Psych Nurse Practitioner - Need some guidance/advice! Please!

  1. Hi everyone! So I recently just started my BSN program straight out of high school. I know this is very early in my nursing education/career to be thinking about becoming an NP but let me just explain: My whole reasoning for coming into nursing was to get into the psych field. I fought with myself deciding whether to go to medical school to become a psychiatric or to be a psychologist. When I applied to college, I applied as a pre-med psychology major. Then shortly after being accepted, I did more research on the profession and started to change my mind. I wanted something in between psychiatrist and psychologist: something where I could assume the roles of a doctor but still give therapy. So I discovered the psych NP. It's perfect and here I am in nursing school.

    I feel like the psych field is the place where I'm meant to be! I've always felt very connected to that field and there is something so intruiging about it for me. I also love simply talking to people about their inner emotions and listening to them. But I also want to treat them. It's my calling. So here's my plan:

    After my first year, next summer I want to get a job as a psychiatric tech. In between that, I plan to shadow several nurses and NP's in the field. After graduation and getting my RN , I plan to get certified in psychiatric nursing. Work for a little bit (about 6 months to a year) and then enter a psychiatric BSN-DNP program. By graduation, I'll have had at least 4 years of psych nursing experience and at the most 7 years of total psych experience.

    Here's where I need help:
    1. Does this sound like a realistic plan? Is it a good plan?
    2. Will my experience as a psych tech and shadowing add to my experience in the psych field? Or does only my psych RN experience matter when I start applying for NP jobs?
    3. What is the best setting to begin working in as a psych tech? Should I begin in a hospital, outpatient, private settings, clinics, etc?
    4. I'm having a lot of trouble finding info about psych NPs regarding demand and salary. I'm extremely worried about demand, especially in my area. How in demand are psych NPs? By the time I actually get into the psych NP field, it will be in about 8 years. What does the supply and demand look like between now and 10 years from now for psych NPs? Does anybody know anything about Pennsylvania's demand (Western, PA to be specific)?
    5. Salary: Yes, I care about salary. It's important of course, but not the most important factor. I can't find many statistics about psych NP salaries. Will my experience ^^ have any affect on my salary when applying for jobs, or do all psych NPs start out relatively with the same salary? What kind of money can I expect to be making as a psych NP straight out of NP with the experience in psych that I intend to have before hand? Which setting generally have higher pay? Lower pay?

    Any additional info would be great. What are the best places to get a lot of information about the psych NP career? I've seriously looked EVERYWHERE and cannot find anything. Any references to sites or anything like that would be great!
    What does the future look like for psych NPs? Is this a route that I should be considering or will it be hard to find a job? Will the the market for psych NPs and NPs in general get better or worse in the coming future? I'm so passionate about psych and I know everyone will tell me, "Go with what you like," but I also want a family in the future and I need to support them! So please, any adivce, feedback, etc. would be greatly appreciated!
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    About CK16

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 1


  3. by   williamd
    First of all, you have a lot of plans for the next 8+ years. By the time you start your NP program, it is likely to be a DNP program, you probably know that.
    1) I worked as a psych tech when I was in nursing school, it was an inpatient unit, great experience, and I got a job there as a nurse when I finished my RN program. I have worked as a nurse in a variety of settings, and with tech's at all. Each would be good experience, but you will probably learn more inpatient.
    2) the AANP publishes a salary study every 2 years, it is available free. Don't get too excited though, your first job out of school is likely to be considerably less than what they list. In Michigan, we have a state NP association, and they have some job postings around the state. Worth looking into.
    3) You have a great plan, almost too good. You need to keep your mind open as you go through school, you never know, you might find that cardiac is what you really love.