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. 


Thank you for this blog. I have been interested in a graduate nursing program for a while. I have been attempting to research information on the NP route. This post has made me consider applying to a practitioner program!

- Desiree

Loved your post! I am an SLP and am thinking about heading back to school to an accelerated BSN program and then to an NP program. I have been an SLP for about 7 years and everyone said it would be a lifetime career. However, I have had harder and harder time getting jobs because I feel our field is oversaturated! Do you think this will happen in the NP field?


I was under the impression that a person had to have a nursing degree to even be eligible to apply for an NP program? I was wondering what school did you go to which offered the bridging program?

- ev

Hello, I am on the road to become a FNP. I am doing an RN program now, with the idea of getting a masters when I finish. I have a B.A. in liberal arts, and I've done my science pre-reqs for nursing. You mentioned that you only had to complete a two year program to do a bridge program? Can you please tell me how and where you did that, as perhaps I can do the same. Did you complete an RN program as well? Thanks !!!

- Amy

Hi All!

I am sorry for the delayed responses.  I will address these questions in order:

Desiree- I am so glad you are considering applying for an NP program!  I am so happy with my career and think you will be very happy if the NP route is what you ultimately choose.  Let me know if you need any help deciding on a program or with the application process.

SCSLP- I do not think you will have problem finding a job as an NP after you graduate.  If you want to work in a specific specialty, you may need to work your way up (ex. I worked in urgent care for 2 years before I was able to find a job in the ER as employers required experience).  With health care reform it is projected that the number of jobs available to NP's will increase dramatically making the job market even better.  Finally, like any profession, the job market varies depending on the area where you live.  If you live in a city where there are a lot of NP schools, there are more NP's in the area trying to find jobs.  If you live further outside of a major city, you will have an easier time finding work.  I would ask NP's in your area if they have had a difficult time finding work to get an idea of the market in your area.

ev- You do not have to have a nursing degree to apply to an NP program that offers a 'bridge' program.  Most bridge programs, however require you to have a bachelor's degree (it doesn't matter what you have your degree in).  I attended Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.  My first three semesters I completed an RN degree.  My next three semesters I completed my MSN becoming a nurse practitioner.  Feel free to e-mail me (erin.tolbert@midlevelu.com) and I am happy to help you find a similar program in your state.

Amy- I attended Vanderbilt University School of Nursing bridge program.  My first three semesters I completed an RN degree (not a BSN, I already had a bachelor's degree).  My next three semesters I completed my MSN becoming a nurse practitioner.  Since you are in an RN program now, you should be able to go directly into a nurse practitioner program once you complete the RN program.  Many schools offer accelerated or bridge programs for students with an RN but not a BSN who want to become NP's.  Feel free to contact me (erin.tolbert@midlevelu.com) and I can help you find a program that will fit for you.


Hope this helps!  Keep posting and I promise I will respond more quickly!

- Erin Tolbert

thank you very much for your encouraging words I always said I wanted to become a NP i just graduated from high school and I Love the medical field Thank You again!!!!!

- diamond Anderson

I am just now about to finish my RN to BSN.....I plan to enroll in Case Western's NP program, but Vanderbilt sounds very quick. Where are they located, it sounds familiar? Do they have online courses? Thanks!

- Christine

Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, TN.  They do have some distance programs (you have to visit campus a few weekends throughout the year).  Visit their website for more info!

- Erin Tolbert

Loved your post, very encouraging. I am starting my NP program this Dec. Are you a family NP? Do you have any preference for any of the NP programs?

- Tracey

Congrats on making the decision to become a NP!  I am a certified FNP and I work in the emergency department.  I don't have a preference for any specific program.  I think area of the country and cost should be major factors in your decision.  If you go to the Products page you can download the 2012 Guide to Nurse Practitioner programs which has lists of the Top 20 NP programs as well as the Top 20 Best Value NP programs.

