APN Career Options

Specialties Advanced


Hello, I've been researching and trying to determine career path options for APNs. I'm not so much talking about specialities, but rather career progression...management positions, senior leadership, executive, etc... Wha are some of your thoughts beyond a practicing clinician?

I hated being in management. If I wanted to be a manager I would have mastered in Nsg mgmt. Every job I have had as an NP they try to get me to manage in some fashion. I wont do it. Thats just me. If thats a goal then yes it can happen. Managing patients health is what I love! It is fun and interesting! Everyday even after all these years!

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I've been an APRN for 10 years and I'm now the lead APRN (I supervise 6 APRNs). Don't like it, don't dislike it. My MSN is actually in management and leadership - I have two post-MSN certificates

Specializes in Adult Nurse Practitioner.

There is a need for both. I believe the "all-inclusive" MSN-APN title adds to the confusion and why there is a push for the DNP title to help separate clinical vs. non-clinical advanced nurse practitioners.

Depends on who you want to manage: other APRNs, hospitals units, entire hospital departments, etc.

I would imagine that most APRNs who practice in clinical settings manage other APRNs within their practice (like another poster described). I've heard of a handful of practices where APRNs manage the entire practice (including MDs), but I think it's very rare.

On the flip side, I've met a bunch of APRNs who are administrators at their practices, doing things like running follow-up clinics and overseeing research projects.

If you want to be in healthcare management/admin on a larger scale, you'd probably be better served getting an MHA, MBA with an emphasis in healthcare, MSN with emphasis in admin, or potentially even a CNS or CNL degree (both technically APRN roles). Any of these degrees plus your RN experience would probably qualify you for all of the jobs listed in this post (management as well as admin).

Perhaps most importantly, if you become an NP and are salaried, you may get roped into performing additional management duties without getting paid anything extra for it. I think many businesses have a variety of committees (i.e. Operations, Finance, Outreach) that people volunteer for (or are volun-told to do). It's kind of like participating in voluntary committees on your unit, but you don't get to clock in. You can point to committee participation when you're asking for a raise or bonus, but it's not like hourly pay where you can clock in to lead a staff committee.

I've never been a manager, but it seems to me like all of the healthcare managers I know never really get to take break. Even nights and weekends, they're still making calls and sending emails about the unit and/or practice. For me, being an nurse with an hourly wage gives me automatic work-life balance: when I'm off the clock, it is not my problem. ;)

Thanks everyone for your comments!

Specializes in allergy and asthma, urgent care.

I worked in management for years in a previous career, and never, ever, want to do it again. I became an APN to take care of patients. That's all I want to do. I work in a private practice full time, but moonlight in a big corporate type environment with multiple centers and a huge management structure. There are APNs who work in management there.

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