Why I Like Being a Nurse Practitioner and You Should Become One

I am thrilled I chose a career as a nurse practitioner and recommend it to almost everyone!  My career provides me a flexible schedule, an interesting and challenging workday and a pretty good paycheck...all with just two years of schooling following my bachelor's degree.  

As a nurse practitioner, I have worked in Family Practice, Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine.  One of my favorite things about being a nurse practitioner is the flexibility the career provides.  I am not tied to one type of practice or specialty.  As a certified Family Nurse Practitioner, I am free to practice in specialty clinics, primary care clinics and in the hospital setting.  When I no longer feel challenged by my work or my interest in a certain area wanes, I can move on.  

The nurse practitioner career also allows me freedom with my schedule.  Most jobs I have held have rather unconventional scheduling.  Some clinics have allowed me to work just four weekday shifts to be considered full-time while others have scheduled three, twelve hour workdays (my favorite!).  Whether you are seeking flexibility to raise children, work a second job, travel or just have some free time, you should be able to find a work environment as a nurse practitioner that fits your scheduling needs.

Nurse practitioners are paid very well, especially for the amount of schooling they receive.  The median salary for nurse practitioners in the United States is $90,600.  With the right job, you can earn well over $100,000. To personally earn such a salary, I completed just a two-year accelerated program following my bachelor's degree.  I can't think of another career with such a high starting salary in return for so little schooling.

Finally, I enjoy working as a nurse practitioner for the challenge of continued learning.  I cannot imagine sitting behind a desk for eight hours each day doing mundane paperwork.  My job is active.  No two days are exactly alike.  I learn more everyday.  When I don't know how to diagnose a certain problem I do further research- I am constantly learning.

If you have an interest in healthcare and especially if you are a nurse, the nurse practitioner profession might be ther perfect fit for you.  It is a growing field with endless opportunities for all different areas of interest. Have questions about becoming a nurse practitioner?  I would love to help- simply comment below. 

Comments

Hello! 

Yes, if you have a PhD in microbiology you may apply to direct entry programs. You will need to complete necessary prerequisite courses and other application requirements. 

As far as H1b visa sponsorship, there are healthcare employers that hire nurse practitioners requiring sponsorship. Flexibility as far as where you live etc. is helpful when looking for a job with sponsorship as not every employer will be willing to do this. 

Erin Tolbert

Hi Erin,

I am PhD student in Microbiology. I want to change my career to nursing. I do not have any clinical background, can I still apply for direct entry MSN programs? I have one more query, being an international student, I will need visa sponsorship to work in US after I graduate. Do you know if NPs are hired with H1b visa sponsorship?

Anonymous

 Do you feel like being a nurse is completely different than being an NP? I really dislike nursing right now but from what I have seen shadowing Nurse Practitioners they do function very differently. I just don't know what to expect and do not want to start a graduate program if they really are similar because then it is definitely not the field for me. Second, would you say it is important to have nursing experience prior to enrolling in an NP program? Since there are bridge programs out there, and considering I was just accepted to an amazing NP program with only having clinical experience from my undergrad, I was wondering if you think it is highly beneficial or not. I hope to hear from you soon!

Shiran Simon

Hi Gabrielle, 

To answer your questions: 

  1. Yes, there are other programs similar to Vandy's where you can get your RN and NP all in the same, fast-paced program. 
  2. Working with cuts/injuries is not necessary in all clinical settings. For example, if you worked in psychiatry, you would not be treating these types of problems. Family practice does deal with some blood etc., but not on the same scale as other settings like the emergency department. So, overall, it is not a necessity. You may also find you get used to it with time. 

I hope this helps! 

Erin Tolbert

Hi Erin! I really respect you being so helpful as we consider NP. I just want to be sure I have the correct understanding -- I have a BA in Physics, and I'm really seriously considering being a NP due to the requirement to problem solve, flexible schedule, many speciality opportunities, and people interaction. So There are bridge programs that I can attend that will be similar to Vandy's in that I can get my RN then NP all in the same quickly paced program? Also, I'm unsure about my ability to really interact with big cuts and injuries. Is this a necessity?

Gabrielle

Hi Kerry, 

Here is the list of accelerated NP programs I am aware of.  Hope this helps!

Erin Tolbert

Please can you tell me if there is a two year bridge program from a BA degree to a Nurse practitioner in New York City or the surrounding areas....or my other option is in Chicago?

I have a Masters as a Mental health Counselor and I would love to be able to prescribe medication but I can not find any 2 year Nurse practitioner Bridge program either in NYC (or surrounding areas) nor in Chicago (where i plan to move in a couple years).

Anyone know of any?? Please any help is appreciated!

Also do we need all the science prerequisites? I am hoping not!

Thank you again!
Kerry

Kerry Donelli

Hello, my name is Lola! I am just beginning college and am unsure as to whether I should be a NP or a PA. I was wondering how difficult the classes were to become a nurse. Becoming a PA involves Chemistry classes which I am not very good at. Were the classes you took to be a NP extremely difficult? I am also worried about getting admitted into the college of Nursing which many claim is very difficult and highly competitive. I hope you can help with this matter.

Lola

Hi Robin, 

Thanks for reaching out!

I would agree with your thinking. If you want to do missions, and also mental health, an FNP degree will be your most flexible option. You may also consider a dual FNP/PMHNP degree. 

As far as your NP program, this blog post, How to Become a Nurse Practitioner Without Nursing Experience, will help you evaluate your path. 

Good luck!

Erin Tolbert

Hi Erin!

I am a healthcare worker/non-nurse. I am researching/considering direct entry nurse practitioner programs or an accelerated BSN and then a masters. All of the options are a little overwhelming!

I am very interested in medical mission work and also, separately, mental health. From what I have read here FNP would be the best option....that I would be very marketable to employers and could work in general medicine with various age groups and do some very limited work in mental health as well.

Are there options that I should be considering? Any advice?

Thank you in advance for allowing me to benefit from your knowledge/experience!

Robin

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