- Erin Tolbert

I am almost done with my BS in nursing degree and hope to start a DNP program June 2013 (turning in my application tomorrow!) I am applying for the ANP/GNP program and wonder what your thoughts are on that? I was told by a few people (including an FNP) that I am limiting myself and will regret it but I have a passion for geriatrics. As a ANP/GNP I can work with anyone over the age of 14 years old so I do not think that is too limiting. One of the reasons I chose ANP/GNP is because the FNP program is very competitive and a lot harder to get into because of the popularity. I want to start the DNP program ASAP so I do not have a break from school and felt my changes of getting in are a lot better with ANP/GNP. I currently work in a sub-acute facility as a RN with only adults and geriatrics and really enjoy it besides the really low pay. I would have the option after getting my ANP/GNP to also get my FNP but it would probably add on another year to my already long 3 year full time year round schooling. I am super excited to become an NP and really hope I am accepted! I will find out in Feb.
Let me know what your opinion is and any advice is welcomed! :)


- Heaven (From MN)

Hi Heaven!

Congrats on turning in your application!  The FNP is certainly a braoder focus.  You would still be able to work in geriatrics with a FNP degree- a friend in my NP graduating class works with the elderly and she is a certified FNP.  I do find it comforting to be a FNP as I know I will always be able to find a job.  If for some reason I ever move or need to find a job quickly, there are numerous options working as a FNP.  I feel like it gives me a back-up plan at all times. Family practices, urgent care, ER and retail clincs all hire FNP's rather than ANP's as they have the ability to treat children.

That being said, if you know for certan you want to work only with adults/elderly then go geriatric!  Job options for geriatric nurse practitioners are rapidly expanding with new Medicare laws and the aging population.  I don't anticipate that you will have difficulty finding employment. 

Overall, as long as you know for sure that you want to work only with adults/ elderly I don't anticipate you will have trouble finding employment.  If you aren't sure if working with elderly is your life-long goal, then consider FNP which will give you more mobility within the profession should your interests change.  Good luck with your application!

- Erin Tolbert

I have worked in a telemetry unit for the past 1.5 years. I have a non-nursing bachelor of science, and associates in nursing. I am ready to move forward with my career, but am so confused about what step to take next. Should I get a nursing bachelor's degree? Should I get my PCCN? Or, would it make the most sense to put my efforts into becoming a nurse practitioner? I really enjoy working in a hospital respected for quality cardiac care. Which NP program would be best for me?
If you have any suggestions to help me move forward, I would greatly appreciate it!!

- shari

Hi Shari-

Your next steps depend on what you would like to do with your career.  If you want to work as a critical care nurse, then your next step should be getting a BSN or PCCN.  Talk to nursing administrators at your hospital to see what qualifications you need to work in your area of interest.  Your hospital may even help pay for these programs.  

If you want to become a nurse practitioner, there are many programs you can choose that would allow you to continue your education without getting a BSN.  I would choose a program that offers the Acute Care specialty if you want to continue working in cardiac care (family may also work but traditionally most cardiology NP's are acute care).  Because there are so many programs available, it will help to have a little more information before recommending a specific program.  Do you want a program close to your home or do you wish to relocate?  Would you prefer an online or on campus?  Do you prefer to continue to work and attend a NP program part-time or would you prefer a full-time program?

What do other NP's and nurses think??

Feel free to comment or e-mail me at erin.tolbert@midlevelu.com.

- Erin Tolbert

Hi There!

This is a very helpful article; thank you for writing it! So I am in an interesting position. I have a bachelor's degree in biology and psychology. I applied to and have been accepted to physician assistant programs, dual physician assistant/ master of public health programs, and one accelerated master of science in nursing program (3 semesters pre-specialty entry, and 3 semesters to get the MSN, Vanderbilt University). I have basically a month to decide what I want to do. Because I was not aware of all the diverse things you can do with a FNP degree, I applied to and was accepted to the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP program. I applied to this program because my primary interests are in inpatient and outpatient neurology, inpatient and outpatient cardiology, and emergency medicine. I thought the only way to do work in specialty clinics was with an ACNP specialty. One of the reasons physician assistant appealed to me is the ability to switch specialties with ease. I understand an ACNP can't work in family medicine. How hard would it be to, say, switch between emergency medicine, cardiology, or neurology, and what would I need to do to set myself up to be able to switch? Can an ACNP work in gynecology?

Also, what about the transition to the DNP? I would finish my MSN in summer 2015. Would I need to get a DNP? If I had to get a DNP, I would probably go the Physician Assistant route. Everything I've read about the DNP has been "recommendations", and I have not seen any legislation about requiring a DNP to be the terminal practice degree. In TN, where I live, it says "graduate degree or minimum of master's degree" to define a NP.

