The raw truth about what NPs really do

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    I am a new RN working L&D at the bedside. Honestly nursing is no where near what I expected it to be. I come home every day crying. I feel stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted all of the time. I am VERY interested in continuing my education and becoming an ARNP. This time I want to be sure I know what I'm getting myself into before getting neck deep in school debt. So I want to know what are the pro's and con's of the job? If you could do it all over again what would you do? What area is the lowest stress? The lowest risk? Which area has the lowest rate of lawsuits? I want to know all of the complaints and all of the perks of being an NP. I just want to be prepared for reality because being a bedside RN slapped me in the face... HARD.
  2. 22 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    Besides researching APRN roles you may want to look over the All Nurses forum 'Career advice' and the section 'First year of nursing after licensure.'
    Floor nursing is very hard. And you can learn a lot. Maybe tell us whAt you find the most stressful--the workload, the other nurses, organizing your time, etc. and maybe we can help you with some strategies.
    David Victory and priorities2 like this.
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    Get into a NP program as soon as possible. Life will improve, and I think a big part of the improvement is feeling you have options. The expanded scope and autonomy (and being outside of the hospital) will feel great. Look at University of Cincinnati online. I had friends that did that MSN/FNP and said it was a great program. Start looking around, just seeing what is out there will give you new hope. Good luck.
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    The millions of alarm bells ringing, new patients whizzing in, current patients crashing, doctors dropping by adding a million orders, CNA staff to supervise.......I don't miss any of it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED my patients. Loved pulling up a chair and talking to them about life after a heart attack,how to catch early CHF, etc. etc. But I hated the craziness of the day. I know there are some who absolutely thrive on the chaos but that was not me.

    As an FNP, I STILL have stress. I STILL do have some very sick patients in the office and it's my job to quickly figure out what to do and order, etc. But it is a much more predictable form of chaos and usually mixed in with people coming for WELL visit or medicine follow up visits. Still with lots of paperwork, but nothing critical that MUST be done in like the next 5 minutes all day long.
    SoldierNurse22 and Psychcns like this.
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    Don't wait to go back to school. I love being an ARNP!!!!! It is completely different from bedside nursing.
  7. 3
    I got a night-shift slacker job on an easy hospital unit while I do my DNP program. Nursing can be very sucky at times, but honestly I find my hospital job to be much easier than my previous non-acute care job. Point being - unit characteristics and shifts very greatly.

    I think staff nursing is hard because there is so much responsibility with so little power. I think it makes sense to become an NP if you strongly desire that knowledge base and role - while acknowledging you will be answering to a different pimp - keeping your billing numbers high and profitable for your practice.
    NPAlby, Marisette, and carachel2 like this.
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    You said you were a new nurse. Not to discount what you are feeling but it's pretty normal to feel ***** slapped the first year of nursing. Its not like school at all. Most of us doubted why we got into nursing and if we could truly handle it that first year. i know I did. It does get easier.
    As for being an NP it give you more options and more control, generally speaking. Yes you have to worry about getting sued and harming a patient because you missed something or prescribed the wrong thing. And yes the buck stops with you so you need to be ready to make the tough decisions. But like nursing you get the hang of it and it becomes easier in time. I would check out NP jobs in your area or the area you would want to live in when you are done with school. NP practice, pay and job prospects vary from state to state. So before you make that investment see whats out there and see if its something you would like to do. Sorry cant give you a more black and white answer of lawsuits, lowest stress, lowest liability. For myself I know my first year as an RN was a lot tougher than the first year as an NP. Yes I worried as a new NP but I had no where near the self doubt that I did as a RN. I think its because of my RN experience that I felt more comfortable.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jun 26, '13 : Reason: TOS
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    "you will be answering to a different pimp - keeping your billing numbers high and profitable for your practice.[/QUOTE]"

    Ha! I love that! I know it1 Sometimes I liken my job to pole dancing.
  10. 2
    I think you really need to look at what it is about your current job that you dislike so much. It actually surprises me that so many people here have said that being an NP opens up more doors, because I see it as the opposite. Once you are an NP you are committed to one specialty, your hours and places you can work are far less. The number of jobs are significantly fewer (with fewer overall applicants) so depending on what area of the country you're in, it can be nearly impossible to get a job or you can have people pounding down your door to hire you, it just depends.

    As an RN your first year is rough and then it starts to get exponentially better. Everyone keeps telling me to expect my first 2 years as an NP to be like that. The amount of responsibility is a lot more, you are salaried, so you leave when the work is done, not when your shift is over (and you don't get overtime for staying late), school is hard and expensive. I feel that by pure percentages there are more downsides to being an NP than an RN, however, for me, the things that are good about being an NP far outweigh the bad. But that will be different for everyone.

    From your post, it sounds like you're considering being an NP as a way out of being a bedside nurse, and I don't think that's a good enough reason. You need to do it, because you want to be an NP, not because you don't want to be an RN. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting another degree that doesn't provide you with any greater job satisfaction. I agree with PsychCNS, go spend some time reading the "first year after licensure" forums. That might help you get better clarity of why your struggling so much with your current job. Once you have more insight into that, come back here and ask for advice again. You'll get answers that are better tailored to what you're looking for in a "perfect" job.
    zmansc and armyicurn like this.
  11. 0
    I refuse to work for salary. I get paid an hourly wage and time and a half for every hour over that.


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