If you’ve spent any time at all on the ThriveAP site, you are well aware that I’m excited about the career path I choose. While my decision to become a nurse practitioner was initially fraught with doubt, I ultimately made the right choice for my future. Looking back on my first five years of practice, there about a million reasons the NP career might be right for you as well.
For the sake of time (and my sanity), I’ve narrowed down to just ten reasons I love my job. So, here they are, the Top 10 Reasons You Should Become a Nurse Practitioner.
While I do enjoy my time at work, everyone needs a few days off on occasion (like every week…). Thankfully, there are an endless number of scheduling options available to practicing nurse practitioners. Some employers hire NPs to work three long shifts each week while others stick to a traditional 9 to 5 schedule. Looking to work fewer hours? Not to worry, PRN and part-time opportunities abound for the NP.
2. Multiple Practice Options
Not only is the NP career flexible regarding scheduling options, nurse practitioners enjoy the ability to work in nearly every medical specialty. Whether you are looking to work in the ICU or in dermatology, hospitals and clinics of all kinds are looking to hire nurse practitioners.
3. Opportunity for Change
Nurse practitioners have the ability to practice in nearly every area of medicine. And, they don’t have to stay in one field either. The NP profession is versatile. If you begin your career in one specialty, but decide you are ready for a change, you can easily switch your area of practice.
4. Excellent Employment Outlook
CNN Money ranks nurse practitioner number 4 among the best jobs in America. Factoring into this ranking is undoubtedly the 23% projected job growth for NPs. The news source also awards an “A” grade to nurse practitioners for the category “future growth”. Nurse practitioners are in high demand and will be increasingly so as more and more Americans become insured under the Affordable Care Act.
5. Multiple Education Opportunities
One of the best things about the NP career is that you don’t have to commit to your career path early on in your education. Schools offer multiple options for students who do not have nursing experience or who cannot attend an NP program full-time. There are part-time, full-time, on-campus, online, and accelerated options for your NP education.
6. Show Me the Money
The average salary for nurse practitioners is over $90,000 and is continuing to rise. As a nurse practitioner, you probably won’t become rich, but you will be able to fund a great lifestyle.
7. Branch Out to a Non-Clinical Career
Nurse practitioners are well educated giving them opportunities outside of the traditional NP role. Should you decide that diagnosing and treating patients isn’t for you or, if you simply need a change after a few years of practice, there’s a lot you can do with your degree. You can become a hospital administrator or teach as a local university, for example. The opportunities are endless.
8. Just Enough of a Challenge
No one wants a boring job. Fortunately, the NP career constantly presents new challenges. There’s always more you can learn about medicine in order to improve your practice. If you find yourself stagnant in your life as a nurse practitioner, it is certainly by choice.
9. Progressive State Laws
17 states and counting allow nurse practitioners to practice independently. States with more restrictive regulations surrounding NP practice are coming around. For example, Ohio and Alabama recently passed laws increasing nurse practitioner’s ability to prescribe. As states loosen rules and regulations surrounding the NP scope of practice, nurse practitioners will be presented with even greater career opportunities.
10. It’s Awesome!
You can’t beat the overall picture of the NP life. An excellent salary, flexible schedule and endless opportunity all with a relatively quick education is a rare find.