I would appreciate any help!

Thank you all.

- Natalie

Hi Natalie,

Congratulations on being accepted to so may great programs!  
The limiting factor of the Adult-Gerontology route is that you can't see children.  This makes it difficult to find a job in family practice or the emergency room.  You could probably find a job in an internal medicine clinic if you are interested in primary care as internal medicine focuses more on the adult population.  You would certainly be eligible for a position in neurology or cardiology with this degree.  NP's can work in gynecology, most complete the women's health specialty.
As far as 'switching' between areas like cardiology and neurology, all you need to do is find someone willing to hire you!  There isn't a special program to complete or anything.  Most of my friends who are nurse practitioners have changed their focus at least once.  Their employers have trained them in their new areas of interest. 
As far as the DNP, if you start your NP program before 2015 you won't need it.  The proposed deadline affects only students entering a program in/ after 2015.  
Hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions!
- Erin Tolbert

Hello, I have been a caregiver for 15 years. I have a bachelors in Social Work and I currently teach classes in caregiving. I have always desperately wanted to be a nurse, but after some difficulty with math, I switched to social work . I love teaching, but I still really want to be a nurse. Would you recommend an accelerated FPN program?

- Maggie

Hi Maggie,

If you have always dreamed of being a nurse, I would certainly recommend a career as a nurse practitioner.  An accelerated program is a convenient, quick way to do this, especially if you are changing careers.  I think you will find the schedule flexibility and practice options being a NP offers make it an excellent career choice. 

- Erin Tolbert

Have you ever considered traveling as a Nurse Practitioner? :)

- Wondering

hello..i graduated with a BS Nursing degree from a popular university in Ghana, West Africa. i have been aspiring to be a nurse practitioner since i started reading about the program on the internet. i recently applied to a university in Illinois for the FNP program. i was selected for an interview which was done on phone. i am currently awaiting the final decision from the university.
i wanted to find out what the challenges are in the course of study and what you think may be an obstacle to a foreign trained nurse studying the program. also what are my prospects of landing an employer who will sponsor me a green card to work for a while after i complete the program so i can perfect my skills?? thank u

- adwoa

Hi Adowa,

Congratulations on being awarded an interview!  Although I cannot personally speak to attending a nurse practitioner program internationally, I would imagine your primary challenge would be balancing taking on a difficult course load and doing clinical hours all while adjusting to life in a different culture.  There are always financial considerations with going to school which can be a challenge for any student.  

Unfortunately, I also am not sure how difficult it would be to find an employer to sponsor your green card.  I would ask the admissions staff at University of Illinois if they have had any experience with this in the past.  Do any readers have experience with this that could give some advice?

- Erin Tolbert

Hello. So I am a Biology major in college. How would I go on to become a Nurse Practitioner? Do you mind providing a brief "timeline or series of events" that would occur as I am still an undergraduate?

Thanks in advance!

- Milagros

Of course!

Before becoming a nurse practitioner, you need become a nurse by getting either an RN or BSN (Bachelor's in Nursing) degree.  You could accomplish this either by changing your undergraduate major to nursing or by attending a nursing program once you graduate.

Then, you simply need to apply to nurse practitioner programs.  Once you complete the program, you will be a NP!

There is a shortcut to the above steps you can consider.  Some universities offer "bridge" or "accelerated" nurse practitioner programs.  These programs accept students with a college degree in a field other than nursing into a NP program.  To take this route, you would simply need to apply to an accelerated nurse practitioner program in your senior year of college.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

- Erin Tolbert

Looking for NP programs that are primarily online (or campus based in Southern California), provide an adn-msn bridge option, and focus on care in the ER. Any info much appreciated.

- don

Hi Don,

I was unable to find any programs meting your needs with an ER subspecialty, however you will be qualified to work in the ER if you get either a Family Nurse Practitioner or Acute Care Nurse Practitioner degree.  Here are a few options for you:

1. California State University Dominguez Hills (online)

2. California State University San Marcos

3. Dominican University of California

4. Mount St. Mary's College (offers classes evenings, weekends and online)

5. Aspen University in Colorado (online)

6. American Sentinel University in Colorado (online)

7. Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky (online, 2 on campus visits required)

Hope this helps!

