Nurse practitioner lives?

  1. 1
    I'm getting ready to finish up my nursing BSN and am at a crossroads. I can't decide whether or not I want to go back to school in a couple of years to be an NP or stay an RN. Something that I consider when thinking about this is my life OUTSIDE of my job. In a few years I want to start a family and am worried that one profession or the other will allow me a lot more time to spend with my family.

    From your experience, what profession offers more "free time" (I know, ALL careers are busy!) but looking back on it, which profession offers you the best "home life" benefits?

    I just want to be able to spend time with my family and do wifely/mommy duties without having to completely quit my job!

    Thanks everyone in advance
    -Taylor
    Candimk2 likes this.

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  2. 13 Comments...

  3. 2
    Hi, Taylor - well, I'm a wifely/mommy (lol) ACNP and I feel that you can find the best balance for yourself in either role. Granted my nursing/NP journey has been a bit unique. When I was a brand-new NP 10 years ago I worked in a busy cardiology practice with inpatient/outpatient duties. It was a 50+ hr/week job and I worked *hard.* But that was back when we were DINKs (double income, no kids), so it worked out fine.

    Then came baby #1 and I resigned this position and after much deliberation began teaching BSN-level clinicals (in critical care) one day/week and working bedside RN critical care PRN over the holidays and summer. There were no satisfactory part-time NP jobs in my area and working part-time was a dealbreaker for me. This combination created a pretty darn good work/life/homemaker balance and I felt like I had the best of both worlds.

    Fast forward to May 2012 -- baby #2 and #3 came along, my FIL battled (and beat) brain cancer -- I was still working pretty much 12-18ish hours week teaching clinical and bedside nursing. Along the way I had to let my ACNP lapse due to lack of practice hours, but I decided maybe I would just stick with academia.

    Well, life/God had different plans and a perfect NP position presented itself at my "home" hospital where I've been teaching clinical and working PRN for the past 10 years. So last month I re-tested (whew) and now have a 2 day/week gig as an ACNP in cardiology/cardiac surgery critical care (about 16-20 hours week). There will be some Saturday involvement but that's okay.

    All that to say, if you get creative you can find something that works for your family. I think a better question is to ask yourself -- what's my passion? Teaching nursing students was a wonderful experience, but I was ready to move on. A month into my new role, I couldn't be happier. Get some experience under your belt, observe advance practice nurses in action, research programs in your area . . . I think it will become a lot clearer.

    One thing that I did do was get my Masters/NP finished before I had children and I would highly recommend this. Obviously, sometimes this works out differently than planned, but I attended a very rigorous program at a top school and I can't imagine doing that with small children as well (although some do).

    Good luck!
    Candimk2 and CCRNDiva like this.
  4. 4
    The stakes and expectations are higher for an APN. The buck stops with you and you are responsible for what you do, don't do, and the outcomes. This means it may be a "9-5" but you can't just clock out and go home. I'd keep that in mind. It really isn't much like being a registered nurse at all. I find the two roles/careers have little in common besides the word "nurse." Frankly, I think your decision ought to be based on what you want to do for a living, and not really on how you want to spent your time off.
    sslamster, NPAlby, NJnewRN, and 1 other like this.
  5. 1
    I ask myself these questions every day. Especially now that I've started work 40 hours a week as an NP and have a new son. As hard as bedside nursing is (i.e. obscene amounts of charting, stool, drugs to administer, etc.) it does offer a pretty awesome schedule. As an RN I would work 3 then take off 8 days every month! That's more vacation than some people get in a year. If you'd like to plan on traveling with your family or doing overnight camping trips, etc. it can't be beat. Also, I think it depends somewhat on your temperament. Frankly, I'd stick with nursing. Give it a good 5 years and see how it fits your life.
    Candimk2 likes this.
  6. 0
    Thank you all for your honest answers. This gives me some additional insight into furthering my education as well.
  7. 3
    I think it's great for you to be thinking ahead...from MY experience, I worked as an RN while my kids were babies/toddlers....I worked night shift, and it worked great for our family bc I felt like for the most part, I was a stay-at-home mom....true, I rarely slept, but it got us through, and it was important for me to be home while the kids were young...

    I decided to go for my NP when my youngest started Kindergarten bc the NP shift time is just different...it's office hours for the most part, so it's worked out well again for my family bc I'm pretty much just at work while the kids are in school...

    From my experience, I've found that you can have it all, but maybe just not all at the same time...That's all just MY experience though...everyone's is different!
  8. 0
    Quote from BlueDevil,DNP
    The stakes and expectations are higher for an APN. The buck stops with you and you are responsible for what you do, don't do, and the outcomes. This means it may be a "9-5" but you can't just clock out and go home. I'd keep that in mind. It really isn't much like being a registered nurse at all. I find the two roles/careers have little in common besides the word "nurse." Frankly, I think your decision ought to be based on what you want to do for a living, and not really on how you want to spent your time off.
    Agree with this post. NP is very different than RN work. I prefer it but I also have no problems making the hard decisions no one else wants to make. I figure thats why they pay me the big bucks. RN you can work a variety of hours, shifts and theres always part time, per diem. As an NP I work as a contractor and make my own hours, schedule.
  9. 1
    I agree with the previous posts. The nursing staff in my clinic leave at 5 on the dot. But I as an NP stay until all the lab ordering, scripts, phone calls to patients and charting is done. Which may be after 5. But it's still a great job, just very different duties than being a staff nurse.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
    Candimk2 likes this.
  10. 0
    Hi Everyone! I haven't even started nursing school because I want to make sure I am getting myself into the right field. Can any one help me out? I am debating what type of career I want.

    I want to be an NP because I LOVE the idea of figuring things out within the medical field and doing diagnosis and research. At the same time..I don't want to stay after 5 until 10PM doing charts Is this a type of job where you dont have a life?

    I mean, I dont mind doing charts and calling patients back, but how long is this usually in a typical work day? My aunt is an ARNP at an OBGYN office. She said she pretty much does charts 247 and I think that is just kinda.....Ugh wow...no life at all

    Maybe I should consider doing Occupational Therapy...seems more laid back to me and fun. Im really torn up and trying to make a choice before December of this year.
  11. 0
    FNP x almost 5 years. Before I even started the job search my husband and I absolutely agreed I needed to be part-time. I had three part-time offers through word of mouth before I even graduated. My daughter was about to enter Jr. high so this was a different stage in life for me. Previously I had worked a few shifts or even one shift a week as an RN OR I worked in cardiac rehab from 8-2 with Thursdays off while she was really little.

    I work 8:30 - 5 two to three days per week. All of the ancillary staff fly out the door at 5 but I still have piles of charts, labs, refills, etc. I work through lunch (take maybe 15-20 minutes) and then at least an hour after the last patient leaves. BUT..I'm off a few days a week so it makes up for the longer days.


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