What should a nurse in the Philippines do if she already has a master of arts in nursing and wants to pursue a doctorate in the U.S.?

By | 2022-02-18T14:44:30-05:00 October 10th, 2014|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

The importance of education is something I have valued and understood since childhood. I have a question about the complex process of student visa application in the United States.

I believe my current situation will probably complicate things during the visa application process. I have a BSN and am on the verge of finishing a master of arts in nursing in early 2015 here in the Philippines. I am also hold an RN license in my country and the U.S. I have applied to various recruiters and finally signed a contract with one. The agency will be responsible for finding me an employer in Minnesota and assist me with the EB3 application. They have promised to file it within this year or during the first quarter of 2015.

I am very keen to enhance my nursing knowledge and skills to the next level. Since it is my longtime dream to be an APRN and obtain a doctorate degree in the U.S. I am planning to enroll a Master of Science in Nursing at a university in Indiana, which is expected to commence an MScN program in the third quarter of 2015. I know based on the U.S. Embassy website; there is a lesser chance for me to be approved since I will be taking another master’s degree program. However, I would like to try my luck since I am aware that a Philippine master’s degree in nursing is not equivalent to a U.S. master’s degree. In fact, according to the experience my fellow nurses who are master’s degree holder in the Philippines, they need to take an extra unit or redo another master’s degree program in the U.S. before pursuing a course to become an APRN.

It is purely my intention to obtain an educational degree in the U.S. as I am planning to immigrate later in my life. I am not ready to do it right now. Will my EB3 application be negatively affected if I pursue a student visa? Would it be better to wait for my EB3 approval even though there is a three-year backlog on approvals?


Passionate About Education

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Passionate About Education,

You certainly have a well-thought out plan for your future education and career. Before enrolling in a MSN program in the U.S., contact the international admissions counselor at some schools that offer an MSN/DNP or BSN/DNP bridge program. You may be able to do both at the same time (MSN/DNP) and save time and money plus get around the “repeat master’s degree” issue. You can find these schools by doing an Internet search.

It is challenging for me to answer your visa questions since they are very specific. You really need someone with visa expertise to speak with, such as an immigration attorney. I suggest that you contact www.CGFNS.org, formerly known as the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.

They have attorneys on staff who will usually talk to nurses to answer the questions you have related to immigration, education visas and more. If not, they should be able to refer you to someone who will.

There also is a very large and active network of Filipino nurses in the U.S. I suggest you contact them through the Philippine Nurses Association of America (www.mypnaa.org) to help and support you in this journey. It is likely that some of the members/officers have faced the same issue of wanting to get a DNP without having a US-acquired MSN, and can advise you.

Best wishes,


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