ready to drop out of FNP program

  1. I'm so burned out, frustrated and ready to quit! I am in my second year of my FNP program and hate it! We have a new clinical advisor and the program is so disorganised....we were told our class schedule a WEEK before the term started and most of us are working as well. Needless to say, I was already scheduled to work on the first day of labs/classes because we were not told ahead of time what days of the week classes would be held. Then this week I went to my labs feeling totally confused and unprepared. (Part of this may have been due to the fact that that lab day was my first day off after working five 12's in a row!) I felt like and probably looked like a total idiot. I have always been a good student before, but trying to juggle working full time, studying and attending classes seems impossible to me. Plus, the last week one instructor said "I hope you're not planning on making a lot of money in this business, cause you would make more doing travel nursing." She said to plan on bringing home $30/hr. I've worked in an urgent care clinic before and know I don't want to do that kind of work - the NP's cranked out 1 or 2 pt's every 15 minutes because they had to show high productivity. I am more interested in a rural setting where I can have an ongoing relationship with patients and feel I am making a difference. But now I wonder why I am going through all this stress, hassle and expense to make less than I currently make as an RN. I just want to cry. I need some encouragement!!! Please tell me this is worth it?
    Last edit by lannisz on Oct 13, '06
  2. Visit lannisz profile page

    About lannisz

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 265; Likes: 18
    Family Nurse Practitioner/Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in primary care, pediatrics, OB/GYN, NICU

    28 Comments

  3. by   prairienp
    Quote from zias
    i'm so burned out, frustrated and ready to quit! i am in my second year of my fnp program and hate it! we have a new clinical advisor and the program is so disorganised....we were told our class schedule a week before the term started and most of us are working as well. needless to say, i was already scheduled to work on the first day of labs/classes because we were not told ahead of time what days of the week classes would be held. then this week i went to my labs feeling totally confused and unprepared. (part of this may have been due to the fact that that lab day was my first day off after working five 12's in a row!) i felt like and probably looked like a total idiot. i have always been a good student before, but trying to juggle working full time, studying and attending classes seems impossible to me. plus, the last week one instructor said "i hope you're not planning on making a lot of money in this business, cause you would make more doing travel nursing." she said to plan on bringing home $30/hr. i've worked in an urgent care clinic before and know i don't want to do that kind of work - the np's cranked out 1 or 2 pt's every 15 minutes because they had to show high productivity. i am more interested in a rural setting where i can have an ongoing relationship with patients and feel i am making a difference. but now i wonder why i am going through all this stress, hassle and expense to make less than i currently make as an rn. i just want to cry. i need some encouragement!!! please tell me this is worth it?
    when you started the np program didn't the faculty warn you about working and graduate school? i agree, working full time and going to graduate school is impossible, how can you possibly learn much less stay awake. working 5 12s in a row isn't safe for patients and clearly won't allow you to expand your education. if you want to gain satisfaction from your educational studies you will need to reduce your work hours. we were always told to study 4 hours/week for every credit taken in graduate school. i can tell you, once you are a np the work is rewarding (i don't mean $$$$). the real $$$ in nursing is crna, the np rewards are those warm fuzzies from patients/families, like the mastercard commercials "priceless"
  4. by   fuegorama
    Hi-
    I am sorry you are having such a tough start. Welcome to the mythical world of APN. You are promised the world, but as your post clearly demonstrates, you have not been given the tools to achieve your goals.

    Learning the practice of medicine takes tremendous dedication. A decent program is terribly difficult while working part time much less while doing a full time gig. I'm sure part of the appeal of the program was the ability to work and learn simultaneously. The reality is fairly harsh compared to the advertisements.

    Mad kudos for your instructor who is willing to preach some truth. The existence of the FNP is predicated on her cheap wage while 'movin'-the-meat'. Unfortunately, she is correct. There are physicians today, making less than $80,000/yr for greater lifelong sacrifice than what you are going through now.

    Some suggestions:
    1. Float a fat loan. Yep it's financial doom for the short term, but it could mean the diiference b/t your success and failure in the program.

    2. Consider midwifery. You have some L/D experience. Those folks can pull down some $$$ in the right environment. It's great work and the rural demand + $$$ makes it a good fit for what you have described as your frustrations. It is also an honest nursing role.

    3. Drop it all. Think hard. Do the right thing. Go to med school.
    Yes it's long. Yes it's hard. But, American medical education is structured to give you what you need. It will require huge loans, but it can still pay, if you choose wisely. Rural? FP? Osteopathic/Neuromuscular medicine in the primary care arena is in demand and will continue to grow with potential for cash reimbursement.

    You have been lured into a career of false promises with a short cut to independent practice as the carrot. Your current financial and lifestyle reality is the stick. It's a very resilient stick that will come again, and again, and again....

    As a fellow nurse/doc-to-be, I encourage you to bail.
  5. by   zenman
    Quote from fuegorama
    As a fellow nurse/doc-to-be, I encourage you to bail.
    Guess you haven't talked to all the docs who would also love to bail, LOL!
  6. by   gauge14iv
    Pay for NP's is well above 30.00 an hour around Dallas and most of them don't work in urgent care clinics.

    I will admit though that working and grad school is TOUGH, although there are plenty of people who do it. A number of my classmates did it but I chose to quit working my last year in school. Grad programs are about double the work per credit hour in terms of studying and class prep.

    It WILL be worth it because it will be what you make of it.

