35 Reasons Why Becoming a Nurse Practitioner is Worth it
Written By: Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
With over 211,280 Nurse Practitioners employed currently in the US, there must be something satisfying to draw so many nurses toward this career. A motivating job is one that makes you feel alive and passionate about your work. If you are wondering what makes this profession so alluring, read on to find out 35 reasons why becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it. As a nurse practitioner, I can affirm that you will never regret your decision to go back to school to get your NP degree. With an extensive list answering the question of “is becoming a nurse practitioner worth it?”, this article should provide you with ample incentive to enroll in a nurse practitioner program to get you started on an exciting and fulfilling career as an NP.
IS BECOMING A NURSE PRACTITIONER WORTH IT?
(Here are the 35 reasons that will convince you why being a nurse practitioner is worth it.)
Are you sick of being at everyone’s beck and call at work? Are the phone and the call bell driving you crazy? If you are shaking your head up and down in a “yes” motion, then you are ready for the freedom that you can find as a nurse practitioner. Gaining autonomy as a medical professional is one of the biggest reasons why becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it.
Once I stepped over to the provider side of medicine, I found it refreshing to no longer be the handmaiden to the doctors and patients at my place of employment. Having the ability to make my own schedule and medical decisions for my patients rather than relying on the constant needs and direction of others can be quite gratifying.
RECOMMENDED ONLINE NURSE PRACTITIONER PROGRAMS
2. Fulfilling work
Unless you are in a dead-end job, most NPs find the work to be fulfilling. What other careers allow you to make excellent wages, command respect, do what you love, have flexibility and job security, all while helping others? Working as an NP will give you plenty to feel happy about when it comes to your job. Depending on preference, nurse practitioners can choose a challenging job or work in a relatively stress-free environment. Either way, supporting your patients will be emotionally satisfying. Whatever fills your happiness career cup can be realized if you pick your job according to your needs and desires.
3. Excellent compensation
Whether you are looking for top wages, excellent health insurance or generous retirement benefits, there is an NP job to suit your compensation package needs. With the demand for NPs at an all-time high, health employers do whatever they can to attract and keep nurse practitioners. This article, Comprehensive Nurse Practitioner Benefits Package
, gives you a more thorough idea of what benefits you can expect when you choose a career as an NP.
With the provider shortage, you are in an excellent position to negotiate
the benefits and wage that you feel you justly deserve. Remember, your employer will be getting a good deal just by hiring an NP compared to a physician, so don’t short yourself when it comes to the final discussion regarding your contract. Having the ability to negotiate a generous compensation package is one of the reasons being a nurse practitioner is worth it.
4. Vast selection of jobs to pick from
Unless you live in a desolate area at the edge of the earth or are unwavering about where you want to work, the sky is the limit as far as potential NP jobs to choose. Obviously, family or adult nurse practitioners have the advantage of expanded job opportunities due to the broad patient population that they deal with. However, most NPs can find work in many different environments and job types due to the flexibility now offered in healthcare. Whether you want to work in education, a traditional hospital setting, telemedicine
, or in private practice, there are numerous exciting NP jobs out there.
Have you ever felt disrespected, taken advantage of, and undervalued as a nurse? Once you are a nurse practitioner, this discouraging feeling typically changes. Being an NP is worth it due to the respect that you will attain as an advanced practice nurse and provider. Whether it is from your patients or colleagues, you will enjoy the recognition you deserve for your advanced degree, skills, and knowledge as an NP. Even outside of the office, your friends, family, and community will take extra notice when you tell them that you are now a nurse practitioner. Congratulations, you now are among the ranks of the higher echelon of medical professionals. Enjoy this honor! You have put in the time and effort and now can reap the fruits of your labor.
6. Career Advancement
Besides the obvious step-up from RN to NP, there are other career advancement opportunities out there once you have obtained your nurse practitioner degree. Typically, an NP has a great deal of experience in the medical field and often in leadership positions. Employers seeking nursing/medical administrative and management employees would love to fill these positions with nurse practitioners.
Possessing leadership skills
such as initiative, drive, smarts, and an advanced degree will make most any nurse practitioner a favorite when applying for higher management type jobs. So, if you are looking to climb the career ladder, obtaining your NP degree is a smart move to widen your possibilities once you graduate.
