Bush, but I was at a dead end in my practice. I wanted to comprehensively care for the entire person and as an RD I couldn’t.
And that frustrated me.
So one day I began to think….could I actually go back to school?
I began my undergraduate career at Indiana University as a pre-med student, but after two years my passion for nutrition and frustration with traditional, diagnose-and-treat medicine, steered me towards a career in dietetics. But when I began working at Revolution Health Center with these doctors who not only cared about nutrition, but centered their medical practice around it, my whole view of healthcare changed.
But she put the idea in my head so I began researching. And reading about nursing and the role of the Nurse Practitioner and it felt so right.
Comprehensive, holistic care focused on education and prevention and empowering patients.
Now, I realize MDs can totally care this way too…I work with two doctors who provide phenomenal comprehensive, preventative care. But the nursing education and role of the NP was exactly what I was looking for. And then after researching schools and programs I learned there were NP programs designed for people who already have a Bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major. And these accelerated programs only took 2 to 2 1/2 years to complete.
I was ecstatic.
But for a day or two I hesitated.
Was I insane to go back to school after just finishing 5 years of school to be an RD?
Was I making a mistake by leaving this one-of-a-kind job I never thought I’d find?
Was I crazy to potentially leave this town I love with all these amazing friends and community?
After talking with momma Coale, the answer was a definite no.
I wasn’t crazy. I couldn’t imagine the rest of my career as an RD. I wouldn’t be happy. I knew I wanted to help people beyond nutrition. I’m single, don’t have kiddos yet, and am only 24. If there was a time to make a career change it was now.
So the next day I signed up for the GRE, took the GRE three weeks later, and began the application process. In the 4 months from mid August to the end of November I studied and took the GRE, visited schools and completed applications. Once I decided to go back to school, I just dove right in.
My mom was my biggest encourager. She’s amazing. And she’s the one that encouraged me to just go for it. And I’m so glad I did.
Getting accepted to UVA was a sigh of relief that yes, regardless of if I get accepted to Emory, Columbia or Vanderbilt I did get accepted to UVA and I am going back to school as soon as May!
I’m excited. So, so excited. As an NP, I’ll be able to practice independently from an MD or I can practice alongside an MD and that autonomy will be awesome. NPs can essentially do everything an MD can, except NPs are nurses and MDs are doctors. It’s crazy to me how I began college as a pre-med student, then became an RD and will eventually be an NP. But God knew exactly what he was doing. I didn’t.
I’m so glad I became an RD first. I’ll always be an RD and I see becoming an NP as a career expansion rather than a career change.
So for now, I can rest easy knowing I’m accepted to at least one school.
But, I’m dying to find out about the other three and see where I’ll be come May.
Here’s to the next adventure!
Can you elaborate more on why becoming a PA didn’t sit right with you? I’m trying to decide between PA and NP school. Thanks!
I love this article so much! I am actually a Registered Dietitian and feel the exact same way you did! I am actually looking into entry level MSN programs or doing the accelerated BSN to MSN track. If it possible I could contact you via email? I’m sure you don’t usually do this but I would love to pick your brain a little bit more on the different programs you have looked at. It is a big decision and I’m looking at starting to apply for programs for next spring or fall of 2019.
Hi Jen! I’m excited for you! I do mentor calls if you’re interested in signing up for that – you can email [email protected]. This is a topic I get loads of email on and the best way for us to talk is to sign up and schedule a mentor call 🙂
Hi Robyn and Jen! I was wondering if either of you could speak a bit more on why you feel being a RD is limiting. I have my BA in a social science and I am considering a career change to RD! I am looking into MS programs in Nutritional Science that have coordinated programs in Dietetics (CPD). Any advice/input would be greatly appreciated!
Hi, I think it is si awesome that you are a np and dietitian. I am starting nursing school in a few weeks and want to eventually become a NP.
However, I’m afraid I will always regret not becoming a dietitian.
I wanted to ask you if there is a way to practice nutrition as a NP without having a RD license.
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for me? You have the perfect mix.
Raag Shanker says
My name is Raag and I just became a registered dietitian. I know that i definitely want to have the RD credential for the rest of my professional career, but I really want to become a diabetes nurse practitioner. I wanted to know how you gained more insight about which schools/programs to apply to and if you had to retake any undergraduate courses. I look forward to your response!
Alice Carroll says
Thanks for pointing out that there will indeed be doubts about whether it’s the right call to opt for continuing education at any point in one’s life. My boyfriend is thinking about looking for a nurse practitioner program after a year of working as a registered nurse. Hopefully, he will be able to feel fulfilled with his career when taking this path.
I am debating right now whether to become an rd or a nurse practitioner. I think I have a deeper passion for reversing diagnoses clinically through integrative medicine . Specifically for my community. From this article it seems like I’m on the right bath. I’m passionate about diet and nutrition but I feel like I can specialize (even just get a certificate) in that but focus on potentially setting myself up to have a practice or copractice that helps people. I would love to know your thoughts as well as how it’s going. Btw I’m coming from IT 😂
Charlotte Pool says
Omg. I found your blog through Hummusapien which I’ve been following for years. I would absolutely love to pick your brain about your career. I’ve been a nurse for six years and will graduate as an FNP in May. My interest in in holistic health and preventative medicine. I am a big believer in intuitive eating and movement and always have been. You are basically living my dream and working as a nutritional/lifestyle coach in preventative medicine as an NP is what I want to do above all else. How did you get into this? What was your path? Do you have any suggestions for me?