Dear Nurse Beth,
I am active duty in the military serving as a RN with BSN. I have been a nurse for 4 years: 1.5 years medsurg ward, 1 year PACU/APU, and 1.5 ER. Typically as nurse in my branch in the military, the more senior you become, the less you are at the bedside (if at all), unless you are a Nurse Practitioner, CRNA, or OR nurse. I know that I want to remain at the bedside. Strategically (in terms of my future promotions and remaining in the military), at my 6 year mark, I will need to decide if I want to pursue becoming an FNP/CNS/ACNP or if I would take one last tour as an RN and then get out and join the civilian world, continuing as an RN until I feel ready to start pursuing a Nurse Practitioner degree.
I enjoy being an RN, and I know in the future I will enjoy being a Nurse Practitioner. My uncertainty comes though when I consider, "Am I being forced to "grow-up" too fast?" in terms of being a nurse.
I am seeking advice from you: when did you know it was time to transition from being an RN to a Nurse Practitioner? What factors helped you decide when it was time to go back to school?
Dear Am I Ready,
It's individual- but at 4 years, you are at a good point to return to school. You can continue clinical practice while you're in school, which takes you forward a couple more years.
If you opt for NP, just know that while your RN experience is valuable...it's a new role entirely and you don't need years and years of being an RN to succeed as an NP.
Finally- if the military will help with your school costs, go for it