- Erin Tolbert

I read your comments regarding being an NP student and having realistic expectations of yourself,etc. And found them very encouraging. I am in an online program(finishing second semester) and am becoming more frustrated. I have so far taken 2 theory classes , patho and pharm. If it wasn't for me being a nurse for 16 years I would not feel like I have really learned hardly anything. I read but it is so much I formation I don't feel like I retain a fourth of it. In between that I am trying to keep up with papers, assignments,and balancing family and work. I keep praying I will make it in clinicals starting this summer. I get so nervous thinking about starting. Feel like I don't know anything and not confident to start clinicals. I keep thinking how scary and difficult it will be to switch role of being told what to do vs making decisions. I find myself second guessing a lot. Did you ever have any of these thoughts or feelings? I really wanted to do this but now I am letting my fear and lack of confidence get the best of me. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

- Jennifer


Hi Jennifer,
I can't tell you how common these feelings are!  Don't worry, I think most NP students feel this way.  It is a lot of material to learn, but you will get there.  Here are a few posts that may help you out:
- Erin Tolbert

Hi, Im a rather new RN working in pediatric/adolescent psych for a few years now. I recently applied for a few NP programs, Adult and Family, and was accepted to an Adult NP class. I havent heard from the school offering the FNP program yet. Now Im having 2nd thoughts on my choices. Im torn between Mental health NP(due to the experience I already have), Adult NP (because of the specialty choices and fact that I rather not work with children) and the Family NP (due to the flexibility of venues and marketability of being able to work with all ages.) I know all 3 are in demand. Any guidance or suggestions would be appreciated. I live in NY on Long Island.

Thanks, Fred RN

- Fred

Hi Fred,

Tough choice!  Right away, I think either the family or psych NP options are your best bet.  An adult NP program will not offer you the flexibility of the FNP or the specialization of the psych NP route.  Even if you want to specialize, you can still go this route with the FNP.  If you would rather work with adults than children, that's fine but at least with the FNP you have the option.  You aren't precluding yourself from employment opportunities that may require pediatric knowledge on occasion.  Your other options seem better than the adult NP regardless of your career plans.  

Between the FNP and the psych NP programs, it depends where you want to work.  If you are certain you want to remain in the psych realm, then pursue a psych NP degree.  If you aren't sure and may want to work outside of psych, then go the FNP route.  It is very flexible and will ultimately offer you the option of either career.

- Erin Tolbert

Hello - if I major in biology at the University of Illinois, could I still become a nurse practitioner?

- Abby

Hi Abby,

Of course!  You can become a nurse practitioner at any point.  However, if you get an undergraduate degree in nursing you will complete your NP degree more quickly.  You may also have an easier time finding a nurse practitioner program if you get your undergraduate degree in nursing because you won't have to find a specialized NP program for non-nurses. 

- Erin Tolbert

Hi Erin,

I am currently considering NP. I have a BS in Health Sciences and am having trouble deciding whether or not I would like the field. I have always been interested in the medical field, and have been thinking of applying to NP programs and to Occupational Therapy programs and seeing what happens. I'm getting my STNA right now and like it so far and will be able to get a job as an STNA, PCA, CNA, etc. Any advice? Thanks!!

- Caiti

Hi Caiti,

It's a great idea to do a little research before committing to an NP program to make sure you are headed into a profession that is right for you.

Here are a few thoughts:

1. Job shadow a few nurse practitioners.  If you know anyone in the field, ask them if you can spend a day with them on the job to see if becoming an NP seems like a good fit.  I would recommend shadowing multiple NP's to get a well-rounded idea of what the profession has to offer.  If you don't know any NP's personally, see if the NP at a local clinic would mind if you shadowed them for a day.  Most will be open to the idea or at least very understanding of your situation so don't be afraid to put yourself out there! 

2. Getting your STNA is an excellent way to sort of try out the medical field.  Once you get a job as an STNA, you will have exposure to multiple types of medical providers.  This will give you firsthand experience and help you decide on the best track.

Let me know if you have any further questions!

