I Hate Being A Nurse Practitioner – (12 Best Solutions By an NP)

Written By: Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN

You may find this title, “I Hate Being a Nurse Practitioner”, a bit surprising. However, if you arrived at this page, you may have misgivings about your job or profession as an NP and even dislike being a nurse practitioner. I am here to tell you even though your NP work may be disheartening, you should not give up on your dreams of a career as a nurse practitioner just yet. You can likely overcome your present cynicism and hurdles as an NP. For every problem, there is usually a solution.

Have you recently asked yourself, “What to do if I hate being a nurse practitioner?” Yes, there are other careers to consider. However, being an NP is still one of the most rewarding and best jobs in the US. Instead of throwing in the towel after all of your hard work, it may behoove you first to read the “12 best solutions if you hate being a nurse practitioner”.

These insightful tips may be just the remedy to turn around your career and once again make you a happy nurse practitioner.

What to Do if I Hate Being a Nurse Practitioner?

(The following are the 12 best solutions if you hate being a nurse practitioner.)

SOLUTION #1: Identify the Cause of Dissatisfaction

Sometimes, we can be so miserable in a job that we just want to be done with it. The idea of walking away from your career as an NP may be your immediate gut reflex solution to a bad situation.

I have had days when the need to be stress-free at work is so overwhelming that I could see no other remedy than quitting. The idea of being an NP conjured up traumatic memories and a feeling of hopelessness. I longed to work in an undemanding job where I could simply water flowers or shelve books. A career with no responsibility or hassles from people looked very enticing in those moments.

However, it is sad to think that you will throw away all of your education and expertise if you give up on your career as a nurse practitioner.

It is always wise to take some time to analyze a problem before reacting. By figuring out precisely your work stressors, you may be surprised that the real issue is not your profession at all. There may be fixable circumstances that you can attend to once you have boiled down the problem. By objectively sorting through your work complaints, you remove the emotional aspect from your thinking.

Once you have a clear head, you may be able to pinpoint the root cause of your dissatisfaction. Knowing exactly what makes you hate being a nurse practitioner is the first positive step in fixing the real issue with your work.


SOLUTION #2: Talk to Your Boss

Take control of your situation by being honest and forthright with the administration about your present grievances and unhappy circumstances. Brooding about your job and bottling it inside will not make the problem go away.

I have a close friend, a peds NP, who has hated her job for years. She and her pediatrician boss have a very contentious relationship. My friend relates she is openly bullied by this man and, at times, reprimanded in front of the parents and patients. She is terrified of losing her job if she confronts the doctor with her valid concerns.

I can’t imagine going to work week after week in such an emotionally fraught environment. It is no surprise that the negativity has taken an unhealthy toll on my friend physically and emotionally. If I were in her shoes, I, too, would hate being a nurse practitioner.

However, playing the victim is never a great strategy when you want to fix a problem. By taking your concerns to management, you at least have a chance of a positive outcome.

By actively attending to the cause of your stress, you are empowering yourself, which feels good, regardless of the outcome. Plus, sometimes open communication may uncover some surprising solutions to an issue.

SOLUTION #3: Make Changes within your Job

Sometimes, simple changes at your current job create a fresh start and a more positive work experience. Brainstorm about what may make you happy in your particular position. Can you work on another floor? Is there a way to ask for a transfer?

New colleagues may be all that you need for a fresh start. Have you ever considered being a float NP at your job? This is a great way to see other work options and environments. You can try a position to know if it is a good fit.

Also, working part-time, if you can, may give you the break that you need to reignite your love of nursing. Sometimes, just slightly modifying your position is all you need to change your attitude and no longer hate being a nurse practitioner.

SOLUTION #4: Seek Support

The old saying that misery loves company is somewhat applicable to the issue of work dissatisfaction. We all need to vent our work frustrations on occasion. At times, our colleagues are the only ones who really understand (and listen) to our work problems.

