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Is this crazy?

NP Students   (940 Views 22 Comments)
by ThePrincessBride ThePrincessBride (Member)

ThePrincessBride has 3 years experience .

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

1,228 Likes; 6 Followers; 62,523 Visitors; 2,577 Posts

You're right, it's not a golden ticket. But, if it's something you want,  I'll bet you'll succeed. I have followed you here over the years and you are definitely an overcomer. 

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Your exact fears about becoming an FNP are why I've chosen not to go to grad school. I personally know several people who have graduated, passed their boards, and end up working bedside for a year to two years looking for a FNP job worth taking. It was enough to put me off from doing it. That said I do know some who are extra motivated who took the time to cultivate relationships with MDs and practices that they are interested in working with after graduation, and those people have all started working in jobs they like (although most with evenings/call involved). I think you'll find a job if you're the right amount of flexible in terms of either hours/position or location. You may need to move to find what you're looking for. 

 

Also, personal opinion. But going from NICU to Adult med-surg sounds awful. lol. 

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ThePrincessBride has 3 years experience.

35 Likes; 55,296 Visitors; 2,212 Posts

59 minutes ago, EllaBella1 said:

Your exact fears about becoming an FNP are why I've chosen not to go to grad school. I personally know several people who have graduated, passed their boards, and end up working bedside for a year to two years looking for a FNP job worth taking. It was enough to put me off from doing it. That said I do know some who are extra motivated who took the time to cultivate relationships with MDs and practices that they are interested in working with after graduation, and those people have all started working in jobs they like (although most with evenings/call involved). I think you'll find a job if you're the right amount of flexible in terms of either hours/position or location. You may need to move to find what you're looking for. 

 

Also, personal opinion. But going from NICU to Adult med-surg sounds awful. lol. 

I actually went from adult med-surg to NICU (stayed contingent on adult med-surg) and now I am going back full-time and kind of dreading it. 

I am not too picky in terms of the position and am willing to work in places a lot of NPs don't want to work at (like prisons, for example). I am more particular about schedule requirements than anything.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

460 Likes; 1 Follower; 5,583 Visitors; 752 Posts

"But if I don't go, I think I will look back in life and regret not at least trying, if that makes sense."

There are always many different paths in our lives that we can choose. We never know for sure how things will turn out. We do know however what you stated in your post (above). If this is truly how you feel then I think you answered your own question. And esp. since you wont have any accured debt. Sometimes the trying is just as they say....priceless. Good luck!!

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duerk has <1 years experience.

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On 3/8/2019 at 5:14 AM, ThePrincessBride said:

So I got to into a Family Nurse Practitioner program. It is part-time, online and associated with a B and M school with a very large hospital. It is extremely expensive. In order to get my tuition paid for, I would need to work at the hospital full-time. No problem. Already have an offer on the adult med-surg floor that I work contingent on. However...

I would have to leave my full-time NICU job at a different hospital and the thought is killing. I love babies. It was my dream job, and I thought I wanted to be a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. But the thought of rotating shifts (two-six weeks days, two-six weeks nights, weekends and holidays) and being stuck in the hospital forever with very few employment opportunities was something I don't think I wanted to deal with. But I love the bedside care.

I could ask to go contingent, but that would require working 36 hours every six weeks, certain number of weekends and holidays. 

I don't have any kids, which makes things less complicated, but...

Am I nuts? Is it possible to juggle grad-school part-time, a full-time job (3 12s) and a contingent job?

Hello, 

I’m in the process to start DNP FNP part time online program this Fall, and I have a full time job working 84 hours a week. I also have 3 kids at home. I think so possible as long as you are willing to put the time and the work. It is not going to be easy but I’m positive that it is manageable. I did my BNS full time, work part time while managing a household with three kids and it wasn’t easy. You just have to wanted bad enough to make it. 

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blondenurse12 has 13 years experience as a MSN, NP and works as a NP.

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I can only tell you my experience and take from that what you will. I decided to get my FNP about 5 years after becoming an RN. I was burned out with ICU. I had this idea that becoming a FNP would be great and the schools really talk up autonomy and clinical excellence. 

Part way through my program I almost quit (my program is a well respected brick and mortar who finds preceptors for their students). FNPs are basically treated like worker bees. Any issues you think are going to be fixed or changed by becoming an NP...don't count on it. It just transfers. My preceptors were seeing all the patients, doing all the work, taking all the call and getting paid peanuts while the physicians dawdled around and got paid way more. We were always the first in, the last out, working days before holidays. 

I now work for a retail clinic and while I do have a fair amount of autonomy, we are personally responsible for the marketing of the clinic and if we have lower patient volumes, it is our fault and they let us know this. It's also somewhat isolating, either retail or an office setting because you are either by yourself or so busy that you don't have any camaraderie like on a nursing unit. 

Also keep in mind pay scales. I had a co-worker on my nursing unit who went for a FNP but never worked as one because she was maxed out on the pay and PTO scale. In many areas, seasoned nurses will make more than FNPs. Because I am young, overall it is/has been financially worth it but I am not really happy. I did try an office job and it was even worse so I came back to retail. 

