Is becoming a NP worth it?

  1. 0
    Im very interested in getting an advanced practice degree sometime in my future. Im currently an ADN working on my BSN which will be done next year this time. Im really wondering if NP school is worth it. My reasons why I question

    1. Working with some seasoned nurses in the ER over the last couple years, they make more than starting NP's do.
    2. Two doctors and a nurse who did recruiting and hiring for a couple years all stated that it was not worth it...their reasons were:
    A. Increased liability without enough pay
    B. Overworked and underpaid for their work. In our ER, the PA's do most of the work while the physicians kick back
    C. PA's are preferred in hospital settings (which is my major interest...though Im sure an office setting will be great later in life)
    D. Again...financial. They did not agree that 2.5 years of schooling was worth a mediocre increase in salary (even long term). They collectively felt that working a 4th 12hr shift each week was better than spending another 2.5 years an lots of money for a NP degree.
    3. If I dont jump on the bandwagon right away...the rumors of the dreaded 2015 DNP may come true


    The positives:
    1. Increased autonomy
    2. I can do a full time NP program and still work
    3. There are 2 great NP programs near me (TWU and UTA)
    4. I believe I can get in without to much hassle
    5. In state tuition is affordable
    6. Self satisfaction

    I understand that financial compensation is not all there is to a job thought it is a necessity. Increased autonomy is very important to me and the main reason I would like an advanced practice degree. Med school would be great, but being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and taking 4 years off is not appealing to me.

    So to the current NP's... would you NOT get your degree if you had to do it again. Was it worth it more than just personal satisfaction? Do you enjoy your setting?
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  3. 82 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Replies, please, I'm worried too. Accepted into ANP program, have completed 25% of courses, but worried about:
    1) Pay only being $5K more than what I earn now, for > 36 hours.
    2) Due to changes in residency rules for doctors, many hospitals are creating NP / PA shift jobs with midnight / weekend hours. No thank you. (Glad to do clinic on Saturdays, but no 12 hour midnights every other weekend, please!)

    I'm not seeing any primary care jobs advertised for NP's. Wondering if it's worth it (the debt, long hours, etc.). As much as I hear about the need for NP's in primary care, I'm NOT seeing the jobs (at local hospital system websites or my state NP association website).
  5. 7
    is it worth it to change the oil in your car? i don't know; it's your car and it might have 9 miles left in it or it might be a new 'vette - you decide if it's worth the price of oil and a filter. is it worth it to dry clean a shirt? it's your shirt - you decide. high quality shirts like to be professionally laundered with a touch of starch. a t-shirt might tolerate the washing machine - again, you have to make the call.

    the objective and universal data point is that you couldn’t have picked a worse time on earth to pick np. or – you picked the perfect time to become a np. it’s all about perspective. if obama care sticks, i’ll be making minimum wage as a np and i’ll go do something else. i have no problem locking my door and walking away to look for money. financial security is high on the list for me and my family. so, getting the most education in nursing and the most liability for the least pay – maybe a bad time to be a np.
    if you don’t mind making minimum wage and you still want the autonomy, advanced practice, and brain challenge of being an np – then it’s a perfect time to become one. if obama care sticks, primary care physicians won’t exist. they are already closing private practice in lieu of a “steady” hospital job. it’s real – it’s happening now. and if you don’t have a family member already affected, it’s atypical. so with few docs, the nps are going to be in huge demand. we still won’t get reimbursed for all of the education, hard work, increased exposure, but we will get to make the biggest possible impact on the well-being of the patient that one can do while still being a nurse. no other nursing job exists that makes the impact that a np does (i’m sure that will offend many – but a rn job just can’t impact patients the same way – no way).
    if you look forward to going home at the end of the day knowing you personally caught disease x and saved a life or just reassured an overly concerned 1st time parents that their baby was perfect – you can’t get that anywhere else. for now, my job is certainly worth it. now, dnp is another story…
  6. 0
    I don't know any NPs making less than RNs around here. I'm not working as a NP right now (I'm waiting for a job 10 minutes from home) but the jobs are out there, if you look on careerbuilder or monster you can find them. I also hear a lot of places are open to adding on a NP they just haven't advertised it.
    Becoming a NP is one of the most difficult things you'll ever do. There are times I wanted to quit, times I thought I wasn't going to make it, finances are tight when you have to work at clinicals instead of a job where you get paid, but it's worth it (to me.)

    My degree is adult/geron NP, btw.

    Also, a lot of schools are phasing out their MSN programs. Next year is the last year USA will offer the MSN. Then, they are going to DNP.
  7. 25
    1. Working with some seasoned nurses in the ER over the last couple years, they make more than starting NP's do.
    You can't compare a 20 year career veterans salary to a starting salary in most fields. Additionally, who wants to be a 55 year old wiping butts and taking crap in the ER working 12 hour shifts and then coming home and icing your knees while praying your back doesn't give out because the 300 lb guy in bed # 4 needed lift assist to stand at the bed to pee ? Finally, no one in my class started at nursing wages. No one. I started at LEAST $12.00 more an hour than my highest ever PRN/float pool rate and that did not include the raise I got a few months later, etc.
    2. Two doctors and a nurse who did recruiting and hiring for a couple years all stated that it was not worth it...their reasons were:
    A. Increased liability without enough pay
    I work in a family practice office and all of our providers work together as a team. We take on the liability together.

    B. Overworked and underpaid for their work. In our ER, the PA's do most of the work while the physicians kick back.
    That's sad. I don't work in the ER so I have no idea if that happens or not.