However, workplace commiserating can sometimes backfire by creating more negativity. Although a listening ear is always welcomed and somewhat cathartic, complaining without positive action does not remedy an issue.

In addition to talking over your concerns with your peers, you can seek support in other ways, such as:

• Take advantage of workplace support programs
• Attend NP meetings and conferences where you intermingle with others in your profession
• Join online NP support communities like those offered through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
• Seek mental health services when necessary

Although being an NP is a great career, it also comes with heavy responsibility and, many times, stress. By seeking support, you are wisely taking steps to help you stay in the game and mentally well.

SOLUTION #5: Find a Niche

Perhaps there are just certain aspects of your job that you despise. If you could eliminate what you don’t like and replace it with what satisfies you, life as an NP may seem brighter.

For example, as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you may dislike working with substance abusers. Their endless excuses and lack of follow-through drives you through the roof. However, your practice could use a good NP for its ADHD program. By specializing in ADHD, you will likely see more of the type of patients you prefer and less of the ones you dread.

Practice niche specialties for NPs are bountiful. Find what interests you, take a few courses, or gain experience in the desired specialty area, and you can work this angle to your advantage in your career.

As a family nurse practitioner with years of pediatric nursing experience, I was able to work primarily with children at the family health community clinic where I worked. I was not as comfortable working with some adult conditions, primarily those with cardiac issues. Therefore, I made it well known that I had vast experience with children and enjoyed seeing pediatric patients. Many providers were happy not to work with kids, so my niche worked well for the team.

SOLUTION #6: Pick Up a Side Hustle

An enjoyable part-time side job is one great solution to no longer hate being a nurse practitioner. Having a side hustle in addition to your NP day job may be all that you need to reignite your love for your career. Doing something different that you love or find fulfilling or exciting is bound to get your nurse juices flowing again.

A side hustle can be a position in your specialty or something different. It may be a hobby such as photography or cake decorating. Perhaps you want to dabble in a different specialty area.

A side niche is a way to explore new or beloved options without quitting your regular NP job. What a great way to restore your zeal for life and work.

SOLUTION #7: Remember to Take Care of Yourself

At times, we can get lost in our jobs, putting ourselves last. There is no quicker way to hate being a nurse practitioner than by burning yourself out due to all work and no play. By nature, health professionals tend to put others first and ignore our needs and health. Although our giving heart is commendable, our profession generally tends to suffer emotionally and physically under the work stress that we (sometimes) self-impose.

Looking at your circumstances, can your current unhappy work situation relate to not properly taking care of yourself? By remembering that work-life balance is critical to any NP, you may be able to pull out of your work funk. Regularly taking time for self-care and rest may be the first step in regaining your love for nursing.

By instituting measures to support your well-being, you are taking crucial action to keep fit emotionally to live your life better and do your job (which feels good). Although saying no to extra shifts and tasks is difficult, it does get easier once you draw the line and make it obvious that your well-being comes first.

SOLUTION #8: Go Back to School

Finding a new specialty is sure to bring back the passion in your career. For example, as an FNP, you may have a particular interest in women's health. You may open up new career options as a women's health provider if you take courses and gain certifications in the field. By gaining new credentials in a different specialty, you are certain to feel the initial excitement of a new NP once again.

If you hate being a nurse practitioner and are sick of your specialty area, exploring new and different specialty options may be an unexpected career solution.

SOLUTION #9: Take a Break

There are times in your life when taking a bit of time away from your job is necessary. Perhaps you need to step away from work to give yourself a mental break. Other times, life may get in the way, making it too difficult physically or emotionally to keep working. Whatever the circumstances, taking a breather from your career may be just what you need to stay mentally or physically sane.

When my dad became seriously ill with cancer, I worked on a Covid unit. Due to the stress from life and work, my health was beginning to deteriorate along with my father's.

As a nurse, I had missed important family events and emergencies for years. Like many of us, my RN position was not easily expendable, and taking time off was a real issue for my employer. When I became an NP, I promised myself that I would be more available if my family needed me. I would no longer allow my job always to come first.

