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Working 5-8 hr days during NP school...


Has 25 years experience.

Hi all- I recently switched my concentration in grad school from education to the NP option. I have done a lot of soul searching, praying and observing. I am pretty certain this is the exact path I am supposed to be taking.

However, I currently work in a 5 day position that I really like. I have been in this position for most of my RN career.

I would like to try and stay in this job for as long as possible because of my lengthy seniority and benefits. Since I really enjoy this RN role, it will truly be hard to leave it, but I have gone as far as I can ever go in this role, and I have always wanted to move upwards.

Can anybody reflect on your work experience during NP training, and if you worked a 4-5 day position? i MAY have an option to drop to 3 ten hour days which will keep me in my benefits, so that may be an option down the road.

I have been told by the dean of my program that working full-time is very do-able up until the last two semesters, which are SUPER heavy with day-time clinical...

I would agree with your dean, but it ultimately depends on the person. I myself, worked full time (5 days a week)up until the last 2 semesters. until then, I did not go on any vacations, and used vacation time to get in extra studying and what not. I think it is do-able until that very last chunk of clinical.

I will also tell you, it was not easy.. I am glad I did it the way I did , but not without tears of frustration, stress galore, and even a few all nighters studying for tests.

Ultimately only you know what you can handle, and what you're willing to deal with stress/time wise. If you think you can, I say go for it!

Good luck! Let us know what you decide : )


Specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L. Has 13 years experience.

The biggest issue is...when will you do clinicals?


Has 25 years experience.

In my program, there are very few classes that involve a clinical component, until the last two semesters. Up until that point, the classes are all offered in evenings or online

During the last two semesters, there are MANY hours each semester of clinical time, and some of those hours are completed at night or on the weekend depending on where your preceptor is in practice. From everyone I have talked with, most students are looking at two FULL days with a preceptor each week, a few weekends at the walk-in clinics, and some students use PTO from their 'day jobs' to take off a week or more and do as many hours as possible in that time.


Specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L. Has 13 years experience.

You only have 2 classes with clinicals? How many hours of clinicals are they cramming into 2 semesters?


Specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L. Has 13 years experience.

I can tell you I have 4 classes with clinicals and 99.9% of my clinical time has had to be during the week and during the day. There were no other options.

So working a "normal" job can be almost impossible.

honeykrown, MSN, NP

Specializes in family practice.

I lai worked full time till the last 2-3 semesters of school. I changed from 3 12hrs to 5 8hrs. It was a desk job for RN so I wasn't so tired to go home and study. I wanted to work part time (I am rural so my hospital did not offer part time he) so I went to clinicals full time. 2days in peds 2 days in adult and so on.

If u wanted to do prt time work and prt time clinical u might be in clinical a long time. I was able to finish my clinical in 5-6months full time


Has 25 years experience.

my program offers almost all of the classes in the evenings, and builds in necessary clinical hours. as i said, the final two semesters are HEAVY, and consist of 8 credits each semester, including 240 clinical hours. i know it is heavy. right now i'm working 5-8s, would prefer to drop to 4-8s, and then during that last year, drop even further.

my biggest obstacle is that i must carry health benefits for my two kids. my husband's job offers benefits for him only. i still need to do some research and find out what is the bare minimum i must work to keep some benefits. one of my children has a chronic condition that requires pretty expensive meds. i would never want to let our coverage lapse...

PrettyWingsFNP, BSN, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Hi, I worked a mon-fri 8:30-5 job as an outpt nurse case manager throughout NP school. I did my NP program part time, in 3 years. The first year i worked 5 days with no problem. Second year I asked to switch to mon-thurs, 10 hour days. I wrote a proposal to my employer about how i thought earlier and later clinic hours would be beneficial to our patient population and it was approved. Once clinicals started (second semester of 2nd year), I did all of my clinical hours on my day off, and took a few PTO days to complete my hours by the end of the semester. Third year however, i had to be in clinical at least 2 days a week in order to complete the minimum hours for the semester. So I cut back to 3 10's a week and used all the PTO I saved--I eventually ran out. My school also permitted us to do clinical hours over fall, winter, and spring break--which I took full advantage of. I was basically in clinical every week for 1.5 years straight--I didn't go home for holidays, I was the only student in clinical on Black Friday, day after Christmas, etc. This was mentally exhausting--when my classmates were on summer or winter break, I kept doing clinicals. Also, one of clinicals had Saturday hours which I did as well. (Yes this means I was at work or in clinical 6 days a week). With this schedule, I was able to just barely get in enough hours to move through my program, but had a ton to "catch up" during my last semester. At that point (my last 3 months) I stopped working all together and started clinical 5 days/week in order to graduate on time. This worked out great for me. It allowed me to continue working the mon-fri RN job that I loved!

Sooo, it can be done! But you have to be creative with your schedule and plan ahead. I worked out this schedule well in advance. I printed a calendar and counted everything out. I knew exactly how many PTO days I would need once I cut back to 3 10's in order to continue bringing home a full paycheck. I started "saving" my PTO hours during my first year--ie no vacations or days off. I also knew I would likely need to take time off towards the end to finish and purposely saved some $$. Good luck!

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 25 years experience.

I worked fulltime throughout my program. I did clinicals on my vacation days and didn't have other vacation for 4 years while I did it part time. I also did most of my clinicals in critical care so I was able to schedule nights and weekend clinicals to fit around my Mon-Fri job. It was hard but had to be done.