Future of NP and...my future

  1. I was accepted into a direct entry program, a reputable B&M school, which was to start last August. I chose not to go, for a variety of reasons, but mostly having to do with the season of life my kids are in. I still felt a strong desire to become an NP some day (I am 40ish and have been wanting to change careers), but thought - I can do that later, but not my kids.

    Yet...I've been kicking myself somewhat. I don't regret giving up the DE position. I was concerned about becoming an NP with no experience as an RN. My area is pretty saturated and all job postings ask for at least one year. So now I've been accepted into an ABSN program, which will allow me to progress into my MSN while working if I choose. Or I can simply wait and get my MSN later so I don't sacrifice too much time with the kids.

    But I am struggling. My former industry is a decent one and pays well. It's just not all that...redeeming. It is flexible. I can work from home sometimes. It does require some travel. It's a business-y, Sales-y type of job. Really, I can make better money doing it than working as an NP.

    But I have just wanted to do this for so long, I wonder if I am blinded by it. Am I underestimating the job? Is it harder than I think? Are the hours worse than I can imagine? Is it no fun? Are we going to have a glut of NPs/PAs in the coming years, so that our pay goes down the toilet? Or will we be so needed, the opposite will happen?

    I juat want to see this clearly. And at my age, is this kind of change worth it.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Jules A
    The plus as an adult of being able to work as a RN while in school is not only getting what I believe to be an invaluable foundation but also the income and professional contacts that can make a major difference in your future career. I'd suspect you will work another 20 years at least so a couple years shouldn't be a major factor especially if you are enjoying extra time with your babies.

    I found it initially exciting but extremely challenging and still find it to be harder than I ever imagined. I love working as a NP but also loved being a RN. I haven't ever been the type to have "a calling" for anything and have enjoyed many different jobs mostly based on how much money I'm making.

    I suspect as the tremendous numbers of NPs are getting churned out of all the new NP programs that our wages will tank and opportunities will be less plentiful. As it is now I read post after post of people making little more than they made as a RN and to me that unbelievable. If I'm not able to make well over $150,000 a year its just not worth the risk and responsibility and I'll tap out early. Good luck!
  4. by   ksisemo
    Thanks Jules. I want to enjoy what I'm doing but I don't want to work for a pittance either. I have wanted to do this for at least 10 years and even as a kid imagined I would do something in the medical field. So I almost wonder if I can give up the idea of doing it and be okay.

    I can make $150-$200k in my current field, and have some flexibility but it requires travel and some skills that, while I'm good at, I don't love performing.
  5. by   shibaowner
    To OP:
    There is a high demand for NPs. The ABSN or regular BSN to MSN or DNP route is just fine. You are correct - it will give you a chance to become more familiar with a new field and the ability to work part time if necessary. In addition, it is possible for RNs to make very good money.

    As for the NP, pay will depend on the speciality and the location. CRNA and PMHNP make excellent money - up to $200K a year or a bit more here in California. Be flexible on location for your first NP job. Don't overlook smaller cities, town, and rural areas. These areas have a lower cost of living and often pay MORE than big city jobs. There is also less competition for those positions.

    Don't worry about your age. I started my BSN at 53 and graduated with my MSN at 55. I don't have dependents and am viewing this as the second half of my life. What's great is I can live just about anywhere and I am ready for some adventure!

    Best wishes and good luck.
  6. by   BCgradnurse
    I went back to nursing school in my 40s, and my kids were middle school and high school age. It was hard, but for several reasons it was the best time for me to go. The down side was not being able to take time off during the day to go to school events, sports, etc. The plus side was that they saw and learned that hard work and perseverence has its rewards, and the end result made life better for all of us. We all made sacrifices, but it was for a finite amount of time and we got through it.

    It sounds like you have a good work situation right now, but I can understand that you don't feel excited or fulfilled by it. If nursing is truly your dream, then go for it, but make an informed decision. I love being a NP, I don't feel overworked or stressed, and I am paid well. However, depending on your specialization and location, you will not likely be making $150,000 a year right out of school, or for several years. Are you willing to take a pay cut short term? Are you going to have to take out loans for your BSN and NP? Will the BSN to MSN route cost more in time and money than the DE program?

    I think NP jobs will be available, but certain areas may have a surplus of NPs and others may have a shortage. Is relocating for a job an option if it comes to that?

    There's lots to consider. Best of luck in your decision.
  7. by   ksisemo
    Quote from BCgradnurse
    I went back to nursing school in my 40s, and my kids were middle school and high school age. It was hard, but for several reasons it was the best time for me to go. The down side was not being able to take time off during the day to go to school events, sports, etc. The plus side was that they saw and learned that hard work and perseverence has its rewards, and the end result made life better for all of us. We all made sacrifices, but it was for a finite amount of time and we got through it.

