Part time Mental Health NP Program while working full time

  1. I've heard there are part time programs for mental health NP school. Are they doable while working full time? How many years would a typical part time program take?
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    About NightNurse714

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 17; Likes: 1
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    8 Comments

  3. by   Black Coffee
    I am in school for FNP and do it part-time. Going to school part-time allows me to work full time. It is truly busy but I still can manage. However, I anticipate to work minimally next summer due to clinicals.
  4. by   Oldmahubbard
    I did it back in the dark ages, when you had to physically attend classes. It was a long drive. A lot of the time, it was one class a semester, plus one in the summer. Some semesters I took 2 of the easier courses together. Many of the courses are not that difficult.

    Honestly, I got depressed in the middle of it, after an awful experience with a crazy preceptor, and I did nothing for a year. So it took me 5 and a half years.

    Finding a decent preceptor will be the biggest challenge, if you attend the the typical program, which doesn't provide preceptors.

    But yes, schedule wise, it is very doable. Depending on what else you have going on in your life. This is probably not the time to father triplets!

    In fact, I highly recommend working full time in psych, while attending school part-time. You will need the experience, because school is not going to show you how to be a Psych NP.

    Get that thought right out of your head!You are going to have to make a bunch of extra effort, to make the information your own.

    The people I know who went to NP school full time, without a partner to support them, and borrowed 2 years of living expenses, plus tuition, are still not even close to being out of debt 15 years later.

    And some of them are cursing becoming an NP.

    So the answer, depending on a lot of factors- your energy level, the school schedule, and no big bumps in your road- is about four years.
  5. by   NightNurse714
    Thank you very much for your input. Are they cursing becoming NP's only because of the debt? Or any other reasons? Do people see flaws in psych NP as opposed to psych RN?
  6. by   Oldmahubbard
    There are people who don't make enough to make the degree, and the added responsibility, pay off.

    Some don't like the productivity expectations, ie 3 patients an hour, to make a living.

    Many get tired of being expected to hand out a lot of benzo's and stimulants.

    Some get tired of the drug users and disability seekers.

    Some get tired of being asked to medicate away adverse psychosocial circumstances, also known as poverty.

    Again , all of that is even harder to take when you make 100k, and the nurse administrator with a 2 year degree makes 90k.
  7. by   GeminiNurse29
    Just gotta add that NP authority varies by state so check with your state board. Some states allow autonomy, some need a physician oversight.
  8. by   Oldmahubbard
    Quote from GeminiNurse29
    Just gotta add that NP authority varies by state so check with your state board. Some states allow autonomy, some need a physician oversight.
    Right, and this can be an enormous PIA.
  9. by   NightNurse714
    California seems to make the progression from RN to NP worth it in the psychiatric field. It appears there is plenty of work and much autonomy.
  10. by   oceanblue52
    RN here that works in outpatient community health, and am interested in becoming an NP. Your statement about trying to cure psychosocial issues via medication is close to heart. Very difficult and takes a lot of skill for a provider to separate the issues and medicate accordingly.

    Some community health centers do really well with Care Coordination between therapists, case managers, navigation, benefit specialists, nurses, and providers, and crucial to managing this issue. New NPs should inquire about availability of these services before accepting a job.

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