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RN Can't Afford to Work as NP

Nurse Beth   (3,119 Views 2 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

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Dear Nurse Beth,


I am now half way through NP school. I am beginning to worry about pay and job prospects. I am currently a transport nurse and really like my job. I live in Illinois and last year made 115,000 dollars. I am concerned I won't make the same as a new NP and also will no longer get to take care of critically ill patients. Is there a way around this? If I don't practice as an NP immediately will it hurt my future job prospects? Thanks

Dear RN to NP,

As an RN, you are specialized and experienced as a transport nurse. You're earning top pay, as you should. When switching career paths, you start at the bottom of the pay scale again. It's because you are inexperienced at your new role.

As far as working with critically ill patients, NPs can practice in ICU and ED, but it depends on the track you chose.

It's true that the longer you wait to get started, the harder it can be to land an NP job. Some NPs continue to work shifts as an RN to supplement their income when they first start out.

To get to your end goal as an NP, you will have to take the leap.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth



Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

Edited by tnbutterfly

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206 Likes; 2 Followers; 5,526 Visitors; 937 Posts

Nurses considering becoming NPs must consider the big picture before investing a whole bunch of time and money in their education.

Some NP's do get a great increase in earning capacity, but most probably do not.

If you made 115k last year as an RN, it suggests a lot of overtime, for which you will not usually be eligible as an NP.

On the other hand, most NP schedules are Mon-Fri type work, with weekends and holidays off.

I love being an NP. I love the role and the autonomy. The nice schedule is a bonus.

But if I went into it for the money, I would have been supremely disappointed.

And if I liked my RN job and made that type of money, or even close, I would never have pursued the NP.

Not sure what type of advice to offer, except maybe slowing down your program, and take a semester or a year off to regroup.

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