Family NP or Acute Care NP

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    I am torn on what I want to do, I love the hospital atmosphere and the critical care environment. Many of the Acute care NP's that I work with complain daily about their jobs and the low pay and tell me that they made more money as staff nurses. I also have a friend who is a Family NP and she told me she is making $100,000 a year and has the great schedule to go with it I did not think that her salary was a typical salary. I want to do what will make me happy but I also don't want a bunch of student loans and then take a pay cut. I would be greatful if you could let me know if what I am hearing is typical. Thanks!

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  2. 3 Comments...

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    Over here in CT I've seen around 85K to start for a FNP. There are "undeserved areas", where if you get a job at a certain place, the gov will pay part of your student loans. Loans & Scholarships

    Good luck!
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    I know this is way after your initial post, but just wanted to add something in case you were still wondering.

    Think about your first nursing job......you didn't make a ton of money right away, you had to put in your time. Those NPs who say they made more as staff RNs were working for years to make what they made, plus many probably worked some weekends and/or nights if they were in acute care, so add in their shift differentials plus pay raises over so many years and of course they made the same as NPs starting out do. However, it's the same with NPs, no one makes $100,000 as a brand new NP in their first job, you have to put in your time. For example, with my job, I am not making $100,000, but my starting salary is $84,000 (I work in a CT stepdown/ICU), and with the yearly raise in my contract that they've promised, I will be making that much after five years, so if I can be patient and stick it out at this job, it will be worth it in no time. I think too many people think that by getting their NP they will make six figures off the bat, but you need the experience to get that type of salary, it's like that anywhere in any type of job.

    Swampcat is right, once you graduate, if you sign up for the National Health Service Corps (Home - NHSC) and agree to work two to four years in an area-of-need, the government will pay off most if not all of your student loans. It's not great pay in these areas, but just work for two years, pay off your loans, then get a higher paying job elsewhere. You will be able to negotiate a higher salary with two years experience, and will have no student loan payment to worry about. I can't do it because I have a toddler and husband with a job he can't leave, and there are no jobs of need in my area, but I know people who have done it and loved it.

    Hope this helps your decision!
  5. 3
    Quote from Codeblue1982
    I am torn on what I want to do, I love the hospital atmosphere and the critical care environment. Many of the Acute care NP's that I work with complain daily about their jobs and the low pay and tell me that they made more money as staff nurses. I also have a friend who is a Family NP and she told me she is making $100,000 a year and has the great schedule to go with it I did not think that her salary was a typical salary. I want to do what will make me happy but I also don't want a bunch of student loans and then take a pay cut. I would be greatful if you could let me know if what I am hearing is typical. Thanks!
    I won't dispute your piece of anecdotal information. I'm sure the NP's you knew are not lying. However, I would have to say that my experience is the opposite. I am an ACNP and have worked in critical care since a year after my graduation in 2005. I am an experienced RN with ED and ICU experience prior to that. I was on a modestly high salary range as an experienced RN and when I began my new role as an NP, I never took a pay cut and have always felt better about the difference in my role as an advanced practice nurse.

    Bedside nursing in the ICU is very rewarding as I sense you agree. I also felt at home as an ICU nurse and was very involved in my patient's management as the bedside nurse. Having been an ICU NP now has elevated that level to me. I am more involved in executing decisions about patient management and not merely suggesting them. True, I manage more patients (not the 1:1 and 1:2 that I was used to as a bedside nurse) but I utilize the bedside RN's as a source of information when I need to act on labs, vital signs, etc. in addition to my advanced skills.

    Taking a pay cut is a sign of poor negotiation ability on the NP's part. Why one would take a job that paid less is inexcusable. I have transitioned as a bedside RN to NP in the same institution and the pay scale for RN and NP is different so why would there be a pay cut? I am at a point where I'm making well above six figures and it's not what's keeping me going really...it's the fact that I love the field of critical care.
    Candy4u, froggg123, and myelin like this.


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