    There are some bitter folk in every business - some of whom thought things were going to be handed to them once they were an NP. Take what you hear with a grain of salt and consider the source, especially when it comes from those who havn't even been there yet.
  7. by   ERNP
    Oh yeah... I remember the days I was ready to drop out of my FNP program too. I didn't and made it through. I did only work part time the last year. I used student loan money and scaled back my life to the absolutely necessary.

    I also remember my instructors telling me that I could expect to earn 60 - 70K per year. I also remember telling them I wouldn't do it for that money and told them and whoever else was awake in my class that they shouldn't either. They told me good luck. Lucky for me, they were wrong.

    In my opinion, rural is the key.
  8. by   PMFB-RN
    3. Drop it all. Think hard. Do the right thing. Go to med school.


    *** I have seen where you advised this to others. You say it as if the only thing required to get into medical school is the desire to do so. It's not as if a middle aged RN with a great GPA and good work experience would be permitted to enter an American medical school. Maybe a very few. If that were so I would be a doctor by now.
  9. by   gauge14iv
    Yeah that what I was thinking - he is assuming we WANT to be doctors LOL

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo thanks! I love being an NP thank you very much.
  10. by   Papadoc
    Quote from PMFB-RN
    3. Drop it all. Think hard. Do the right thing. Go to med school.


    *** I have seen where you advised this to others. You say it as if the only thing required to get into medical school is the desire to do so. It's not as if a middle aged RN with a great GPA and good work experience would be permitted to enter an American medical school. Maybe a very few. If that were so I would be a doctor by now.
    If you really wanted to go to a medical school then try D.O programs. They favor nontrad applicants a lot. Also don't dismiss Caribbean as an option. schools like SGU, ROSS, SABA, AUC whose graduates can practice in all 50 States will get you there. Schools that are coming along nicely, but no California approval yet (meaning you can't practice there) are MUA Nevis,
    St. Matthews, St.James. Check out www.valuemd.com for more info.
  11. by   gauge14iv
    Hmmmmmmm I had 2 acquaintances who went to foreign medical schools about 15 years ago. Interestingly enough, niether of them are doctors. And they are both still cutting off their arms to pay off huge debts, there are lots of hurdles. One couldn't ever pass the exams, the other's school apparently wasn't well recognized by residency programs so he was never able to get into a residency program.

    We are not all Doctor Wanna Be's. If we were, we woulda gone to med school.
  12. by   traumaRUs
    To the OP - Please don't give up! Okay, I did work full-time through my APN program (Adult health CNS). It can be done. YOu are right - you should know your schedule prior to having to be there. ANyway - I think the advise of taking a loan to help you live might releive some of your stress. I ended up with $50,000 in loans for my BSN/MSN and post-MSN certificate. Ouch! However, once I finished school and passed the exam, the stress was much reduced.

    Hang in there it does get better.

    As to salary - well that depends on a lot of things. I make about $33/hour but I get free health insurance, $1500 in CME, cell phone reimbursement, mileage reimbursement plus about $17,000 for my retirement fund. Plus, I get 4 weeks paid vacation and 10 days sick time.

    In my little rural area, this is very good money and hubby and I live very comfortably.

    As to the naysayers that say "go to med school," I presume that if you had been interested in the medical model, you would have pursued it before this! Not all nurses WANT to be doctors, be they MD, DO or any other type of doctor!

    Please consider stepping back a little with work and either realizing that you are having a bad week (very possible) or that you really made a mistake and shouldn't be an NP (very unlikely).

    Please take care of yourself!
  13. by   PMFB-RN
    [quote=Papadoc]If you really wanted to go to a medical school then try D.O programs.

    *** I am no longer interested in going to medical school. I was at one time, I even applied right after I got out of the army. I even interviewed at 3 schools. One I have no idea why I wasn't accepted, one rejected me becuase of my GPA and MCAt scores (mine were slightly lower than the average of those accepted) and one I know for certain (thanks to the honesty of the program director) I was rejected due to the nature of my army service. Now that I have several docs as friends and fishing/hunting buddies and have worked with many as a nurse I have lost all interest in medical school. My friends who are docs mostly advise me that going to CRNA school would be a much better fit for me, but thanks for the tip.

    They favor nontrad applicants a lot. Also don't dismiss Caribbean as an option. schools like SGU, ROSS, SABA, AUC whose graduates can practice in all 50 States will get you there. Schools that are coming along nicely, but no California approval yet (meaning you can't practice there) are MUA Nevis,
    St. Matthews, St.James. Check out www.valuemd.com for more info.

    *** As I pointed out above the MD/DO life and work style no longer appeal to me. I am now much more interested in advanced practice nursing (CRNA or FNP) as a better fit for my family and I.
    I also now realize that the type of practice I would be interested in (family/general in very rural remote areas) doesn't pay nearly as much as I thought it did. The two CRNAs that work at the local rural hospital make quite a bit more money than the family practice docs (but less than the surgons) at the same hospital.
    There are lots of nurses that have the desire and ability to be great primary care providers as NPs that have zero desire to go to medical school or be docs.
    There are some docs that see advanced practice nurses as threats. This seems silly to me but I have to wonder why none of those docs choose to pratice in the areas (rural/wilderness/inner-city) where NPs are in such demand?
  14. by   lannisz
    Thanks everyone for your replies. I especially appreciate those of you who have responded with encouragement, "hang in there" support and a real understanding about the challenges and rewards of this path... I have no desire to go to med school at this point in my life, I find the holistic nursing model to be a better fit for me. That being said, I hope to get through the next year with my sanity intact!

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