Why did you go for your NP rather than continuing to work as an RN?
I am currently half way through my NP program. I feel my strengths fit better with the NP role than it does the bedside nurse role. I'm not happy with my current level of knowledge. Even in nursing school, I was always asking practitioner level questions and was frustrated that it wasn't stuff that nurses knew. I wanted to know why a particular ABX was ordered, how to interpret the CBC, etc. I would rather use my brain more and my body less, lol.
How much more money do you make as a NP rather than as an RN?
A non-ICU NP at my hospital makes about the same or less than an experienced RN who works nights. Money is not a reason to become an NP. They can make more, but it isn't a huge difference unless you're talking about CRNAs.
How long after becoming an RN did you go back to become a NP?
Applied to school after 5 months, started the program after 8 months experience.
Any thoughts on the requirement changes for NPs (needing a DNP as of
2015 rather than MSN)??
Until they mandate it, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Thing is, now it is harder to find programs that aren't DNPs.
How long did you wait between getting your RN license and starting
your graduate program?
I am considering the BSN-DNP program that is offered online through
University of Southern Alabama, anyone have any opinion about this
(school, internet program, or anything else)??
There is a lot of info on this school on these forums, just search for it. My impression of the school from a good friend who went there is it is less rigorous and thorough than some of the other programs and they don't always support their students very well. However, they generally have good pass rates, so if you are motivated and self-directed, you can at least learn what you need to get your certification.
What is the biggest difference between working as a NP over an RN?
You aren't being told a diagnosis, you have to figure it out and then give the orders instead of following them. It is a completely different mind-set. It is a lot more responsibility and it requires a lot more dedication to continuing education. You have to be a leader to other nurses and be comfortable in that role. If you just want to go to work, get your paycheck and go home, then you'll likely be happier as a bedside nurse.
What is your work schedule like (days, nights, weekends)?
Completely varies by position. The jobs I'm interested in are 24-hour shifts including holidays and weekends. I think they generally do between 6-8 24-hour shifts per month. Clinics tend to be M-F, often without holidays, weekends or call.
Do you specialize (Neonatal NP, Psych NP, etc.) and if so do you wish
you would have just become a FNP? (I am asking this because I love the
idea of neonatal NP but I do not see any openings in this area within
100 miles of my house, rarely any I can even find in the US)
FYI, I think almost all NNP programs require 2 years NICU nursing before you can apply. They seem to be the strictest about that. Just like RN jobs NP jobs are harder to find right now. By specializing as an NP, it definitely limits your ability to get a job. If you are unable to relocate for a job, that is something to consider. I am doing Acute Care PNP, and I would never want to be an FNP. Primary care, and adults? No thanks!
You need to pick the speciality that fits you, not anyone else.
How long did it take you to find a job?
I'll let you know in a year and a half, lol.
OK this is a silly question - I know, but just answer the question and
try not to laugh at me too hard lol! If you have a doctorate in
nursing do people call you "Dr. so and so" also does this cause some
confusion since you aren't a medical doctor or physician but instead a
nurse practitioner with a doctorate?
This is a very touchy political issue. The AMA has been lobbying to make it illegal for nurses with doctoral degrees from using the title Dr. in a clinical setting. Several states have made it illegal. The whole thing is ridiculous. Nurses aren't using the title to confuse patients into believing they are physicians. They are using a title that is conferred to almost everyone who receives a doctoral degree. So if you get a DNP, you will have to check to see what your state has to say on the issue.
I think once you get out and get some RN experience you will figure out what you want to do. NP school is a major commitment. It is extremely difficult and time consuming, not to mention stressful. As you work with NPs and see what they do, you'll know if you want to make that step or not. I thought I'd wait several years, but once I saw what they did in our ICU I knew that was what I wanted to do and applied to school that month. But if you're happy as an RN, there is really no reason to put yourself through the frustration and stress that is grad school. You give up a lot of good things to become an NP, and the things you gain have to be worth more than what you lose.