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NP or RN: career dilemma

Posted

So I graduated from a direct entry primary care pediatric nurse practitioner program and have been working as a PNP for just over 2 years now. I really enjoyed it at first, but in the past couple months it's been nagging at me that I really want to do inpatient nursing.

When I had first applied to nursing school (after completing my BA in biology), I had no idea what I was really applying for. I honestly thought I "had" to get my masters since I already had a bachelors.

I feel like it would be a "backwards move" if I tried to work as an RN but the work of the two are just so different. Has anyone ever gotten their NP only to work as an RN instead? I don't have any paid inpatient or hospital RN experience, would I be able to apply to new grad programs? Or should I consider a post masters certificate for acute care PNP?

Edited by amalay

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

So I graduated from a direct entry primary care pediatric nurse practitioner program and have been working as a PNP for just over 2 years now. I really enjoyed it at first, but in the past couple months it's been nagging at me that I really want to do inpatient nursing.

When I had first applied to nursing school (after completing my BA in biology), I had no idea what I was really applying for. I honestly thought I "had" to get my masters since I already had a bachelors.

I feel like it would be a "backwards move" if I tried to work as an RN but the work of the two are just so different. Has anyone ever gotten their NP only to work as an RN instead? I don't have any paid inpatient or hospital RN experience, would I be able to apply to new grad programs? Or should I consider a post masters certificate for acute care PNP?

Experience at the bedside can only improve your practice as an NP. Even if you hadn't asked the question, I would be advising you that you need bedside experience. And yes, I've seen master's prepared NPs work at the bedside. Many NPs have correctly assessed that they don't know enough/have enough experience to succeed in the provider role. I know several who have worked in my ICU for two years, then looked for NP positions. In every case, they were happy for the experience, learned a lot and felt that it improved their practice as providers. In two cases, they came back to work at the bedside after discovering that they really didn't like the NP role, and one colleague who worked at the bedside for 12 years before becoming an NP is now looking for a bedside role again.

Experience at the bedside can only improve your practice as an NP. Even if you hadn't asked the question, I would be advising you that you need bedside experience. And yes, I've seen master's prepared NPs work at the bedside. Many NPs have correctly assessed that they don't know enough/have enough experience to succeed in the provider role. I know several who have worked in my ICU for two years, then looked for NP positions. In every case, they were happy for the experience, learned a lot and felt that it improved their practice as providers. In two cases, they came back to work at the bedside after discovering that they really didn't like the NP role, and one colleague who worked at the bedside for 12 years before becoming an NP is now looking for a bedside role again.

Do you think I stand a chance to simply apply to RN jobs and leave my NP work experience on the resume? Or would I qualify for new grad RN positions if I don't have any inpatient experience?

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

I'm thinking a new grad position is going to be difficult to get if you've been working as an NP. But the new grad position is a fairly recent development. You can still get a good job with a great orientation from places that have no new grad program. I'm not sure what to do with your resume -- others have better advice about things like that. But in your interview you talk about how you chose your program without knowing for sure what you were getting into and discuss that you can see the benefits of having experience at the bedside before continuing as an NP. Emphasize that you think you need a solid 2-5 years of experience (even if you think that's way more than you need -- the goal here is to get hired.)

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.