Work while in school for NP?? Possible??

Specialties NP


I am ready to start back to school and the way that our university has the program arranged "supposedly" allows for full-time nurses to successfully attend school. I was wondering if any of you were able to work full-time/near full-time hours while you were going to school to be a NP?


76 Posts

I'm not sure. But I know that in PA school, the students are strongly discouraged from doing any kind of part-time job. But lets see what the experts say.

By the way, I'm from East Texas too!



413 Posts

I worked full-time weekends (Friday, Sat, Sun 12hour) while I was in NP school. You have to be organized and committed, and be ready to have not much of a social life but it can be done!


76 Posts

I guess it is really hard.


Im in my first semester of NP school, which is all online, except for clinicals. Right now Im working full time (M-F, 8-5), and its ROUGH. All the reading, papers you have to write, projects, etc is rough to handle while working full time. As of July 4, I will be going to weekends only. I got my first paper back this week and even though I made a B on it, I feel that I could have done a better job, had I had more time to work on it. Keep in mind this is not a true practitioner course, this is one that everyone in the Master's program has to take, no matter what track they are in.

Will working weekends for the next 3 yrs be a pain?, yes, but I will have Mon-Fri to work on school, and I can always pick up a day or two of work here and there during the week if i want to.


452 Posts

I taught in an NP program and almost all my students worked. I heard complaints all the time that I was demanding too much, covering too much and I should understand their family and work situations. This drove me nuts.

One of the subjects I taught was pharmacology. Now, in all honesty, if you can prescribe drugs, you can kill people. I had one semester to give the whole truckload to them. Being superficial in my treatment of this subject would have done no one any favors.

If you must work while in school, make sure you are in control of your schedule. There will be times around exams when you will need to forget about work and focus intensely upon study, it's just that simple.


383 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care - Cardiology.

CardioTrans - What about working a "traditional" hospital nursing position working 3 12's... where you have 3-4 days off during the week? Do you think that would help manage the load?? What are you finding is the most time consuming part of the program? Projects/assignments or just simply studying the material?

Tulip - From an instructor's point of view, do you think it is feasible to work while going to school? What do you think about the 3 12's while in school?

lalaxton - Thanks for the insight. I guess I could just work weekends like you did... and CardioTrans is doing if need be.

Also - do you think that working in the beginning is okay?? Cardiotrans... I am not looking at your post right now, but you said you are still in the beginning of your program didn't you? The program I hope to be doing is actually a RN-MSN program where I get my BSN/MSN concurrently. I added it up today and the total hours from NOW until I have a NP degree is 100 hours. EEK!!

Another question... When you have completed your NP degree, what do you have?? Just "MSN-NP?" No specialty right?? You have to get that as a separate post-master's certificate dont you??

(BTW: Thanks for all the info from everybody... keep it coming!! :))

Specializes in ICU, ER, HH, NICU, now FNP.

If you are planning fulltime credit hours, I would suggest NOT working. Strongly...more than strongly. Many people who started out working have scaled back or quit altogether and taken out student loans or other financial aid. We had a couple classmates who HAD to work because they were the primary breadwinners or benefit carriers for their familes - only one of those 4 is still with us.

If you can work prn where you tell your employer when you can/will work AND have the ability to make some changes even within days of being scheduled you MIGHT be able to do it.

If you are taking part time credit hours and working, that is generally doable until you get into heavy clinicals. At that point you may need to reconsider.

btw...student loans are more readily available for grad students, and you get more money. There are also scholarships and funding available through the NIH and other organizations.

if you dont qualify for any of that but you either own a home or have a co-signer you can go to and get student funding there.

Good Luck!

Specializes in ICU, ER, HH, NICU, now FNP.

Oh - as for waht you have when you finsish school - that depends on the school, in some places it is MS, some it is MSN, but then you take a specialty exam in the specialty you took in school to be certified in that specialty and then Texas licensure denotes you as an NP following graduation and pplication for license with your MS or MSN - clear as mud huh.


1,711 Posts

Another question... When you have completed your NP degree, what do you have?? Just "MSN-NP?" No specialty right?? You have to get that as a separate post-master's certificate dont you??

No. You declare your specialty before you begin the program. For example, when I finish, I will be an NNP. If I want to practice in another specialty (FNP for example), THEN I would need a post-master's certificate, but not for the specialty I declared when entering the program.

Actually, if you want to be technical, I will have an MSN upon finishing the program and that is it. I will become an NNP when I pass the certification exam. BUT, it is the MSN program in my declared specialty that qualifies me for the certification exam. Clear as mud? :)


The program Im in is an MSN program, with the focus area as Family Nurse Practitioner. When I finish the program I will be able to take the national certification exam, as someone else said.

I chose to do the FNP track to work in smaller towns/cities, and also it is somewhat more "marketable". Whereas if I chose to do adult nurse practitioner, I could only work with adults, or pediatric np, I could only work with peds. With an FNP, I can see both.

The most time consuming part of the class Im taking now........... the reading material. At least 2 chapters a wk, consisting of at least 100 pages per chapter. Then add in the notes that the instructors add in. This class is "Advanced Practice Nursing Roles and Issues". Everyone that is in the MSN program has to take this class. There are practitioner students in the neonatal, peds, adult and family track, nursing admin, and educ all in this class. I think there are 52 of us total. My particular school, everyone has to take all the "core" classes first before taking their "specialty" classes. Im going part time, so my core classes will last until Dec 06, then Jan 07 I begin my specialty classes and clinicals. 3 semesters of 1day/wk, then 1 semester of 4 days/wk of clinicals, in addition to the course.

Would I recommend full time study and work.......... no way. Working 3-12's and full time study....... no way. Part-time school if working at all.

Luckily for me, the weekend position that Im taking is considered full time, but I will only work Sat and Sun, and get pd for 40 hrs with all the full time benefits. Unfortunately, my mortgage company and my kids require that I work. I also have to carry the medical/dental insurance because my hubby owns his own business.

You have to keep in mind, that even though with full time study, you may only take 2 classes, those 2 classes are so completely different than classes for your ADN or BSN. In grad school, you are have a higher expectation from the school and the instuctors. The classes are harder, are more involved, and require much more time. Tons of research, reading, professional or "scholarly" writing, etc. Im not trying to scare you or dishearten you by any means. I just wanted you to know the "truth of the beast" if you will.

There are tons of scholarships available, like someone else said. Luckily, the school that Im attending has payment plans. You start classes, 1 month after class starts, you pay 50% of tuition, month after that, you pay the balance. So it works well for me, and hopefully by the end of the program, I wont owe any loans or owe any time back to an employer.

Good luck to you, and hope all this helps. Feel free to ask more questions :)


15 Posts

you take a specialty track in school, but the state (of Texas anyway) only recognizes that specialty if you pass the specialty certification exam :)

If you want additional specialties, then you go back for more school and take more cert exams

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