Over the past year and a half, I have been exploring various health care professions (i.e. through volunteering and shadowing). I have been looking closely at the Nurse Practitioner role for the last few months and it seems like a relatively good fit. However, there are still some lingering questions that I have:
1. How great is the demand for Nurse Practitioners and what are the future prospects for them? It seems that when I open the newspaper and check out the classifieds, there are usually an abundance of RN positions available. I have yet to see that many (if any) postings for NP's. Albeit, this may not be the best place to look, but I thought it might show some evidence.
2. The areas that sound the most interesting to me at this point are the ACNP, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Midwife. I am also a person who appreciates work-life balance ( I enjoy coaching football and look forward to having a family someday). It seems that Nursing allows for that. In these areas (and for NP's in general), does this hold true? Or, does the greater responsibilities of the NP impede that balance?
3. Since I would be a Non-Nurse looking to get into Nursing (I have a BSBA in Accounting), I have been looking at accelerated RN/BSN programs at some universities in my area. One program in paticular is an accelerated ND program (Doctor of Nursing). After the first 16 months I would be qualified to sit for my NCLEX exam. Upon passing the exam I would begin working full-time as a Nurse and continue towards my MSN part-time of the course of the next 2 years. Upon completing my MSN, I would then sit for the appropriate NP Certification Test (If I meet the examination requirements). My question is...What is the likelihood of me being hired as an NP immediately after passing my test? Especially, since I would be entering this area with 3 1/2 years of work experience in my area of specialty? Also, can I expect to be offered less money as an NP who has less RN experience?
Here are some reasons why the NP seems like a good opportunity (Please let me know if any of my assumptions are not correct):
*A good deal of autonomy. NP's consult with attending Physicians, but are allowed the opportunity to assess, diagnose, and assign treatment plans to patients (for more common and less complex conditions).
*Still get all the benefits of being a Nurse with some of the decision making responsibility of a Physician (i.e. Nurses are more involved with treatment of patients and educating/ working with their families, ability to work in a number of settings, etc.)
*NP's command extremely competitive salaries. Based on some research I've seen the starting salary for NP's (2 years ago) was in the neighborhood of $65-70k.
Please let me know if there are other things that I should be considering while looking at this profession. What are some reasons why I may not want to be an NP?
Thanks for your time. I appreciate any words of wisdom (or encouragement) anyone might be able to offer.
May 20, '03
you seem to thought this out! cant comment on the training needed- I am a NP working in the UK! I would say that I am totally autonomous- I see patients with an undifferenated diagnosis, take a history, make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. we certainly are involved in complicated cases and I am also involved in chronic disease management. I would suggest you need a fair bit of experiance to do the job, but its rewarding!
be prepared to work your socks off!!