7. Dream of being a provider
Have you ever had anyone tell you that you are too smart/dedicated/advanced to “just be a nurse”? Did you ever realize that you know more than the doctor you are working with? Many of us do not readily admit these instances, but they happen. In certain circumstances, RNs may have considered being a physician, and it never came to pass. For those of you that have been encouraged to become or dreamed of being a physician for whatever reason, attaining your NP is a worthy goal that may still fit your needs. Although there are many similarities between the 2 provider roles, an in-depth comparison
is necessary to be sure that a career as a nurse practitioner is the best choice for you.
8. Holistic care
One advantage of being a nurse practitioner and is why becoming an NP is worth it, is our holistic approach
to practice. Keeping the patient front and center while incorporating their input and desires makes us compassionate and patient-focused providers. Nurse practitioners utilize heath education more than other medical professionals and consider alternatives to care that many physicians are more reticent to try. By approaching medicine from an educational and holistic standpoint, we can help our patients find increased satisfaction with their healthcare.
9. Plenty of job opportunities
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job outlook for NPs
between 2020 and 2030 is expected to increase by 52%! Becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it due to this high demand! Jobs are aplenty, so you should have no trouble finding new grad NP jobs
or switching to your ultimate dream job. If you are in a position that is burning you out and you have little to no work-life balance, then look around. With an abundance of job opportunities currently, there is no reason to stay in a job that is draining you and causing you duress.
10. Can own your own practice
If you seek complete autonomy as an NP, consider hanging up your own shingle and be an independent practitioner. Being your own boss comes with pros and cons. But one thing is sure; you will never have to argue with the boss! Kidding aside, the perks of owning a practice can be tremendous. If you don’t mind hard work and possibly long hours, you can achieve much gratification and perhaps a lucrative future.
Nurse practitioner-owned medical enterprises are popping up all over the country. In all specialty areas, with some operating via remote, hybrid or in-person practices, patients now have a wider variety of healthcare offerings to choose from.
11. Can prescribe meds
The ability to prescribe medication is an apparent reason why becoming an NP is worth it. But for me, it was a big one. How often were you frustrated as an RN knowing that certain medications would help you, your family, and your patients, but the doctor would not order it (or dragged their feet)? Knowing that I could prescribe medication that I felt would be helpful at the appropriate time gave me a thrill once I was licensed to prescribe. Having my little prescription pad with my name on it (I know, I am dating myself here) sent a little jolt of pleasure and pride through me each time that I used it.
12. Opens other doors
Once you have your MSN
and become a nurse practitioner, job possibilities open up in all kinds of areas. Besides working as a nurse practitioner, your degree makes you an attractive administrator in healthcare. In addition, you will be eligible for positions in nursing schools and as a legal nurse consultant. Numerous non-healthcare-related jobs also welcome nurses with an advanced degree. Having your graduate degree is a prerequisite for many high-paying jobs. So, with your skill-set, work ethic, and experience, you may be a great candidate for any number of jobs outside of the typical NP role.
A few interesting prospects to consider are:
• Software development
• Medical writer
• Pharmaceutical sales and development
• Surgical technology
13. Make a difference
Most of us went into nursing to make a difference, didn’t we? Well, that desire is just as strong once you consider the role of a nurse practitioner. Being a change agent to help the neediest is one of the top reasons why becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it. At least for me, it was. Although not all NPs strive to work in inner-city communities, Indian reservations, or migrant facilities, we all contribute to those we serve medically. Being an NP is very gratifying work because we help others. Whether it is comfort you give the senior gentleman dying of cancer, supporting a scared teen mother, or educating the next generation of nurses, we are making a positive impact through our work.
14. Fill a need
Not all doctors agree, but nurse practitioners provide healthcare differently from physicians. Yes, we both perform physical exams, prescribe medication and tests. However, very few doctors look at the patient as a whole and provide patient-centered care
. NPs take more time talking with their patients, finding out their concerns and needs, and then incorporating it all into the treatment plan. NPs utilize the medical model but also rely on the nursing model of care for patient education and empowering the patient to take an active role in their health. Physicians who work as a team with NPs know this fact, and perhaps that is why they utilize nurse practitioners for patient follow-up care after surgeries and for chronic care management where time and teaching are needed for successful recovery.
15. Variety of patients
In general, as an NP, you will work with a wide variety of patients. Of course, each of you will have a specialty area that may define your patient population. But for the most part, each day will be a little different with a variety of patient ages, diagnoses, and backgrounds to keep your practice fresh and interesting.
