Best Lifestyle for PMHNP's. Private practice?


I am a BSN, currently working in outpatient psych. I am trying to determine which is the best fit for me for advanced practice options. I am debating between CRNA & PMHNP or FNP w/ psych certs (but I plan to exclusively practice in psychiatry. I would only go FNP w/ psych certs because I would have more flexibility with training options.)

I gravitate towards psych over anesthesia because I work in military hospitals and am sadly privy to an immense need for more psych providers, and I am passionate about helping people seek help for MH issues, destigmatizing MH, etc.

Of course, I am financially motivated by both these options as well. In my area both are the highest paying nurse specialties... I am looking for career longevity and feel like I will have a much longer practice life with psych than I will with anesthesia.

Quality of life outside of practice is also important for me. I would like your feedback as practicing providers on call schedules, weekly hours worked, time spent documenting, stress level, etc. Are you satisfied with your decision to practice MH or do you have some regrets? Any advice is sincerely appreciated. ;)


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Specializes in psych/medical-surgical. Has 14 years experience.

The general concensus after advanced educaiton is a higher quality of life. You usually get paid more and have more autonomy, flexibility and options. You can always go back to the floor if you like, but all my friends from school that went APRN are very happy they did. I know a handful of PHDs/DNPs that have private offices in a basement making 120+k easy.

I suggest reading some of the posts on NPs here, seems like lots of new grads take low salaries cuz they don't know how much negotiating power they have. A lot of those things you asked I know are negotiable such as taking call, hours, salary - they depend on how you negotiate your contract and where you work (salary vs per patient). Just last week I overheard 2 providers talking about how much you can negotiate! Senior doc was telling junior doc to ask for more than he makes.

I'm going into psych as well because it's low stress and there is HUGE demand. It takes 3 months + to see a Psychiatrist here and the one's that work in the clinics accross town all know each other, imagine that lol! I know a couple of PHMNP... if you're in an outpatient clinic, you sit in a 1 on 1 office, one patient at a time, talk with them, adjust there meds, document, next. Time slots per patient. None of that trying-to-be-7-places-at-once Med-Surg Floor BS! Hospital setting I imagine you are sorta like a doc, round see patients then write orders and chart.

Like anything, I think you can get burned out if you are too stressed or working too hard or not paied enough or dont have enough support. That depends of course on where you work.

Specializes in Psychiatry. Has 20 years experience.

What state do you practice in?