- Erin Tolbert

Hi Erin,

I am currently in my third semester of a BSN program. I will have my RN next May and my BSN in August. I also have a BS in psychology, obtained in 2002. I entered nursing school knowing that I wanted to become a nurse practitioner. My question is, should I start applying to NP schools immediately or get RN experience first? I get mixed opinions from nurses I work with (I am a PCT in the ER).



- Jennifer

Hi Erin,

I'm going to be graduating in December and it's been a lifelong dream of mine to become an FNP. From what I have seen working as a tech, the roles are very different and I seem to like the FNP aspect. What do you suggest as a new graduate nurse - a GN internship, or can I go ahead and look towards applying for NP school right off?

- Sarah

Hi Jennifer and Sarah,

You both posted similar questions so I will answer them jointly.

As you are hearing, there are 2 sides to this argument.  On one hand, if you work as an RN first, you will have a bit more experience before applying to an NP program.  This may help your chances of getting into a nurse practitioner program and also ease your transition into working as an NP.  On the other hand, if you go immediately from your BSN to your NP program, you will complete your education more quickly.

Personally, I completed an accelerated program and do not have any RN experience.  I moved directly into my MSN program.  The downside of this was that after graduating my learning curve on the job was a bit steeper than for those with RN experience, however I caught up quickly.  Also, if you work as an RN for a year or two, it can be hard to go back to school.  It's always more difficult to leave school and start earning a higher income then go back to school than to just go straight through.

Why not apply to NP programs now and if for some reason you don't get in, work as an RN for a year then reapply?  Good luck!!

- Erin Tolbert

I do love your comments, i am planning too go back to school for FNP. I m a nurse and working in a hospital for the last year. As a nurse i hate to work weekens, holidays, and hate to work with mean patients who are hard to satisfy. How FNP is different than regular nurse. As a FNP, will i be able to avoid these pains.

- paramjit kaur

Hi Paramjit,

I'm sorry you are having a difficult experience with nursing!  Unfortunately, these are some of the most common frustrations in healthcare.  With your FNP, I think you can certainly improve upon them depending on your work environment.  If you work in a family practice clinic, you should be able to cut down on weekend and holiday hours.  Many family practice clinics do have Saturday hours or holiday hours but they are often shortened.  Some clinics do close completely on weekends and holidays.  If you want to avoid working weekends and holidays, look for jobs in these types of practices.

Another alternative is that with your FNP you will earn more.  You could simply work part-time to avoid working so much and getting burnt-out.  


- Erin Tolbert

Great blog - very informative and positive! I just stumbled across this website and will definitely be reading many, many more blog posts. To make a long story short, I am 25 years old, have a Bachelor's degree in Business Admin and have decided to totally change direction and pursue a healthcare job. Originally, my mind was made up to go the PA route, but after some research and realizing that for me personally, the NP route would be much easier and faster... I have decided switched to NP. I am going to apply to a Direct- Entry MSN program next year. I have a couple of questions:

When I research the major differences between PA and NP though, almost everything I come across says that PA's can switch specialties and NP's cannot. Is this true? I am a bit confused. When I browse NP jobs, I see jobs in all different types of specialties... and according to this post, you can switch.

Also, do you have any thoughts on Direct-entry MSN programs? I have read some great things about them and some not so great things (mainly, difficulty finding a job after you are done with little clinical experience -- only 1 year as an RN)

Any thoughts would be much appreciated, thanks in advance for your help and thanks for taking the time out of your life to create such a unique and helpful website :)

- Krista


Hi Krista,

Great questions!

I am not completely familiar with what it takes for a PA to switch specialties, but it isn't difficult for NP's to switch.  First of all, most specialties are already very flexible so if you want to work in a different area all you need to do is apply for a new job.  For example, I am an FNP.  Students I graduated with work in cardiology, internal medicine, dermatology, ENT, ER and family practice.  The main thing to consider is that acute care/ adult specialties can't see kids.  So, if you want to work in an area that may treat children (ex. ER) go FNP over adult focused specialties.    If you ever did need to switch specialties as far as schooling, this usually takes 1 semester full-time or 1 year part-time. 

As far as direct entry programs, I completed one myself.  Ultimately I wanted to work in the ER and was unable to find a job in an emergency department right out of school.  However, after getting a little experience working as an NP in urgent care I didn’t have a problem getting an ER position.  All of my classmates were also able to find jobs working as NP's quickly after graduation as well.  You may not get your dream position right out f school, but with a year of experience you will be very marketable.  

