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RN vs NP Quality of Life

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by dana16 dana16 (New Member) New Member

108 Visitors; 9 Posts

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I'm wondering how NP's feel about their overall quality of life compared to when they were RN's? Stress level, liability, pay, work/life balance, job satisfaction, schedule (is it hard to go from three 12 hour days to 5 days if you work in a clinic setting with that schedule?), etc.  Thanks!

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

14 Followers; 130 Articles; 185,769 Visitors; 20,654 Posts

My quality of life has improved tremendously. I have a far more flexible schedule and much more autonomy.

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Dodongo has 7 years experience as a APRN, NP.

2 Followers; 10,298 Visitors; 722 Posts

I work for a surgical specialty.  It's more time and far more stress, but it's more autonomy, more money, more cerebral and more rewarding than being a RN.  So I think my QOL has dramatically improved.  

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2 Followers; 5,723 Visitors; 965 Posts

Dramatic improvement here. The stress level I perceive is actually lower, mostly because I have more control.

Much more respect.

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djmatte has 7 years experience as a ADN, MSN, RN, NP and works as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

2 Followers; 6,661 Visitors; 700 Posts

Most of my answer depends on what aspect of nursing we're comparing to and how we interpret quality of life.  Compared to my years as a pre-op/pacu RN, it's a vast improvement because my role as a provider is more respected and I feel like I'm doing much more with my head than feeling like an assembly line worker who's working a shift that I have little control over.  It is a different kind of stress though as I am making decisions on my knowledge vs relying on hospital roles and guidelines /no to say there aren't guidelines I use now).

Compared to my job as an in patient pain service RN, of say my quality of life is probably reduced.  But that was a vs job with tons of leave and flexibility.  I also created that position and ran it exactly how I wanted it and had the ability to direct it where I felt it needed to go in terms of procedures, policies, and rounding. 

In my current role, I feel a good mix of what I've done in the past where I have an expectation to be there Monday through Friday on a shift, but the flexibility to treat patients and create schedules where I see fit.  Ultimately it's like to go into my own practice, but just waiting for either conditions or my state to change.

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4,040 Visitors; 149 Posts

My stress is so much better as a NP all around.   Better hours, better work/life balance, better money,  still a little stress (which I think a little is healthy) 

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1 hour ago, Rnis said:

My stress is so much better as a NP all around.   Better hours, better work/life balance, better money,  still a little stress (which I think a little is healthy) 

Was it hard for anyone to adjust to having two days off instead of four if you went from hospital to clinic?

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

14 Followers; 130 Articles; 185,769 Visitors; 20,654 Posts

No not really - I have a very flexible schedule so I'm able to take off  when I need to for appts. 

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Dodongo has 7 years experience as a APRN, NP.

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5 hours ago, dana16 said:

Was it hard for anyone to adjust to having two days off instead of four if you went from hospital to clinic?

When I was in school, I did clinical full-time, so my preceptor's schedule was my schedule.  I feel that gave me a great expectation of what to expect, so no.

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4,040 Visitors; 149 Posts

9 hours ago, dana16 said:

Was it hard for anyone to adjust to having two days off instead of four if you went from hospital to clinic?

No,  at least where I work if you are full time, you still get 1/2 day off a week.   some people have a .9 FTE and  only work 4 days a week. 

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babyNP. has 10 years experience.

2 Followers; 26,714 Visitors; 1,719 Posts

My perspective as a neonatal NP-

I work 6-7 24 hour shifts a month. Most of the time I get to sleep on some of those shifts, although there are outliers when I am up all night. My lifestyle is much better than it was as a RN, although this is partially because I am a bit of an introvert (which if you knew me, sounds silly as I told one of my colleagues the other day who did not believe me). As a hospital based RN, you're always "on" meaning the patient's alarms might ring at any moment in time, the parents can (and definitely should if they desire) be at the bedside all the time, and you have to ask permission/tell someone when you go to the bathroom (to watch your patient's alarms). 

It was a huge mental/emotional load off of me realizing that I did not have to do any of those things anymore. Of course I still talk to the parents (and I love doing it!), but I don't have to be with them for my entire shift, which can be draining. 

