Published Apr 20, 2014
I am entering college very soon and am just thinking far ahead (I'm a planner). Becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner has always been a dream of mine, and now that I am getting closer to finalizing my career, I am looking into the logistics of it. I'm am currently 18, and I'm figuring I'll finish school about the time I am 25. I do want to be a mother in my 30s and would hate to not get to spend a lot of time with my children. I don't mind working whatever crazy hours I'm put through in my 20's, but I want stable, consistent hours when I have a family. Is this likely or should I just be an RN with guaranteed work-day hours? I would love to be a NNP, but I don't want to sacrifice my family for it.
WookieeRN, BSN, MSN, RN
I think it's way to early to tell, honestly. When I was 18 I thought I would be married and start having kids by 25. Now, at 26, I don't even want to think about having kids until after 30.
Start with the RN then think about the NP.
And just an anecdote: my mother was an RN throughout our whole childhood and "guaranteed work-day hours" was not in her vocabulary, especially when she was working at the hospital. There was very little consistency from week to week, but she worked what they told her to work.
That's wonderful that you know what you want to do! I'd recommend working as an RN while you do your MSN to make sure you like it (this is my second career. In my first, I got a masters and then realized I didn't like it- a lot of time and money wasted)
RN's have a very inconsistent schedule (I've found this to be true of most hospitals)- even with seniority at some places (and btw, seniority doesn't carry over from hospital to hospital- so if you work somewhere and leave that place, don't think you'll get a good schedule at the next place- you start at the bottom again)... it's hard to say because every hospital is very different in terms of schedule, but I think the best would be ED because there are more shifts to choose from.... or you could do OR and eventually PACU- you'll have a better chance at getting days.
NP's have a better schedule (unless you're on a critical care unit, in which case you'll also be required to work nights at most places). NP's can work in places with guarenteed day hours like out patient clinics and community/public health nursing. It's very hard for an RN to get a job at a place like that.
I work in a PICU and our NP's work the same hours as doctors (which is not a good thing if you want consistence and/or day hours).
I'd say definetly become an NP if you're going the route of nursing. Or do pre-med and become a PA- they're essentially the same.
HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD
Keep in mind that all acute care settings (hospitals) provide services 24x7. In these settings, NPs and PAs are used as physician extenders - to provide coverage during times when physicians choose not to be personally available. Therefore, it doesn't take a huge stretch of imagination to realize what the normal 'working' hours would be. Physicians will be working the M-F & daytime hours. NPs who work in clinic settings are much more likely to have 'office' hours because clinics normally do not provide after-hour or weekend services.
Acute care schedules are not flexible. Patient care services must always be available - we can't provide a lower standard of care just because it is 2AM on Sunday. Due to very rigid productivity requirements, direct care provider schedules are tightly controlled. It makes me very sad to say this, but if your goal is to be a highly involved parent, it may not be compatible with a nursing career.
BloomNurseRN, ASN, BSN, RN
I work in a primary care/clinic setting and we have many NPs. I thought I wanted to be a CNM until I learned the malpractice rates and have seen the set hours of the NPs in our office. Made me realize I want to be an FNP in a family practice. Good to get some experience in multiple settings to see what's going to be the best for you. Good luck!
poppycat, ADN, BSN
It seems like all the responders missed the part about the OP wanting to be a NEONATAL NP. NNP's usually don't work outside the hospital. They work in NICU. They take 24 hour call so during that time they stay at the hospital. There is no such thing as a NNP having "office hours".
In order to be accepted into NNP programs, you usually have to have several years experience as a NICU nurse.
It seems like all the responders missed the part about the OP wanting to be a NEONATAL NP. NNP's usually don't work outside the hospital. They work in NICU. They take 24 hour call so during that time they stay at the hospital. There is no such thing as a NNP having "office hours".In order to be accepted into NNP programs, you usually have to have several years experience as a NICU nurse.
Actually I didn't miss that part at all. I made it clear that I understand that's what she wants to do NOW. After getting through school and getting some experience, her perspective could change. That was my point. I thought I wanted to be a CNM but now that's at the lower end of my priorities. By the time she's done with school and gets a job, she may have found a new passion or decided the regular schedule meant more than being a neonatal NP. Just something to think about.
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