As a family nurse practitioner
, I enjoyed this aspect of my career to the fullest. Working in a community clinic, I transitioned between the urgent care area, adult health, and my favorite, pediatrics. Later in my career, I worked at a children’s hospital and served preschoolers through young adults in many capacities. Your career can transform to fit your current desires, giving you plenty of leeway to work with a varied population of patients.
16. Can work while attending school
Although it may be difficult, many nurse practitioner students continue to work as a nurse while going to school to get your NP degree. If you are considering going back to school while working full-time
, other nurses have gone before you and survived. I can attest to that as I did both and came out the other end intact with my FNP degree. I will say that it was not easy, and there were many areas that I had to sacrifice personally. Since most of us still need an income while in graduate school, having the ability to work while getting our degree is a welcomed benefit.
17. High job satisfaction
Being a nurse practitioner is worth it because most NPs are highly satisfied with their career and job. In fact, U.S. News and World
Report ranks nurse practitioners as the best health care job in 2022! So, if you are planning to go to school to become an NP, you can expect a pleasurable and engaging career. I have enjoyed and felt gratification in every step of my career as an NP. Having the ability to make a substantial wage while maintaining flexibility and autonomy, all contribute to why a nurse practitioner is satisfied as an NP. And you get to feel good helping others.
18. Schooling is convenient
With online and hybrid options for just about every NP program, getting your graduate degree has never been more flexible. In addition, most nursing instructors and schools are aware that NP students have jobs and a family. Schools need to draw and graduate quality nurse practitioners; therefore, they are willing to make considerations to aid students in their success.
Gone are the days when you had to give up your life pretty much to become a nurse practitioner. Schools are willing to work with students to obtain their clinical experience close to home and many times at their place of employment. Clinical hours can be bunched over vacations and breaks and off shifts and weekends, in some instances.
19. Work-life balance
You hear a lot about work-life balance for nurses these days. It is an important lesson to learn for all health professionals. Fortunately for nurse practitioners, it is easier to find time for your family, relaxation, and fun (basically your non-work life) once you are an NP. You will not have to work overtime, mandatory and rotating shifts, weekends, or holidays for most NP jobs. All of these factors contribute to nurse burn-out
and lack of work-life balance. As an NP, you hopefully will feel respected and “heard in your practice.
And if work-life balance is essential to you, you can choose a job that fits your lifestyle needs. Some employers are even promoting work-life balance to lure NPs to their practice. If you want to live all aspects of your life to the fullest, then a nurse practitioner career is worth it!
20. Scratch the travel itch
If you love to travel and see new places, then a career as a nurse practitioner can open the door for travel nursing as an NP. What is more enticing than having the ability to explore locations around the country and world, while making top dollar and having your expenses paid while on the job? Even better, you can pick and choose when you want to work so that you can schedule plenty of time to venture out in your new locale and get a taste of adventure.
There are still options to travel as a nurse practitioner for those who are not interested in travel nursing.
Other NP travel opportunities can be with:
• Peace Corps
• Department of Veterans Affairs
• Department of Homeland Security
• Medical Mission organizations
21. Long-term Career
According to Zippia career change statistics
, 37% of the US labor force changed jobs in 2020. Although, as an NP, you have the ability to easily change positions, most nurse practitioners like their jobs and stick with them long-term. Once you settle into your specialty area, there is a good chance that you will become a permanent employee where you work. Few nurse practitioners leave the field altogether, although there are reports of NPs retiring early due to the pandemic. If you are looking for a gratifying and stable career with respect, decent pay, and good benefits, then getting your degree as a nurse practitioner is worth it.
22. Can specialize
There is nothing better than working in a job where you love what you are doing. Most NPs choose a specialty area
that they are familiar with and are passionate about. Therefore, you most likely are already pretty sure that you will enjoy working in your certification field.
I loved nursing both adults and children, so I chose to get my NP degree as a family nurse practitioner. But my passion was children, so I further niched my skills and work area to that of school nursing and pediatrics. In addition, with my advanced degree, I was able to work side jobs in home health to keep my adult experience fresh.
If you have special interests or skills and want to hone them into a practice area, you can become an expert in this area. There are endless possibilities to niche down your practice if you want to specialize even further in your field of interest.
23. Provides a challenge
Are you someone who is always looking to the next challenge? Is nursing beginning to bore or frustrate you, and are you starting to consider alternatives? Are you thinking about going back to school for an advanced degree? Well then, getting your NP degree may be a great option for you. As a nurse practitioner, you will be able to spread your wings and spur on your career in any number of ways. And one of the biggest reasons why becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it is because you will never be bored in your job.