    C. PA's are preferred in hospital settings (which is my major interest...though Im sure an office setting will be great later in life)
    Yes, I have heard this is true in regards to hospital settings.D. Again...financial. They did not agree that 2.5 years of schooling was worth a mediocre increase in salary (even long term). They collectively felt that working a 4th 12hr shift each week was better than spending another 2.5 years an lots of money for a NP degree.
    My FNP degree cost < than $20K. I don't think that counts as "lots of money." I tend to wonder about the new MDs who have a $300-400K debt load !3. If I dont jump on the bandwagon right away...the rumors of the dreaded 2015 DNP may come true. Gawd, aren't you talking the truth. Don't even get me started on that! RUN RUN RUN! Look, I went to UTA and you can feel free to message me. I had NO desire to work in a hospital and still don't. I go to work at 8:30 and am done seeing patients before 5. I can sit and casually write charts. I get to pee. I have no drunks or druggies using me for narcotics and last week was the first time in OVER a year that I remotely touched a body fluid (8 year old gagged after a rapid strep test and puked on the table!). I have a LIFE. I am paid well. I have time with my family and at the end of the day I feel I caught an appendicitis, got some diabetes under control and *maybe* got through to the 48 year old with new hypertension. I will never again have to put up with the hospital "heel clackers" who are managing my time, looking over my shoulder and rewarding my "outstanding patient care" with a coupon for coffee from the hospital cafeteria.


    The positives:
    1. Increased autonomy- DEFINITELY!
    2. I can do a full time NP program and still work
    Eh, up until a point. It will be more challenging that you think. When the heavier clinical hours come on you will have to do some juggling. Also, UTA is heavy on the Saturday classes in the later clinical classes so be aware.
    3. There are 2 great NP programs near me (TWU and UTA). UTA is a great program. As with any of them, they are heavy on the fluff (theory, etc.) in the beginning. Just hang in there and play the game.
    4. I believe I can get in without to much hassle.
    Entry has become much more competitive but yes, you probably can if your undergrad grades were decent.
    5. In state tuition is affordable. YES!
    6. Self satisfaction


    Finally, don't let the staff naysayers get you down. Some people will do and say anything to keep you from moving on and expanding your career. They feel threatened when one of their own seems discontent because it brings out all sorts of insecurity in them. If your hospital only pays NPs a bit more than RNs then that sucks and in the DFW area it does not hold true for all hospitals. It definitely is not true in private practice. I was never remotely near $100K working as an RN unless I busted butt working extra and overtime.
    Last edit by carachel2 on Jul 28, '11
  8. 10
    Don't believe what everybody tells you about low wages for NPs. It isn't true. I will graduate from my FNP program in two weeks and have accepted an independent contractor NP job where my first year gross earnings will be between $200k and $275k. No sicktime, no paid vacation, nothing in the way of benefits but with that type of cash I can buy my own benefits.

    If you look hard you can find a job that will pay you well. I'm not going to divulge the name of the company I'm with because I feel very lucky to have this job. What I'm doing is taking physicals for Medicare patients in their homes. I take a blood/urine sample, give a pneumonia shot and take a spirometry reading.

    I also have another part time job working for a dermatologist paying a little over 100k per year.

    Was my NP degree worth it. You bet it was financially.
    MommyandRN, MamaHenRN, besaangel, and 7 others like this.
  9. 22
    As a PMHNP I sit on my butt in a nice office and talk to people. I go to lunch for an hour and I leave at 5 pm. I make well into 6 figures and have free housing (right now a 3 BR house way to big for me) and car allowance. There are a total of 2 RN's and 3 other staff that make sure my day is running smoothly. Right now I'm considering whether to wash my new pickup truck today and what new pistol to buy. I'd love to be back running around on the floor....right....
  10. 1
    Don't believe what everybody tells you about low wages for NPs. It isn't true. I will graduate from my FNP program in two weeks and have accepted an independent contractor NP job where my first year gross earnings will be between $200k and $275k. No sicktime, no paid vacation, nothing in the way of benefits but with that type of cash I can buy my own benefits.

    If you look hard you can find a job that will pay you well. I'm not going to divulge the name of the company I'm with because I feel very lucky to have this job. What I'm doing is taking physicals for Medicare patients in their homes. I take a blood/urine sample, give a pneumonia shot and take a spirometry reading.

    I also have another part time job working for a dermatologist paying a little over 100k per year.

    Was my NP degree worth it. You bet it was financially.
    OMG!!!! i pray those wages are still happening in 18 months. Im glad to hear its worth it b/c around here i hear there is no more money in FNP compared to what Im making after being a nurse for 20 years. although, those saying that are the beside nurses who have no desire to move their education on. It seems the NP are keeping this a well kept secret as they laugh their way to the bank.
    parker86 likes this.
  11. 0
    As a PMHNP I sit on my butt in a nice office and talk to people. I go to lunch for an hour and I leave at 5 pm. I make well into 6 figures and have free housing (right now a 3 BR house way to big for me) and car allowance. There are a total of 2 RN's and 3 other staff that make sure my day is running smoothly. Right now I'm considering whether to wash my new pickup truck today and what new pistol to buy. I'd love to be back running around on the floor....right

    Zenman, My heart goes out to you having to work SO hard, and worrying about making that house payment. What a rough life... I cant wait to join those of you in the NP rankings and get to tell you how bad my day is not going. And to the Op, thanks for startig this thread. I will have to bookmark it when school starts getting tough.
  12. 1
    I really really appreciate the replies... It is very inspiring to hear good news.
    Enfermera85 likes this.


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