Good luck in your program!

- Erin Tolbert

Hi Erin, I was wondering if you have any insight regarding how easy/difficult it is to get a PNP job without RN experience? I see a wealth of FNP jobs, but not PNP. I've worked as a Child Life Specialist for 9 years and am considering continuing on from my BSN program into the MSN (PNP-primary care) program this fall. Of course, I'm concerned I won't be able to get a job as a PNP without experience. At the same time I'm in my early 30's so I don't want to wait forever to go back to school. I feel like it's now or.....potentially never. What do you know about the PNP job market? How much will my background in Child Life help? I've talked to a lot of NP's who have said time and again, "you must get nursing experience"....but part of me feels like it's their way of saying, "I had to pay my dues as an RN, so you have to as well."

- Sarah

Hi Sarah,

I did not have any RN experience and found a job within a week of graduating from my NP program.  My classmates both FNP and PNP found jobs quickly as well.  You may not find your dream job immediately after you graduate without experience (ex. I wanted to work in the ER but had to work in an Urgent Care clinic as an NP for 2 years before an ER would hire me), but I don't think you should have trouble finding a job.  This does depend slightly on your location, but overall I think the job market is good for NP's.  Your child life experience will certainly be a benefit as well.

- Erin Tolbert


I am going into my second last year of high school (I know I'm still young) and I am thinking of becoming a nurse practitioner. I am little confused. But to become a NP you have to go to university right? And as a NP could I specialize in oncology?

- Megan

Hi Megan,

It's great that you are planning ahead for your career!  Yes, to become a nurse practitioner you have to go to college (university).  Ultimately, you need a Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) and in the future, a doctorate degree may be required.  

The typical path to becoming a nurse practitioner is to get an undergraduate degree in nursing (BSN).  Then, once you graduate go back to school for your nurse practitioner degree (MSN).  So, right now as a high school student you should focus on applying to undergraduate nursing (BSN) programs. 

Let me know if you have any further questions!

- Erin Tolbert

I'm going to be a senior in high school this coming fall and I've always been interested in the medical field. Lately I've been researching NP's and it seems like my dream job! I would love to specialize in pediatric NP but I'm a little confused on the process of getting a specialty like that. So do I first get a bachelors degree in nursing, then go to nursing school? And after that do I get a job as an RN and then apply for a NP program?
I also have some questions about good schools and courses I should take next year, do you have another way to contact you? My e-mail is ashley.hansen@hotmail.com if you find time to help out an interested high school kid.

Thank you for the helpful blog!

- Ashley

Hi Ashley,

The typical path to becoming a nurse practitioner is to get an undergraduate degree in nursing (BSN).  This means that in college you should major in nursing.  Then, once you graduate go back to school for your nurse practitioner degree (MSN).  So, right now as a high school student you should focus on applying to undergraduate nursing (BSN) programs for college. 

I would love to help!  Feel free to e-mail me at erin.tolbert@midlevelu.com

- Erin Tolbert

I have worked as a school nurse for 18 years and want to become a family nurse practitioner. I am concerned about my ability to gain employment because of my lack of hospital nursing experience and that I will be 62 when I earn the degree. I am trying to figure out if anyone would hire me. I hope you can give me some advise. I would like to continue working as long as I can.

- Nancy

Hi Nancy,

It's great that you want to further your career!  Not to worry, you are certainly employable without hospital experience.  If you want to become a family nurse practitioner, you probably will be working in the clinic setting where lacking hospital experience won't be as important.  Many NP's (including myself) graduate with little or no RN experience.  Your work as a school nurse will help you in the clinic setting and I think you will be very marketable once you graduate. 

- Erin Tolbert

Hi Erin,
Thank you for answering me so promptly. What about my age? Do you think that will stop anyone from hiring me?

- Nancy


Good question.  While employers certainly aren't supposed to discriminate based on age, we all know this happens.  That being said, many NP positions have high turnover.  If clinics are willing to hire younger NP's that may only stay two years in the same position, I think they would be willing to hire older NP's as well.  Also, I think your maturity and years of experience as a school nurse will help you stand out among younger candidates. 

- Erin Tolbert

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