I'm a '2nd career' student about to graduate with my BSN in a couple weeks. Prior to nursing school, I worked as a child life specialist for 8 years in an inpatient pediatric hospital. I'm currently trying to decide whether to take a job as an RN in the a NICU, or another job in a transitional care/rehab pediatric hospital.... or continue full-time into the PNP program. Like many posters, I'm fearful I won't be able to find a job as a PNP without RN experience...however some people have said my experience in child life could help defray that 'inexperience' a bit. I totally understand why people say you should get nursing experience to be a PNP; however I'm older and feel like time is of the essence to keep progressing toward my original goal of being a PNP.
I'm just very torn as to how to proceed.
The NICU job has an insanely awful schedule (ie. working 26-27 days a month) and I'm not sure my personal life (and mental wherewithal) can take that hit right now....however it would be great experience.
The transitional care hospital would be less intense, however many nurses who work there told me I wouldn't be as 'challenged' intellectually.
Or I could continue with school full-time, but then I worry I won't be able to find a job as an NP.....and then of course there's also the risk I wouldn't be able to back track and find a job as an RN either. (part time school really isn't an option because there's a good chance I will have to move in a couple years and wouldn't be finished the program)
Any thoughts? For whatever reason I'm having a really hard time with this...
Jul 1, '13
Is it possible to continue working as a child life specialist while in school? I agree that your hospital experience will be an asset. What's important is that you have experience working with sick children and have an understanding of disease processes and how they might manifest themselves in hospitalized children.
Some of my classmates worked in RN jobs all through the program, but it was very stressful and challenging.
Jul 1, '13
Thanks for your response and reassurance that my hospital experience hasn't been all for naught! I could probably pick up a few hours here and there as a CLS per diem, but not consistently. As you said, working an RN job through the program would be very stressful...and difficult to manage time-wise since I'd be rotating days-nights. If I did decide to pursue the RN job, I've also wondered if the critical thinking/intensity of the NICU experience is really necessary for primary care PNP....or if the transitional care nursing job would be better suited to that PNP role in the future.
Jul 1, '13
I think NICU experience is valuable if you're pretty sure you only want to work with babies. As a PNP you will see a much wider range of conditions than you're likely to see in the NICU. Although, I'm currently working in pulmonology and we see a lot of ex-preemies with CLD, so maybe some NICU experience would have come in handy.
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