Liability is definitely a stressor as you are "in charge" but I take comfort in that I have a neonatologist as back up who can I ask anytime any day or night for questions, who will also come in-house without question. I'm fortunate enough to have an extensive background in Level IV NICUs, so when I go to the bread and butter of community Level III NICUs, there's not much that I haven't already seen before. I have no ego when it comes to calling the neo- we work in collaboration. My one glaring weakness was deliveries (most Level IVs do not do deliveries), so I signed up to be an NRP instructor, figuring if I have to teach the class, I'll really know my stuff. So far it has worked out well. 

Pay is also excellent as I nearly make double as I did a RN, definitely with overtime (but...the caveat here is that I became a NP at 6 years of RN experience, the change would not have been as much than if I had started out with say 20 years of RN experience). 

All in all, this is my dream job. I have very little to complain about. I even feel like I get to effect change moreso than as a RN. For whatever reason, there seems to be less bureaucracy. When I suggest a change or create something on EPIC like a smart phrase for billing for deliveries, it's generally accepted well. I just created an electronic rounding tool with an EPIC IT analyst that will save us 1-2 hours each morning on pre-rounding. It's immensely satisfying to see real change in action. 

Keep reading, keep researching. Really reflect what you would like to do/what you want out of life. Look at your return on investment when considering the cost of school (I took out $60k but was worth it for me and knew my investment would pay back). There are so many different types of NPs in so many different types of settings. Keep in mind that you also may need to be flexible in terms of location at first as well. I moved across the country for my RN job for an "adventure" at age 22 and then moved to a less desirable part of the country when I was age 28, but it turned out to be a phenomenal experience for me as a new NP. I now work in my desired location. Coming to the group with experience rather than a new grad gave me more confidence to speak up about making change as well. 

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CastiMcNasti works as a Student.

777 Visitors; 138 Posts

On 4/14/2019 at 4:54 PM, babyNP. said:

My perspective as a neonatal NP-

I work 6-7 24 hour shifts a month. Most of the time I get to sleep on some of those shifts, although there are outliers when I am up all night. My lifestyle is much better than it was as a RN, although this is partially because I am a bit of an introvert (which if you knew me, sounds silly as I told one of my colleagues the other day who did not believe me). As a hospital based RN, you're always "on" meaning the patient's alarms might ring at any moment in time, the parents can (and definitely should if they desire) be at the bedside all the time, and you have to ask permission/tell someone when you go to the bathroom (to watch your patient's alarms). 

It was a huge mental/emotional load off of me realizing that I did not have to do any of those things anymore. Of course I still talk to the parents (and I love doing it!), but I don't have to be with them for my entire shift, which can be draining. 

Liability is definitely a stressor as you are "in charge" but I take comfort in that I have a neonatologist as back up who can I ask anytime any day or night for questions, who will also come in-house without question. I'm fortunate enough to have an extensive background in Level IV NICUs, so when I go to the bread and butter of community Level III NICUs, there's not much that I haven't already seen before. I have no ego when it comes to calling the neo- we work in collaboration. My one glaring weakness was deliveries (most Level IVs do not do deliveries), so I signed up to be an NRP instructor, figuring if I have to teach the class, I'll really know my stuff. So far it has worked out well. 

Pay is also excellent as I nearly make double as I did a RN, definitely with overtime (but...the caveat here is that I became a NP at 6 years of RN experience, the change would not have been as much than if I had started out with say 20 years of RN experience). 

All in all, this is my dream job. I have very little to complain about. I even feel like I get to effect change moreso than as a RN. For whatever reason, there seems to be less bureaucracy. When I suggest a change or create something on EPIC like a smart phrase for billing for deliveries, it's generally accepted well. I just created an electronic rounding tool with an EPIC IT analyst that will save us 1-2 hours each morning on pre-rounding. It's immensely satisfying to see real change in action. 

Keep reading, keep researching. Really reflect what you would like to do/what you want out of life. Look at your return on investment when considering the cost of school (I took out $60k but was worth it for me and knew my investment would pay back). There are so many different types of NPs in so many different types of settings. Keep in mind that you also may need to be flexible in terms of location at first as well. I moved across the country for my RN job for an "adventure" at age 22 and then moved to a less desirable part of the country when I was age 28, but it turned out to be a phenomenal experience for me as a new NP. I now work in my desired location. Coming to the group with experience rather than a new grad gave me more confidence to speak up about making change as well. 

My goal is to become a NICU RN and eventually a Neonatal NP.  I am glad to hear you are really enjoying being a NNP.  Makes me feel more comfortable with my goals. 🙂

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