Questions about becoming a Nurse Practitioner?

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    I am thinking about going back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner after I get my BSN in Nursing, but I have a few questions. 1) Is being a Nurse Practitioner totally different from being an RN? 2) Can a Nurse practitioner work 3 twelve hour days, 4 days off like a RN can or do they work a completely different schedule? 3) If I don't like it can I go back to being an RN? I for sure want to be a Registered Nurse, but still kind of "I don't know-ish" about being a Nurse Practitioner. It's not that I can't handle being a Nurse Practitioner, I just want to know how different it is from an RN so that I'm ready for anything thrown my way.
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I'm a CNS but work in an APN role - let me see if I can answer:

    1. Yes, being an NP is different than being an RN. That said, being an APN (at least in my practice) very much builds on what you already know as an RN. There is much more responsibility and liability as well. APNs can and do get sued and with much more regularity in recent years.

    2. Yes, some APNs do work the convention 3 12's - think ACNPs that work in the ICU, some FNPs that work ER, etc..

    3. Yes, you can go back to being an RN. However, you are held to the standard of care of your highest licensure. So, if you determine you really don't like being an NP, you might want to think about letting your license lapse.

    Maybe you could shadow an NP or talk in more detail with one? Its coming across to me that you aren't sure you are going to like it. Before you commit, you might want to be more sure.
    Franemtnurse likes this.
  5. 0
    Can you explain 3. to me a little bit more?
  6. 4
    1.Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who pursue additional, more comprehensive education and clinical training. A nurse practitioner typically has authority to provide the following services: obtain medical histories and perform physical examinations; diagnose and treat health problems; order and interpret laboratory tests and x-rays; prescrib medications and other treatments; prenatal care; well-child care; immunizations and family planning services; gynecological examinations and pap smears; health promotion, illness prevention, patient education about health risks; and case management and coordination of services.

    2. Nurse practitioners practice in a variety of settings, ranging from primary care practice offices to hospitals to long term care to specialty practices, so work schedule will depend on where you work. The NPs that work in my ICU work 3 to 4 12 hour shifts a week, but my friend who works in a primary care clinic works five 8-hour shifts a week.

    3. You can always go back to being a RN. However, TraumaRus you are correct in saying “ you held to the standard of care of your highest licensure”. My co-worker work part time in my ICU as a bedside nurse and full time as an NP at another hospital’s ER. When she is working as an ICU nurse she can only do what a beside RN can do not a NP. She doesn’t have NP privilages at my hospital and cant prescirbe meds or treatments but she is held to the standard of care as a NP. If she knows a therapy or medication is wrongly prescribe for a patients conditions by the docs (where its reasonable to state that a RN without further education would not know the difference or the correct therapy) and she doesnt do anything about it, she can be held responsible, if something goes wrong, becuase she has a NP license even though she is working as a RN in my hospital.
    Last edit by CPT_Charlios on Aug 18, '12 : Reason: typos
    cmd12609, Franemtnurse, NerdyNikki, and 1 other like this.
  7. 2
    Sure, as I stated before, APNs are getting sued more often now for their own actions. I've been an APN for 6 years in nephrology but my RN background is 10 years level 1 trauma center and 2 years adult ICU. If I was to go back to the ER as an RN I would be expected to assess my pt to the level (read: more in-depth) of the APN licensure. That is, I would be expected to know if a medication order was correct, if the plan of care met the standard of care, that type of thing.

    For instance, as an RN, I was expected to do a cursory heart exam (in the ER setting). However, as an APN, I would be expected to at least describe a murmur, friction rub, etc.. and know what they mean.
    NerdyNikki and f_nurse2b16 like this.
  8. 0
    TraumaRUs- Oh ok. Gotcha. Thanks!
  9. 0
    CPT_Charlios- Thank you!! That is exactly what I needed to know. Just what I am going to be doing as a NP before I go into. I have a better understanding of it now.
  10. 1
    traumaRUs is correct about being licensed as NP and working as RN. You are held to the highest SOC.

    Blending the titles/licenses. Be careful. Seek out Liability Insurance and how they define this blending of roles.

    I agree to shadowing an APN. And, search out what is motivating YOU to seek the advanced practice role. Weigh the pros/cons.

    Good luck.
    traumaRUs likes this.
  11. 0
    Sir-I But can't you go back to working under your BSN and RN license so that problem doesn't occur?
  12. 1
    I cannot give you a resolute, definitive answer.

    We are only giving you a heads' up and be forewarned about this issue.
    f_nurse2b16 likes this.


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