    It sounds like you have a good work situation right now, but I can understand that you don't feel excited or fulfilled by it. If nursing is truly your dream, then go for it, but make an informed decision. I love being a NP, I don't feel overworked or stressed, and I am paid well. However, depending on your specialization and location, you will not likely be making $150,000 a year right out of school, or for several years. Are you willing to take a pay cut short term? Are you going to have to take out loans for your BSN and NP? Will the BSN to MSN route cost more in time and money than the DE program?

    I think NP jobs will be available, but certain areas may have a surplus of NPs and others may have a shortage. Is relocating for a job an option if it comes to that?

    There's lots to consider. Best of luck in your decision.
    I would be fine taking a pay cut for a time and fortunately I would not need to take out any loans for school either. The overall cost for the BSN to MSN will be less than the DE program as well.

    In the DE program I was slated for AGACNP, but was considering a change to PMHNP. The good thing about going the BSN route is that I wouldn't have to decide before getting some experience. I don't think I want to do primary care, unless I get a dual cert in FNP and psych, so I can cover needs in a rural area.
  8. by   Npontone
    Very inspiring. Thank you
  9. by   twozer0
    It would be hard to judge making that much of a career change that it would be worth it without actually doing it. My two cents would be to forgo the NP school not because I don't think you should do it but because I don't know how much life improvement you would get from doing so (or even if you feel you would want to do it as a career). You sound like you are doing pretty well in your current career field, and don't hate it that much. My question to you is if you want to feel something rewarding are there other avenues than spending the 5+ years in school to become and NP, plus cost, plus time lost doing schoolwork, plus the stress of going to school, etc.? Perhaps volunteering or being involved in your community?

    I started my BSN program 5 months before my first child was born and started NP school 5 months after my second. It was a journey, I'm glad that I'm done with it but I've also been a nurse and working in a related field for 10 years. For example, I don't think I would leave a job that I'm making steady money in, has flexibility and is tolerable (not my dream job) to enter a career field I'm not even certain I would enjoy or have any experience in. It's totally possible to do it and if you feel the juice is worth the squeeze by all means, take that red pill! Just be vigilant about what you would be losing to what you would gain. The grass isn't always greener.
  10. by   ksisemo
    Quote from twozer0
    It would be hard to judge making that much of a career change that it would be worth it without actually doing it. My two cents would be to forgo the NP school not because I don't think you should do it but because I don't know how much life improvement you would get from doing so (or even if you feel you would want to do it as a career). You sound like you are doing pretty well in your current career field, and don't hate it that much. My question to you is if you want to feel something rewarding are there other avenues than spending the 5+ years in school to become and NP, plus cost, plus time lost doing schoolwork, plus the stress of going to school, etc.? Perhaps volunteering or being involved in your community?

    I started my BSN program 5 months before my first child was born and started NP school 5 months after my second. It was a journey, I'm glad that I'm done with it but I've also been a nurse and working in a related field for 10 years. For example, I don't think I would leave a job that I'm making steady money in, has flexibility and is tolerable (not my dream job) to enter a career field I'm not even certain I would enjoy or have any experience in. It's totally possible to do it and if you feel the juice is worth the squeeze by all means, take that red pill! Just be vigilant about what you would be losing to what you would gain. The grass isn't always greener.
    I appreciate this very rational reply

    I know the grass isn't always greener. BUT...sometimes it is.

    For me, my current field actually isn't all that palatable. There are reasons that I don't want to go into on this board. I could stick around but I would really welcome a fresh start.

    And I'm not exaggerating when I say that I have actually wanted to do this since I was young. I almost feel like I would be failing myself if I don't, now that I have the chance. If I haven't been able to let this idea go for 40 years (nearly), I'm not sure I ever would.

    Additionally, my current industry is healthcare-related. And it isn't going anywhere. If for some reason I get into nursing and just can't stand it, I can actually use my new experience and credentials IN my former industry...as a transition to do something different within it.

    I've decided to go for it. What is life if NOT the journey?
  11. by   Jules A
    Quote from ksisemo
    Thanks Jules. I want to enjoy what I'm doing but I don't want to work for a pittance either. I have wanted to do this for at least 10 years and even as a kid imagined I would do something in the medical field. So I almost wonder if I can give up the idea of doing it and be okay.