The role of a nurse practitioner is what you make it. There is no reason to become blasé about your career with so many options out there. There are challenges around every corner. Once you get your feet wet in your new job, you can branch out further into a specialty area or niche down to a specialized self-owned practice. Side jobs for NPs abound, and the depth and breadth of what you can accomplish as an NP is ever-evolving. Who knows, maybe you can be an innovator
in your field!
24. Have a voice
One aspect of nursing that I found very disheartening was the lack of a voice in my RN job. So many important nursing decisions were made that directly affected our jobs and patients, with zero input from the nurses in the trenches. Administrators who had never set foot on our unit would dictate how we were to perform our jobs, sometimes making illogical directives that we had to figure out. What was working well, at times, became more difficult.
As a provider, you will have more clout in general than a nurse, especially if you can get your peers on board. Employers (typically) highly value their providers and want them to be happy and not leave. So, your voice as an NP may make an impact on the betterment of your practice and patients.
25. Can be an educator
For those who dream of teaching nursing students, your MSN or DNP will open the door to this career path. To be a clinical instructor for a BSN program, you need to have at least an MSN with a specialty in that area of instruction. The general rule of thumb is that you need to hold a higher degree than your students will attain at graduation. This principle may not be the same when teaching in a hospital. However, most entities seek at least an MSN for instructional positions.
Just be aware of the pros and cons
of this field, as you may have to take a pay cut as a nursing instructor at a university, college, or nursing school.
As an NP, you are automatically boosted up to a leadership role. You will be viewed as an expert by your patients, nurses, and administrative staff. Therefore, your role as a nurse practitioner comes with some expectation that you should assume command of your practice, educate those around you and take the higher moral ground in your actions. Your ability to inspire and motivate your staff and patients will be an attribute to your advanced degree, background, and leadership skills. For those who enjoy positively influencing others through leadership, becoming a nurse practitioner will be a choice move.
By adding to your base medical knowledge through NP education and training, your confidence as a practitioner should soar. You now are a provider and an accomplished member of the higher echelon of the medical team. Although you are the same person you were before getting your advanced nursing degree, your skill-set has grown considerably.
I remember my first few months in my position as a new grad
nurse practitioner. Imposter syndrome
plagued me as I went about my daily rounds in a family practice clinic. However, over time, I realized that I was a valuable part of the team of providers, and I could manage patient care comparable to that of my colleagues. As my experience and knowledge increased, I confidently performed my duties as a nurse practitioner. Having attained self-assuredness in my practice made becoming an NP worth it.
28. Personal growth
Along the same lines as gaining confidence as an NP, you grow personally once you graduate as a nurse practitioner. Knowing that you are in demand for jobs and can support your family well is a good feeling. Personal growth can be accomplished by improving yourself and how you live. Becoming an NP is an adventure and a step up from your previous life as an RN, automatically causing you to enhance your life.
To grow, you sometimes need to stretch yourself and go outside your comfort zone. Going through NP school is a challenge. So is taking on a new role as a provider. If you accomplish these goals, you will have succeeded personally and have grown as a result.
29. Fill a job requirement
Although not as altruistic as getting your NP degree to be a “force for good”, some nurses simply return to school as a condition for their job. The beauty of this point is that your employer will often pay for your education if it is a requisite for work. Some employers base pay raises on continued education, while others stipulate higher education requirements right from hire.
I happen to fall into this category. Working as a school nurse, my contract spelled out that I needed to obtain 24 hours of graduate credits in the field of nursing within 5 years of hire. A pay raise would also ensue when I reached my goal. I decided it would be a wise move to go for my FNP
in order to continue working as a school nurse once I graduated. I could add to my skill-set and keep my job which had great benefits. School nurse practitioners can perform physical exams and prescribe medication and tests, therefore adding to my current practice. It was a win-win proposition.
30. Job security
One of the top reasons why becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it is the job security that comes with this profession. According to US News and World Report, working as a nurse practitioner is a very sure career bet. Ranking #4
for job security, nurse practitioners have been in even greater demand since the pandemic hit. Other factors like an aging population and a physician shortage will keep NPs working throughout their career. Add in high job satisfaction and great pay, and you are set until retirement!
