NP Career Questions

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm considering a complete career shift from marketing and educational research to Nurse Practitioner. My questions fall into 3 broad categories: what is the actual day-to-day work, what is the future of the career, and if you have any advice regarding shadowing and graduate programs?

    Day-to-day work:
    How do you spend a typical day/week?
    What hours do you normally work?
    Do you spend most of your time at your desk, sitting, standing, walking?
    What kinds of problems do you deal with?
    What kinds of decisions do you make?
    What are the positive/negative aspects of working as a NP?
    Do you feel that patients and other medical staff respect NPs?
    If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?

    Future of the career:
    What career paths are generally available?
    How is the current demand?
    What trends and developments do you see affecting career opportunities?

    Shadowing and ​graduate programs:

    What is the best way to find a shadowing or volunteer opportunity?
    What is your opinion on graduate entry NP programs (i.e., programs for individuals with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing discipline)?
    Do you think it's important to work as an RN before g​oing for a DNP? If so, can you find work with an AS degree, or is a BSN necessary?
    ​Can you start as a Family NP and then add certifications to specialize? I'm interested in women's health and mental health, but I want to keep my options open​

    Thanks ​in advance for taking the time to answer my questions​!​
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    Wow- you are asking a LOT. To expect someone here (who may or may not be a nurse) to write the complete answers to the extreme number of questions you've posted is not realistic.
    Why not talk to an NP in person over coffee? Why not use the SEARCH feature (upper right hand corner of the page) and look for some of the answers yourself?
  4. by   CareerSwitch1
    Hi Meanmaryjean,

    The questions are more of just prompts/probes. Any amount of information, regardless of if all the questions are answered, would be appreciated

    Thanks for these suggestions. I have been reaching out to personal contacts who work in nursing, as well as asking DNP program coordinators to put me in touch with current and former DNP students. I am also applying to a nursing volunteer/shadowing program at a large hospital in my area.
  5. by   traumaRUs
    I'll try to help you: I'm a nephrology APRN (11+ years now) and have been a nurse for 25 years total)
    Day-to-day work:

    How do you spend a typical day/week? Seeing pts in dialysis units

    What hours do you normally work? 50-60

    Do you spend most of your time at your desk, sitting, standing, walking? Standing/walking

    What kinds of problems do you deal with? HTN, DM, ESRD

    What kinds of decisions do you make? Unsure what you mean about this ?

    What are the positive/negative aspects of working as a NP? Positives: autonomy, ability to make a difference, pay, benefits. Negatives: extreme responsibility

    Do you feel that patients and other medical staff respect NPs? Yes

    If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change? Would go for FNP/ACNP combined with MBA


    Future of the career:

    What career paths are generally available? Multiple paths

    How is the current demand? High

    What trends and developments do you see affecting career opportunities? Insurance reimbursement, independent practice

    Shadowing and ​graduate programs:

    What is the best way to find a shadowing or volunteer opportunity? Because of privacy laws doubt you could shadow (our practice doesn't allow it), Volunteer at hospital?

    What is your opinion on graduate entry NP programs (i.e., programs for individuals with a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing discipline)? They are fine as long as the student understands there is a huge learning curve

    Do you think it's important to work as an RN before g​oing for a DNP? If so, can you find work with an AS degree, or is a BSN necessary? I think its important to work as an RN first but many people disagree with me. DNP is worthless IMHO unless you want to teach.

    ​Can you start as a Family NP and then add certifications to specialize? I'm interested in women's health and mental health, but I want to keep my options open​. You sure can but be prepared to complete 500+ clinical hours when you "add" certs
  6. by   twozer0
    I want to start out by saying this is a big career move and I want to point out some of the little things that often go overlooked. I assume you have no nursing degree or healthcare background as you state marketing and educational research? Now I am not trying to dissuade you from choosing NP as a career path but only mention the thought process I would go through if I were in your shoes.

    1. Is this the right decision for me? This is a big change. I know big changes can happen but when thinking of this keep in mind the practicality and the proposed benefits of what this type of change would bring. Think of the cost and time it would take to get you to where you think you want to be. Is it worth that to you? Do an opportunity cost with this. Perhaps there is something related to your field that is better suited to your talents? By no means am I discouraging you, just offering some practical questions. If you do decide to go past this, think of the following.