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LibraSunCNM has 10 years experience and works as a CNM.

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It all depends on the job market where you live, or whether you are willing to move for a job.  The market is saturated with nurses hoping that becoming an FNP will be their golden ticket to a cushy job, and it is possible to find that, but not everywhere.  There are pay issues to consider as well, as others have mentioned above---APRNs don't necessarily make more than floor RNs, and FNPs make the lowest salaries compared to specialty NPs like NNP, CRNA, PMHNP, etc.  You have to weigh what is truly important to you and get a realistic outlook for the future once you finish school.

Also, for what it's worth, I wouldn't go into a PMHNP program unless you have significant psych experience, judging from the feedback I've heard from actual psych NPs. But I do agree the job market for PMHNPs is great compared to other specialties.

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You should go. You've already done all the leg work, and now you're just feeling some jitters. All the things that concern you may happen- taking extra time to find an NP job, possibly working weekends, etcetera. But you will work your way through it , the same way you worked your way through nursing school and being a new grad RN

If you are willing to work prisons, you can get a position before you graduate. Im not sure that you will be guaranteed weekends off, but you can probably do some hard negotiating and get that as part of your package.

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traumaRUs has 25 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

478 Likes; 14 Followers; 127 Articles; 184,861 Visitors; 20,492 Posts

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On 3/9/2019 at 10:27 AM, Emergent said:

You're right, it's not a golden ticket. But, if it's something you want,  I'll bet you'll succeed. I have followed you here over the years and you are definitely an overcomer. 

Like Emergent, I've also been following your threads (especially on the NICU boards). Based on both this post and some of your past posts, I have a couple of random thoughts.

I work in a PICU affiliated with a reputable, crazy expensive PNP program, and many of the nurses on my unit are in the PNP program part-time. Even in a job they love, it is a lot of work and stress. That's just with a single full-time job, not even adding a par-time job on top.

Maybe I'm not remembering correctly, but a few months ago didn't you post about how fed up you were with adult med-surg and feeling undervalued by patients and management? I would imagine that having to jump back into that full-time would be miserable.

I'm very skeptical about those 'work for tuition reimbursement' programs; for a program that's unaffordable otherwise, they're even more worrisome. If you hate the job but are already in the program, you basically become an indentured servant to the job. You have to stay in it, even if you hate it or it becomes unsafe, as you couldn't afford the student debt if you chose to leave. If it turns out you're completely miserable in your med-surg job, you'd literally have no choice but to suck it up and stay. Maybe it would be worth it to suffer through a couple of years to cover your tuition, but that's a lot of stress on top of full-time work, part-time school, and possibly part-time work. 

In addition, you usually have to work in the hospital system for a certain amount of time before you even become eligible for tuition reimbursement status, which means that your first year or two might not be covered and you could accrue a ton of debt.

Also, you might have to work for a certain number of years for the hospital system after you complete the degree in order to keep your reimbursement status. That means that once you get your NP degree, you'd have to take a job at that hospital or else you'd have to pay back the tuition money yourself. That could mean taking a crappy, underpaid NP job with terrible hours in a specialty or setting that you hate.

For example, the PNP program at my university hospital costs $100,000+. You have to work at the hospital for at least a year before you're eligible to get any tuition money. If you go part-time at the university, you forfeit your tuition reimbursement. You have to work continuously at the hospital for the same amount of years that you receive tuition money. Therefore, if your program takes three years, you have to continue to work for the hospital system for three years after you graduate. Since there's a ton of competition for NP jobs at this hospital, new grad NPs who are desperate for tuition reimbursement may have to take a pay cut from their RN jobs and work terrible hours. If you decide to take a job outside of the hospital system, you're saddled with the full $100,000+ in student debt. Most of the nurses I know in this program started with the intention of working for the system as graduates, but ultimately left to take other, better jobs; as a consequence, they have a ton of student loans they didn't expect.

In these programs, there are a lot of strings attached. Again, most of the people I know who are in this program love their bedside RN job and their NP specialty, and they're still really stressed out.

Two last thoughts, unrelated to the 'tuition reimbursement' dilemma:

If you do attempt to work full-time med-surg and part-time NICU, have you considered looking into smaller special-care nurseries? Some hospital systems have a main hospital with a huge Level III/IV NICU and satellite hospitals with tiny (i.e. 6-bed) Level II special care nurseries. These SCNs can be awesome part-time jobs for students. Usually the ratios are great (i.e. 2-3 nurses with a census of 4-6 patients, so 1:2 ratios), so you have a ton of downtime to do homework. You could get in your NICU cuddle fix in a very laid back environment.

Finally, you mention that you're interested in possibly transitioning to a Psych NP program at some point. I'm sure you've seen a fair bit of psych in your med-surg experience, but I don't know if that would be sufficient experience to become a Psych NP. If you check out the Psych forums, the people over there feel pretty strongly that you need a few years of inpatient psych nursing experience to become a proficient Psych NP. I'm sure that you could do it (as there are plenty of direct entry masters psych NP programs), but it may not be ideal. Just something to consider.

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