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Any regrets becoming a NP?

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by DesertSky DesertSky, BSN (Member)

DesertSky has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCRN.

5,110 Visitors; 106 Posts

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I'm curious to hear if anyone has any regrets regarding becoming a NP?  If so, what do you wish you would have pursued instead?  I have a few concerns that give me pause such as over saturation of NP's and provider burnout.  What if I go through NP school to not be able to find a job?  What if I get burned out as a NP?

I have been a critical care nurse for over 5 years and I'm not sure if my feelings stem from stress from balancing work and school, or if it's second thoughts creeping in.  I'm halfway through a MSN AGACNP program at well-respected, brick and mortar school where my preceptors are provided.  I work in a level 1 trauma center ICU and see how hard our AGACNP's work and that a number of them seem to be rather burned out from the sheer amount of work and responsibility they constantly have on their plates.  

I would love to hear thoughts from anyone who would be willing to share.

 

 

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

3 Followers; 8 Articles; 58,079 Visitors; 3,791 Posts

If you're trading in being burned out as an ICU nurse to the responsibilities you could potentially get stressed out about as an AGACNP, you may be in for a rude awakening.  There are tough AGACNP jobs out there and I've seen colleagues be unhappy with their choices.  Having said that, I made a smart choice of moving to a setting where I don't feel over-burdened and can find a work/life balance that keeps me sane.  It's not perfect but I've had my share of malignant specialties and abuse in the past and this is a big improvement compared to that.  Stress is also an individual experience, what annoys or bothers one person doesn't have much effect on another.  

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DesertSky has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCRN.

5,110 Visitors; 106 Posts

1 hour ago, juan de la cruz said:

If you're trading in being burned out as an ICU nurse to the responsibilities you could potentially get stressed out about as an AGACNP, you may be in for a rude awakening.  There are tough AGACNP jobs out there and I've seen colleagues be unhappy with their choices.  Having said that, I made a smart choice of moving to a setting where I don't feel over-burdened and can find a work/life balance that keeps me sane.  It's not perfect but I've had my share of malignant specialties and abuse in the past and this is a big improvement compared to that.  Stress is also an individual experience, what annoys or bothers one person doesn't have much effect on another.  

Thanks for your input.  I'm wondering if my current job setting is what is contributing to my questions.  Both the RN's and NP's on my current unit have to deal with some pretty intense situations and I feel there is a lack of support.  I hope to find a AGACNP position that allows a work/life balance, but as a new grad this may be tough.

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ArmaniX has 5 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Surgical Critical Care.

6,341 Visitors; 265 Posts

I traded the ICU bedside life as an RN for... the ICU life as a NP. Life is all about balance. I would say at times as an RN I felt near to burnout but would conquer that by “pulling in on the reigns” and focusing on me and not allowing the healthcare life to control my day. 

Im just shy of a year as a NP. I don’t feel burnout yet (thankfully as that would be early!). But I’m also mindful, I do not allow the overtime shifts offering excess of $1300 to sway me in working extra which could easily take over my life and lead to burn out.

No regrets moving toward the path I’ve decided. But I am always mindful of the choices I make in my career and their implications. I do imagine myself one day, possibly , leaving the ICU setting for something not so immediately life or death. There are specialties in the hospital which allow that. 

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babyNP. has 10 years experience and specializes in NICU.

2 Followers; 27,071 Visitors; 1,733 Posts

Zero regrets. I would say that I was more stressed out as a RN than as an NP. I love not having to ask someone to use the bathroom! There's also a certain type of weight lifted off when I'm not constantly "on" ready to jump on my baby who may alarm at any minute. Of course I can be called for a crash delivery any minute, but much less frequent occurrence than my baby needing to be saved from apnea. I get to sit down more and I don't have to handle a set of parents all day long. I love working with parents and teaching them- but some are more draining than others. As an NP I generally interact with them on rounds or in the afternoon, for a time limited duration, whereas the bedside nurse may interact with them all day. 

That being said- my work set up is such that I don't feel burnt out by the patient load or acuity very much. This is not the case in all the NICUs across the nation and I know of some folks that work until they drop. 

Keep in mind that as long as you're a little flexible on location, you'll have a much greater chance of finding a unit that works for you. 

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

3 Followers; 8 Articles; 58,079 Visitors; 3,791 Posts

4 hours ago, DesertSky said:

Thanks for your input.  I'm wondering if my current job setting is what is contributing to my questions.  Both the RN's and NP's on my current unit have to deal with some pretty intense situations and I feel there is a lack of support.  I hope to find a AGACNP position that allows a work/life balance, but as a new grad this may be tough.

If it's any consolation, I find that even if you end up in a practice that is too stressful and non-supportive, having that experience as bad it may be, can lead to better opportunities if you decide to move on.  You are always going to be more marketable as you rack up on years of experience.  In fact I didn't even realize how hard I worked in my previous job until I found this new ICU job that I've stayed in for 10 years now.  There's good places out there for sure.

