Can you work as a staff nurse as an NP?

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    Alright, sorry if this is dumb but I have googled and searched many times w/ no definitive results.

    I am dying to go to grad school because I loved it and did very well for undergrad- but I can't pick a major! On my cardiac floor I constantly read the charts and my goal is to really understand each clinical case. I'm fascinated w/ the disease process side of things. Basically I'm a nerd. I love it and I would love a challenging education.

    I am very attracted to the education that NPs get. I want the knowledge but idk about the job itself. I just don't know if I want to leave bedside nursing forever. I am worried that if allowed- I would be liable for a physician error that went unnoticed.

    Can I become a staff nurse and continue working as a floor RN?
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    It is more difficult to work as a staff nurse when you an NP, because you will be held to the NP standard in terms of liability. So, if that's partly why you don't want the job to begin with, it might not be the best choice. However, you aren't responsible as an NP for the work that an MD does, unless you knew about something that was wrong and did nothing to correct it. You might want to try talking to some NPs about their jobs and see if it sounds like it would interest you. Some jobs are much more clinically oriented than others.

    Other options are CNS or CNL. My understanding is those are more bedside oriented, but the hard part can be finding a job. At least in my area, I rarely see jobs for anything other than NP and CRNA.
  5. 0
    Good question. I know a dozen NPs that hold RN Staff positions. The NPs of which I speak are also people who were RNs with work experience prior to becoming NPs and who held Staff RN jobs when he/she received his/her NP license. Alas, landing a NP job can be difficult in many markets even with years of RN work experience. Therefore, many choose to continue to work as Staff RNs out of necessity. Others I know convert a full-time Staff RN position into Per Diem so he/she can keep that job while working full-time as a new NP.

    Of course, the NPs that I know are able to do this because our State's BON finds it acceptable for Nurses that work in positions where he/she is restricted to his/her RN license, to be accountable under the RN license only while remaining within the scope of practice of a RN. Thus, OP, one should check with his/her State's BON to answer your question. Good luck!
    Last edit by MBARNBSN on Feb 19, '13
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    oh thank you both so much!! extremely helpful answers. I tried to find the NJ BON laws on this, but I thought maybe they didn't have any. Now I know that they must and I will contact them if I can't find it online. That's an exciting possibility.

    Annaiya, also very helpful. You're right, I have looked into CNS and CNL. I did read some descriptions about them being very educated "bedside nurses", sometimes in an educator/supervisor role, but each MSN program describes the role differently! And I'm worried about them becoming "dead" fields because half of the schools I look at don't offer it. I will continue to research.

    It's hard making a decision. But I definitely appreciate the info. Thanks!!
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    I am worried that if allowed- I would be liable for a physician error that went unnoticed.

    Can I become a staff nurse and continue working as a floor RN?[/QUOTE]

    You are already liable for physician errors as a staff nurse, but only to the extent that you should be catching errors that a reasonable staff nurse would catch. If you went to grad school, and completed your NP program, you would be liable for errors that an NP should or would be able to catch. So, yes, there is increased responsibility and risk, but it never escalates to the level where you are held to the same standard as a physician because NP education is still not equivalent to physician education.
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    However, we all know that as RNs we are BUSY, BUSY, BUSY. It doesnt take much to miss something that as an NP making the care decisions wouldnt make. Also, you need to have your malpractice insurance based on your NP status not your RN status.


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