    2. How long will this degree take? With no health background the road to NP would be 5-6 years of full time school if you go straight through (which I don't recommend as you should get at minimum a few years of experience as a nurse). Given your circumstance (if it is true) it would be much easier to take classes for PA and enter into a PA program that it would be to run the nursing gamut.

    3. Cost. Do you still owe loans on your current degree? If so, how long have paid on them and when do you feel you will likely pay them off? Going the full way to NP I would assume on the cheap end would cost upwards of 60k (and this is a conservative figure). Add that to your current loan pile if you still have them.

    4. Can you afford school? As in, will you be able to go to school full time and still make ends meet? What are your outlying debts such as a mortgage, car payment, etc.? They still need paid even if you are in school so is there a means to pay for them while you go? I would advise against taking out loans of live off of as the amount you are likely to borrow will not typically equal out to your starting salary.

    A lot of these things are often overshadowed by the end result of which we learn to find out that the journey is just as important as the goal. Best of luck on whatever you decide.
  7. by   jeanbeth
    "DNP is worthless IMHO unless you want to teach." Define worthless. It's certainly worth it to me, and has been a valuable educational and collaborative experience. Maybe you mean $$, not my end goal, although the job postings here lead me to believe I'll recoup my tuition pretty quickly.
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Quote from jeanbeth
    "DNP is worthless IMHO unless you want to teach." Define worthless. It's certainly worth it to me, and has been a valuable educational and collaborative experience. Maybe you mean $$, not my end goal, although the job postings here lead me to believe I'll recoup my tuition pretty quickly.
    I qualified this statement with this is my opinion and I stand behind it - DNP is worthless to ME as it would not provide me with any additional clinical expertise
  9. by   CareerSwitch1
    Hi traumaRUs,

    Thanks so much for all this info! You said if you could do it over again, you would go for FNP/ACNP combined with MBA. What's the reasoning behind this? So you could open your own private practice?

    Are 50-60 hour work weeks the norm? I've read other posts on this forum about NP work hours and they seem to vary a lot, with some people working 60 hours/wk and some working 36 hours/wk.
    Last edit by CareerSwitch1 on Oct 14 : Reason: Indicating who this response is for
  10. by   CareerSwitch1
    Quote from twozer0
    I want to start out by saying this is a big career move and I want to point out some of the little things that often go overlooked. I assume you have no nursing degree or healthcare background as you state marketing and educational research? Now I am not trying to dissuade you from choosing NP as a career path but only mention the thought process I would go through if I were in your shoes.
    Thanks – these are all very important things to consider. I'm still in the exploratory stages – trying to gather as much information as I can about the career. I think seeing the day-to-day work through volunteering/shadowing will be the most useful in determining if this is a career I see myself enjoying and really wanting to pursue. I have considered other careers more aligned with my education and work experience, but it seems like the jobs I am qualified to do involves sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer screen

    As you mention, cost is a big consideration. I haven't done much research into loan repayment programs yet, but it looks like there are a few options available. Is this a common route?
  11. by   twozer0
    Quote from CareerSwitch1
    Thanks – these are all very important things to consider. I'm still in the exploratory stages – trying to gather as much information as I can about the career. I think seeing the day-to-day work through volunteering/shadowing will be the most useful in determining if this is a career I see myself enjoying and really wanting to pursue. I have considered other careers more aligned with my education and work experience, but it seems like the jobs I am qualified to do involves sitting at a desk all day staring at a computer screen

    As you mention, cost is a big consideration. I haven't done much research into loan repayment programs yet, but it looks like there are a few options available. Is this a common route?
    There are options for loan repayment like the nurse corps but I cannot offer much information about them. Have you done any research on bedside nursing? Its a good starting point before wanting to make the jump and responsibility to practitioner. Nursing would be more hands on and less office type setting (if you do hospital). Its were most of use decided to take the next step. Have you looked into the military for health care careers?
  12. by   traumaRUs
    Quote from CareerSwitch1
    Hi traumaRUs,

    Thanks so much for all this info! You said if you could do it over again, you would go for FNP/ACNP combined with MBA. What's the reasoning behind this? So you could open your own private practice?

    Are 50-60 hour work weeks the norm? I've read other posts on this forum about NP work hours and they seem to vary a lot, with some people working 60 hours/wk and some working 36 hours/wk.
    My reasoning for FNP/ACNP is that I would have both acute and primary care clinicals - I would be more employable. The MBA because, lets face it, healthcare is a business and we, as APNs need to know the score.

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