Thus, when my dad became seriously ill, I decided to put my career on hold to care for my parents. In the long run, it worked best for my career, too, as the time away from work helped me rethink my own life goals. This break not only allowed me precious time with my dad, but I was also able to contemplate my career and pivot to best fit my current life circumstances.

There is a good possibility that you will no longer hate being a nurse practitioner after taking time away from your career. By stepping away, you may be able to happily find your way back to the profession that you once loved.

SOLUTION #10: Work Remotely

Last year, I received an email from a young NP who was considering leaving the profession. She asked for my advice on what she should do with her career. This distraught NP lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere, stuck in a job she hated. She informed me that NP job options were limited in her area. She was about to have her 2nd child and felt overwhelmed and burned out.

Once we boiled down the exact issue, it became evident that she wanted to spend more time at home as her commute was one hour each way to work. With another child on the way, spending 2 hours driving to and from work took too much time from her family.

My advice to her was to look into working from home. Remote nurse practitioner jobs are plentiful; her employer may even consider this option. More and more healthcare organizations are willing to offer hybrid or remote options to keep their valuable NPs. I explained that she can cross state lines (in certain circumstances) and, therefore, is not limited to her immediate locale.

My new friend was excited about this unique career opportunity. If you are struggling with your current job, working remotely may offer you new options and the freedom to work at home.

SOLUTION #11: Look for Another Job

To prevent burnout as an NP, it may be necessary to find a new job. Not every NP position is horrible. In fact, many are great opportunities where you will thrive.

Have you ever worked in a position where you were well-loved and highly respected? This warm feeling is one reason why people stick with their careers. However, there may have been times when you were not treated like a valuable employee, although you were the same person, still giving the job your best possible effort. This example of how we are treated and perceived in our different positions happens to most of us occasionally.

A few years back, I left my job, where I was one of the most respected providers in my practice. My colleagues and the administration came to me for guidance and input. In my new job, I knew I had much to learn but was unprepared to deal with the bullying I sometimes encountered. I was often made to feel stupid, although I had more experience than many staff members.

This example illustrates that each work environment and position may bring a different feel. In one job, you may feel negative vibes or be up against unpleasant circumstances. Sometimes, a change in environment with a new job is all you need to regain your NP mojo. NPs are highly in demand, so do not be afraid to look around for a new job.

When all else fails, it may be time for a fresh start. Hopefully, you will find a position that is less stressful than your current job.

SOLUTION #12: Try Going Solo

Do the people you work with make you hate being a nurse practitioner? Some NPs work better by themselves. By working independently, you certainly will avoid much of the workplace drama and hassles of being an employee.

Nurse practitioner business owners enjoy total autonomy and increased job satisfaction. They can mold their career however it best fits. Opening a healthcare endeavor is a fast-growing business for NPs—the possibilities to work independently as an NP are vast.

If this sounds like a move that will please you in this season of your career, you may find that opening your own practice is a dream come true. This idea may be a bold move, but with determination and a bit of business sense (and perhaps council), you can be a successful business owner.

My Final Thoughts

After reading the 12 best solutions if you hate being a nurse practitioner, I think you have a pretty good idea that you are not stuck in a dead-end profession.

As a nurse practitioner, you are fortunate to have a very flexible career. Additionally, the demand for nurse practitioners is excellent. These 2 points make it apparent that even if you hate your job, there is a high likelihood that your current employer may be anxious to keep you happy and willing to work out alternative solutions to your employment. If not, many other NP positions are available that may be an exceptional fit for you.

As an NP, you are valuable, you are needed, and you have the opportunity to make a difference. Now that you have the answer to “What to do if I hate being a nurse practitioner?” go find what makes you satisfied in your career and flourish.

Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
Donna Reese is a freelance nurse health content writer with 37 years nursing experience. She has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in her local community clinic and as an RN in home health, rehabilitation, hospital, and school nursing.