Considering leaving job as NP to go back to school

by Guest1192979 Guest1192979 (Member)


I need some advice from anyone who is willing to give their opinion on this. I have been a nurse practitioner for 8 years and an RN for 13 years total. I’m 35, female, single, no children. I have worked as an NP in multiple settings, including ER, general surgery, nursing home, wound care, family practice, hospitalist, and currently in pediatrics and urgent care. I have my DNP. I am miserable in my role as NP. I would like more training and more autonomy, and I am very interested in surgery. I have this constant nagging desire to go back to school. Financially, it would not be the best decision, of course. Otherwise, does anyone have any thoughts on this subject?

Thank you for your time!


AlwaysTiredNP, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 10 years experience. 29 Posts

What is it that you would want to go back to school for? I am unclear.

To work in surgery doing what? to go to medical school and become a surgeon? Do to RNFA? Surgical Tech? 

3 hours ago, ballenta said:

Financially, it would not be the best decision, of course.

This is also kind of red flaggy... like how bad of a decision are we talking? Can you get a job as an NP working for surgical service without going back to school somehow?



2 Posts

8 hours ago, AlwaysTiredNP said:

What is it that you would want to go back to school for? I am unclear.

Yes, back to medical school. Thanks for your post. 

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,530 Posts

1 hour ago, ballenta said:

Yes, back to medical school. Thanks for your post. 

So you want to be a surgeon?

You'd have to do 2 years to get your prerequisites for med school, 4 years of med school and about 6 to 7 years of residency. will be 47/48 by the time you are done with at least 250-300k in student loans.

I take it you don't want kids or a marriage? If so, that makes it an easier decision. But financially? You will be working well into your 60s and early 70s to make this financially worth it.


sleepwalker, MSN, NP

Specializes in Occupational Health. Has 18 years experience. 287 Posts

On 5/8/2022 at 10:09 AM, ThePrincessBride said: will be 47/48 by the time you are done with at least 250-300k in student loans.

Think this debt load is being VERY optimistic


CommunityRNBSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community health. Has 4 years experience. 775 Posts

In general, I'm a big fan of "follow your dreams!"  I think people should truly do what will make them happy.  However, in your case, you definitely need to think long and hard.  Are you just burnt out and need a vacation, or a career change that is less drastic?  Is there ANY way for you to "Bloom where you're planted"?--which is also advice I liberally endorse for myself.

You are only 35, so certainly, you could get accepted to medical school.  Given your experience as an NP, you'd probably be seen as a great candidate.  You'd need to take some pre-requisites, as any organic Chemistry, physics, etc that you took was probably too long ago to be accepted.  Because of this, it might be several years before you could actually start school. Med school is a full-time gig, as is residency, as is a surgical fellowship. It would be an enormous undertaking. Do you have family that will support you in this (at least emotionally if not financially?)

I'm not trying to be flippant, but every time I see astronauts on television, I think, "Damn... I wish I could be an astronaut.  I'd've been good too-- I'm great at math and I'm level-headed."  But at some point I had to decide that I wasn't actually going to try to become one.  For the rest of my life, probably, I'll give a wistful sigh when I see news about space, but that doesn't mean I should have quit my job to try to become an astronaut.  Just because something stirs your heart doesn't necessarily mean it's wise to chase it.


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,180 Posts

Have you considered RN First Assistant role.  AORN has RN First Assistant Resources   See their article: How do I become a Registered Nurse First Assistant (RNFA)?  As an APRN, you can enter RNFA training with no perioperative experience.  This will give you hands on experience to decide if you want to go to medical school to become a surgeon without a large financial investment med school requires. 

AORN's RNFA Program Checklist is designed to enable the nurse to compare a program’s content with the AORN Standards for RN First Assistant Education Programs. Program list is available at first link.  I'm familiar with my local  Delaware County Community College (PA) RNFA program which has a special section  "designed for ARNP includes fundamentals of perioperative practice, such as scrubbing, gowning, gloving and instrument review. This enrichment is a continuation of the pre-campus study and perioperative modules. The College has the oldest RNFA Program with classes dedicated to and tailored for the APRN. "

Education is never wasted.  Best wishes with your decision.



Specializes in M/S. Has 10 years experience. 3 Posts


If you like adventures, you might like website. Check out their nurse practitioner jobs opening. You will deliver medical and traumatic care within foreign austere environments.

You can also work for the US Army delivering trauma/surgical care in Germany and other places worldwide.

You can be a flight nurse practitioner in Colorado, Alaska, etc...

Many opportunities are open to you.




vintagegal, BSN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 3 years experience. 230 Posts

What about teaching?