Calling all educators and NP's!

  1. Hello all,

    Background: I have been a RN for two years, one in med surg and currently in the NICU. I am having trouble because I know that I want to advance my career (not anytime in the next 5 years, but in the future for sure) and I do not know what I want to do.
    I LOVE learning, and miss school terribly. I love working with the babies, but sometimes I worry about limiting myself to such a small age group, because I like the older kiddos, too. I don't so much mind adults, but I prefer peds. I originally thought that I wanted to go back to be a FNP.
    However, a few weeks ago, I was assigned to work with a student nurse intern, and I found that I absolutely LOVE teaching. I have had students in the past for a few shifts, and I was always interested in being a clinical instructor back in nursing school, but it really hit me while working with this student for a week how much I enjoyed teaching and watching light bulbs go off. I loved making her feel comfortable asking questions and I loved printing out literature for her and showing her videos. The more questions, the more I loved it.
    Here is my issue: I am worried that if I put money and time into an education degree, I may not end up liking it. I mean, what if I had a student with me for a longer amount of time and I ended up not loving it like I think I do? I've heard so many good things about being a NP, but I'm not totally set on it because I don't know enough about what the job entails.
    Also, I like being in the NICU but I am worried that it will limit some opportunities for both teaching and being a FNP. I'm not sure if I should try looking for a new job now so that I can gain more adult/general peds experience while I'm in school for whichever program I end up doing.

    Sorry, that was long-winded. Thank you all for reading!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   DizzyJon
    I would start off by shadowing different types of NPs. PNP, ped/adult ACNP, and FNP. Get a feel for what they do and see if it aligns with what you may want to do. By obtaining any of these advanced certifications it will set you up to be able to teach. You could be a future NP preceptor or teaching academically to RN/NP students.
  4. by   not.done.yet
    If Educator is in your blood, then no amount of NP is going to do it for you. However, like any career change, there are no guarantees that you will continue to love it as you do now. Either way you go, as things stand at the time of my typing this, you can get your MSN in one or the other of those two subjects and then get a post graduate certificate in the other. You can, essentially, do both without too much additional investment in time or money all considered.

    Professional Development is the more lucrative way to use an MSN in Education and still remain in the realm of acute care. Depending on the facility and how they outline their educator roles, you may work with new grads, experienced nurses and students....sometimes all in the same week. You may assist with orientation or even develop the orientation program. You would work with nurses on annual competencies plus design refresher education, particularly as issues arise and the need for further training is identified. Some utilize educators specific to each unit...and smaller hospitals tend to have educators that are responsible for the whole hospital regardless of specialty. Some even have nurse educators doing education for other clinical staff, such as respiratory therapists, PCTs/CNAs and other members of the patient care team.

    You can take a look at the website for ANPD and take a look in the Nursing Educators forum here as well. I have been working in an educator role for almost two years now (in PD for five months) and cannot imagine doing anything else. I briefly looked at adding NP to my name also, but for now have decided against it. However, I looked at it hard enough to learn there are plenty of postgraduate NP programs to choose from.

    Best of luck whatever you decide. You cannot really go wrong here.
    Last edit by not.done.yet on Aug 8
  5. by   WestCoastSunRN
    Quote from not.done.yet
    If Educator is in your blood, then no amount of NP is going to do it for you. However, like any career change, there are no guarantees that you will continue to love it as you do now. Either way you go, as things stand at the time of my typing this, you can get your MSN in one or the other of those two subjects and then get a post graduate certificate in the other. You can, essentially, do both without too much additional investment in time or money all considered.

    Professional Development is the more lucrative way to use an MSN in Education and still remain in the realm of acute care. Depending on the facility and how they outline their educator roles, you may work with new grads, experienced nurses and students....sometimes all in the same week. You may assist with orientation or even develop the orientation program. You would work with nurses on annual competencies plus design refresher education, particularly as issues arise and the need for further training is identified. Some utilize educators specific to each unit...and smaller hospitals tend to have educators that are responsible for the whole hospital regardless of specialty. Some even have nurse educators doing education for other clinical staff, such as respiratory therapists, PCTs/CNAs and other members of the patient care team.

    You can take a look at the website for ANPD and take a look in the Nursing Educators forum here as well. I have been working in an educator role for almost two years now and cannot imagine doing anything else. I briefly looked at adding NP to my name also, but for now have decided against it. However, I looked at it hard enough to learn there are plenty of postgraduate NP programs to choose from.

    Best of luck whatever you decide. You cannot really go wrong here.
    Excellent response!! Not Done Yet, may I ask how your salary compares to that of a bedside nurse? Did you take a pay cut to go away from the bedside? Do you ever still do bedside care or are you more strictly in an administrative role now?
  6. by   not.done.yet
    I am neither administrative nor bedside. Educators exist in a kind of in-between place. Lots of responsibility, not much clout. I actually love it. I feel like I get to be most true to the ideals that brought me into nursing in the first place in this role. I do at times interact with patients at the bedside, but that is usually when I am helping teach something to another nurse rather than actually doing direct patient care. I have contemplated working a bedside position PRN but so far I teach skills so often that I do not find I am rusty. My hospital is also small and tightly knit, so current issues are at the forefront of what I do and I do not feel I am losing touch. Whether that will remain true as we continue to grow remains to be seen.

    I have not been a nurse all that long - going on seven years in December. Therefore I really did not take a pay cut at all. I make about $15K more per year than I did as a bedside nurse. There is a great salary survey results document right now on the ANPD website that they just published fairly recently that breaks down the average education, role, responsibilities and salary of nurse educators by state. You can get a better idea of average earnings if you look there. I am really happy with what I make. Another nurse I know who has been a nurse for 17 years was appalled when she considered going into education and learned the salary. It is all about perspective I suppose. Getting into education early in my nursing career made it a non-issue for me.
  7. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from not.done.yet
    If Educator is in your blood, then no amount of NP is going to do it for you.

    Professional Development is the more lucrative way to use an MSN in Education and still remain in the realm of acute care. Depending on the facility and how they outline their educator roles, you may work with new grads, experienced nurses and students....sometimes all in the same week. You may assist with orientation or even develop the orientation program.
    You would work with nurses on annual competencies plus design refresher education, particularly as issues arise and the need for further training is identified. Some utilize educators specific to each unit...and smaller hospitals tend to have educators that are responsible for the whole hospital regardless of specialty.


    Best of luck whatever you decide. You cannot really go wrong here.
    Hello fellow NPD practitioner!! I am also an NPD Specialist, and love it! It's just as you describe. I've been very involved in ANPD.

    My Masters degree is in Nursing Admin, but when my facility was hiring for the role, a Masters degree in nursing trumped the specialty, lucky for me.
  8. by   Emm_RN
    Thank you all for the responses! It gives me a lot to think about. I have time to figure it out, and I guess that's true that I can do a post-masters and have both. It might be worth it!
  9. by   ghillbert
    You can become an NP and also teach! Some programs permit you to do a minor in Nursing Ed, otherwise if you do a masters you can teach undergrads or a DNP you can be faculty teaching undergrad or grad students. Many of my best NP program educators were still currently actively practicing as an NP as well as teaching.
    I'm an ACNP in critical care, but I teach rotating residents, fellows, new NPs and NP students just about every shift, while practicing clinically.

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