PMHNP Prospects for night owl

  1. Hello,

    I have a rather unique situation that I think will be rather enlightening for some. I have delayed sleep phase syndrome which is a Godsend for my RN nursing career because I actually want to work nights, and staffing loves me for it.

    I am the type of person who is "hardwired" to be more alert during the night. I do not have insomnia or any other sleep issue than that my natural circadian rhythm is essentially opposite that of others. I naturally sleep all day and I am most alert at night. For me to try to function on a day schedule is analogous to an average person trying to stay awake during night shift.

    I am most interested in psychiatric nursing and I was wondering what regions of the United States are more apt to use Psychiatric NP's for ER, and acute psych care. Because of my sleeping disorder, I could not "survive" working a typical 8-4ish clinical outpatient psych job. I have seen that Psych NPs are utilized more fully in the Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, and it just so happens that before I even looked into Psych NP as a path for me that I was already interested in moving there. Washington or Alaska are the top two states to which I plan to move (still debating that one).

    So, would I be nearly unemployable in the context of needing full time employment once I graduate from an PMHNP program?

    I have heard mixed stories, from some people telling me that the only opportunities available are clinical outpatient. Others have said that I would be great because a group of physicians or NP practice might be willing to modify their practice to accommodate me since I would actually be saving them from being on call for nights. Plus I may be an asset because I would allow more flexible meeting times for those of our patients who would need evening meetings due to constraints such as work during the day or shift work.

    I was hoping someone could share how often, for example a psych NP would be utilized on-call for ER scenarios overnight (in a larger urban setting of course), and if that would be frequent enough to warrant full time-like hours.

    Does anyone know of any special inpatient psychiatric facilities that require 24-hour psych NP's? That would likely be the best fit for me.

    I know this question must sound odd; circadian rhythm disorders are fascinating and poorly understood by the public at large. I am hoping there would be some physicians or NP's who would be thrilled to hire an NP for nights only to take over the on-call duties and emergencies. I am all for inpatient psych if possible.

    I also do realize that in certain states, a Psych NP may practice independently and be able to make a living with evening to night hours only (e.g. after work hours for med management might be easier for a patient to fit into their schedule).

    I'm curious to hear everyone's perspectives on this. Thank you for your time.
  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   zenman
    Recently University of NM hospital had a 2-12 pm shift in the ER for a Psych NP. They may have one starting at 12 mid-night and you could ask that person to leave, lol! I know about your condition but have never thought about what happens when you go to another country with time opposite ours.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Alaska has the 22 hrs of light, 22 hrs of dark issue. I know when I lived there, even folks with no sleep disorders had big issues
  5. by   SorenRN
    I have lived abroad. After a few weeks my circadian rhythm syncs back to what is normal for my brain. In other words I will become a night owl again in my new country/time zone.
  6. by   SorenRN
    My entire life can be summarized as nearly constant jet lag. Some winters I saw little-to-no sunlight. I'm lucky to say I'm relatively unaffected by the lack of sunlight. I wonder if Alaskans attitudes toward sleeping disorders is more lax? I know in Scandinavia there is a lot of sleep research and even "light cafe's." My friends in Sweden are insomniacs during the Nordic summer.