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DesertSky has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCRN.

5,110 Visitors; 106 Posts

2 hours ago, ArmaniX said:

I traded the ICU bedside life as an RN for... the ICU life as a NP. Life is all about balance. I would say at times as an RN I felt near to burnout but would conquer that by “pulling in on the reigns” and focusing on me and not allowing the healthcare life to control my day. 

Im just shy of a year as a NP. I don’t feel burnout yet (thankfully as that would be early!). But I’m also mindful, I do not allow the overtime shifts offering excess of $1300 to sway me in working extra which could easily take over my life and lead to burn out.

No regrets moving toward the path I’ve decided. But I am always mindful of the choices I make in my career and their implications. I do imagine myself one day, possibly , leaving the ICU setting for something not so immediately life or death. There are specialties in the hospital which allow that. 

Congratulations on approaching your first year as a NP!  It sounds like you really prioritize self-care and ensuring you are not over extending yourself.  This is great advice as I'm sure it help to create a work/life balance.  You also bring up a good point that there are many other areas outside the ICU that AGACNP's can work.  I've always thought it would be interesting to work on a hospitalist team or in a speciality if I wasn't a NP in the ICU setting.

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Dodongo has 7 years experience as a APRN, NP.

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You'll be trading in physical stress for a more cerebral stress.  If you are in a medical specialty you will sit a lot more at work as a NP.  Once rounds are over, and if you are not called to the bedside for whatever reason, you will be essentially writing papers on every patient for a large chunk of the day.  

My decisions carry infinitely more weight and more consequence.  That is another mental stressor.  Do not think it will be easier, it will just be different.  But the responsibility is much more.  The upside is, I love going to work.  I love the work I do.  I love using my brain.  And I love being in charge of me and my work.  Find an area where you are valued and not just a scribe and make sure you devote yourself to the study of medicine.  Don't just turn this into RN 2.0.  

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DesertSky has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCRN.

5,110 Visitors; 106 Posts

1 hour ago, babyNP. said:

Zero regrets. I would say that I was more stressed out as a RN than as an NP. I love not having to ask someone to use the bathroom! There's also a certain type of weight lifted off when I'm not constantly "on" ready to jump on my baby who may alarm at any minute. Of course I can be called for a crash delivery any minute, but much less frequent occurrence than my baby needing to be saved from apnea. I get to sit down more and I don't have to handle a set of parents all day long. I love working with parents and teaching them- but some are more draining than others. As an NP I generally interact with them on rounds or in the afternoon, for a time limited duration, whereas the bedside nurse may interact with them all day. 

That being said- my work set up is such that I don't feel burnt out by the patient load or acuity very much. This is not the case in all the NICUs across the nation and I know of some folks that work until they drop. 

Keep in mind that as long as you're a little flexible on location, you'll have a much greater chance of finding a unit that works for you. 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.  You bring up some good points on the stressors being different in the RN vs. NP role.  I do feel like much of my burnout is feeling overwhelmed with bedside care duties and not having enough time in the day.  Nothing like having one crashing trauma patient and then getting a new unstable post-op patient from the OR.  You give some great advice to find a unit that will work for me.

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DesertSky has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCRN.

5,110 Visitors; 106 Posts

1 hour ago, Dodongo said:

You'll be trading in physical stress for a more cerebral stress.  If you are in a medical specialty you will sit a lot more at work as a NP.  Once rounds are over, and if you are not called to the bedside for whatever reason, you will be essentially writing papers on every patient for a large chunk of the day.  

My decisions carry infinitely more weight and more consequence.  That is another mental stressor.  Do not think it will be easier, it will just be different.  But the responsibility is much more.  The upside is, I love going to work.  I love the work I do.  I love using my brain.  And I love being in charge of me and my work.  Find an area where you are valued and not just a scribe and make sure you devote yourself to the study of medicine.  Don't just turn this into RN 2.0.  

Thanks for sharing.  I will gladly trade the physical stress for mental stress.  I totally understand the consequence and weight of the decisions I will be making as a provider versus a bedside RN.  That is why I have worked at the most challenging hospitals in the most challenging units to prepare the best I can clinically as a nurse before pursuing the NP role.  It's great to hear you love what you do and thank you for the advice on what to look for in a NP job.

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kakamegamama specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

15,591 Visitors; 1,013 Posts

Becoming an NP has opened doors for me that remaining a RN would have been closed.  I am thankful to be able to work in a practice in which the providers and nurses/assistants work as a team to provide quality care to our underinsured/uninsured population.  I've been able to use my skills in far flung places as well, which is such a blessing and adds interest.

I'm not sure I would be so thrilled in an acute care setting, however, or in a private practice different than the one I am in.  Would I do it again? Yes.

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2 Followers; 6,371 Visitors; 1,221 Posts

I have been very satisfied with my NP career, but several fortunate circumstances have been a large part of that. Maybe I made some of my own luck.

I have known some people who couldn't make it work for them.

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