    I can make $150-$200k in my current field, and have some flexibility but it requires travel and some skills that, while I'm good at, I don't love performing.
    Following your heart as you plan is reasonable as long as you won't have regrets. As I mentioned the gross has always been my focus so I have to ask if you are really willing to forego an average of $175,000 a year for the 4 years of school and then likely $75,000 a year thereafter? In 10 years that is over a million dollars, reduction in future social security income and a daunting responsibility. At the very least serious monetary loss for your and your family's future, imo. Best to you whatever you decide.
  12. by   ksisemo
    Quote from Jules A
    Following your heart as you plan is reasonable as long as you won't have regrets. As I mentioned the gross has always been my focus so I have to ask if you are really willing to forego an average of $175,000 a year for the 4 years of school and then likely $75,000 a year thereafter? In 10 years that is over a million dollars, reduction in future social security income and a daunting responsibility. At the very least serious monetary loss for your and your family's future, imo. Best to you whatever you decide.

    I get what you're saying but I need to revise some of your assumptions.

    I haven't been working now for a little over three years. I quit my job and began to take prereqs to get into that DE program I mentioned (that was one of a few options). The reasons I quit are somewhat personal, but it basically opened the door for me to pursue the dream I had held for more than a decade.

    It has turned out that I don't HAVE to work. We've been comfortable enough on my husband's income, although I don't like to make assumptions. Who knows if that will last long term.

    I didn't end up going to the DE program. It just so happens that I've now been accepted to the ABSN program, and at the same time I am being courted by a company in my old industry, with the opportunity to earn in the $150-$175K range. Perhaps a little more if I do really well.

    And that is if I totally perform. 2/3 of my income would be commission. It is a sales job. But a good one. I just...don't really like sales. Kind of a problem. I've done it for a long time, but I have to force it and I find myself wanting out. It is always hard to resist the money.

    I know you say you are always focused on the bottom line, but I get the feeling you do that from the luxury position of also enjoying your job (as much as one likes working). It's easy to say that when you like what you do. When you don't...you start saying, hmmm, money isn't everything.

    So the assumption that I am losing out on four years of $175K isn't quite right because 1) I am not working right now (and don't yet have the offer); and 2) school is 2.5 years (if I went straight through...for the math's sake). Right now, I'm not making anything and haven't been for three years. It just so happens I have the opportunity.

    Secondly...it appears you are assuming my income will only ever be $100k. Do you think that's accurate? I am truly curious. I want to know the truth. If so...that's a huge bummer. Of course, it's better than me never working at all I suppose, but still. Just doesn't seem fair for the job.

    As far as lost SSI...I've never been one to count on the government
  13. by   ksisemo
    I just spent some time looking at Indeed for job postings in the specialty I'm interested in, and there are a LOT...relative to others...starting at $90ish and going up to about $140k. I know things are always in flux. But for now, it doesn't look terrible...
  14. by   Jules A
    Quote from ksisemo
    I know you say you are always focused on the bottom line, but I get the feeling you do that from the luxury position of also enjoying your job (as much as one likes working). It's easy to say that when you like what you do. When you don't...you start saying, hmmm, money isn't everything.

    So the assumption that I am losing out on four years of $175K isn't quite right because 1) I am not working right now (and don't yet have the offer); and 2) school is 2.5 years (if I went straight through...for the math's sake). Right now, I'm not making anything and haven't been for three years. It just so happens I have the opportunity.
    First, I really like your style. Seems to fall in the rare spot of mid line optimistic and pragmatic. Nice, I haven't been able to achieve such a balance but appreciate those who have. I was mistaken and thought you currently made between 150k-200k although technically if you quit a job making that much than you are losing even more in this entire endeavor?

    Second you really made me think and you are correct it is easy to say the money is everything when I also really like my jobs although I'm at one that is kind of meh and I could live without if it weren't for the amazing salary and perks. So you might have me on this one although what I can promise is I will not work for considerably less than I am accustomed to if things take a turn for the worst in upcoming years and this is another statement that is only applicable because I'm nearing retirement and can decide to quit unlike some of you youngins.

    Quote from ksisemo
    Secondly...it appears you are assuming my income will only ever be $100k. Do you think that's accurate? I am truly curious. I want to know the truth. If so...that's a huge bummer. Of course, it's better than me never working at all I suppose, but still. Just doesn't seem fair for the job.
    As far as lost SSI...I've never been one to count on the government
    I believe now that the average NP makes in the 100k range give or take and with what I know to be a large influx of new NPs, I can not imagine the rates or opportunities will increase markedly. Many say in their areas rates and opportunities are increasing, in mine they are decreasing. Although there will always be outliers I suspect the future of >150k for NPs is not favorable. I do hope I am wrong however!

    Yeah I totally don't want to count on the govt either but as I get nearer and it still appears to be available it would be nice to go out on a high note with regard to SSI.

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