31. Daily variety
Unless you choose a position that has a repetitive daily schedule like in the movie Ground Hog Day, working as an NP can be pretty interesting and varied. I had worked in the same job in pediatrics for many years. Although I knew the job inside and out, each day came with a different rhythm and always held a surprise or 2.
You will rarely be bored as a nurse practitioner. Having an exciting and challenging job will keep you coming back day after day with a positive attitude and love for your career. That’s not to say that you will not have bad days, administrative headaches, and patients that test your nerves, but overall, working as a nurse practitioner is a fascinating and engaging career.
32. Schooling costs assistance
It seems like just about everyone is willing to help nurses get their NP degree at a minimum price. It certainly takes the sting out of getting your graduate degree if your employer, the government, or other institutions help to defray the cost (which can be substantial). Being a nurse practitioner is worth it even more so if you do not end up with a big college loan bill after graduation!
Some of the best ways to get nurse practitioner school paid
• Federal and state grants
• College scholarships
• Private scholarships
Most nurses who get reimbursed for NP school do so through their employer. It can be wise to work as an RN in a facility that funds further education for their nurses. Employment in a teaching hospital associated with a university is typically a great avenue to getting your APRN schooling for free (or close to it).
33. Confident that your new career is the right move
How many people go to school, graduate, and then realize that they made a poor career choice or hate what they are doing? As a nurse practitioner student, you are most likely fairly sure that you will enjoy your new career path. Having worked in the nursing field that you are now planning to specialize in, you can be pretty confident that you will find gratification as a nurse practitioner. Additionally, most of us have had extensive experience working alongside NPs and have a good idea about the role and what their job entails.
34. Work from home
For those of us who have had to get up and go to work ill, in all kinds of weather conditions and crazy middle-of-the-night hours, the ability to work from home can be a dream come true. For the first time in my career, I am now working from home
, and I am thankful every day that I have this option. This perk is one of the main reasons I think that becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it. I have found that having my FNP has provided me with many opportunities beyond the obvious that I would never have imagined when I began my career as a nurse.
35. Pride in yourself
Whether you use your degree or not, you can be very proud of your accomplishment of attaining your nurse practitioner credentials. It is not easy to get into NP school or maneuver successfully through the rigorous program. But for those of you who achieve this goal, you should be very pleased that you are now a nurse practitioner. Your family will be proud of you too. For nothing other than the self-satisfaction of being one of the esteemed few nurses to become an NP, going to school to become a nurse practitioner is worth it!
My Final Thoughts
Are you encouraged and excited by what you just read? With all of the inspiring reasons listed in 35 reasons why becoming a nurse practitioner is worth it, I think you will be convinced to take your next step in your nursing career. So, I ask you, is becoming a nurse practitioner worth it? Don’t just take my word for it. Meaningful work is about living your values and passion. Your experience will tell a success story once you graduate and begin the most rewarding and interesting job out there; that of a nurse practitioner.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT
1. Can NP Students Have A Life?
Haha, yes, NP students can have a life. However, expect to give up certain aspects of your daily routine that can be put on hold. Learning to ask for help with childcare, hiring a cleaning lady, and not worrying as much about day-to-day household chores will take the pressure off and allow you the time to complete your studies.
2. Can I Enjoy Life As A Nurse Practitioner?
One of the beautiful aspects of being an NP is that you can enjoy life well in this career. After reading this article, you should have a pretty good idea about all of the ways that you can achieve work-life balance as a nurse practitioner.
3. Will I Ever Regret Becoming A Nurse Practitioner?
No, there is no reason ever to regret becoming a nurse practitioner. You have achieved an important goal, and you can bask in that fact. As an NP, you have just opened up innumerable job possibilities, and you can pick and choose what makes you happy for your career.
4. At What Age Do NPs Start Making Money?
Nurse practitioners can start to make a sizable income right out of the gate from grad school. In some cases, you may make as much as a seasoned NP. However, most new grad NPs make slightly less than their experienced counterparts. So, whether you are in your 20’s or 60’s when you graduate NP school, you can expect to be compensated handsomely.
5. Will NPs Be Paid Less In The Future?
There is no reason to believe that nurse practitioners will be paid less in the future. If our current hiring situation is any indicator of the future, you can, in fact, expect wages to increase over time.
6. What 5 Types Of NPs Are The Happiest?
As discussed earlier in this article, nurse practitioners achieve great job satisfaction. So, in general, most types of NPs have the potential to be happy
. Circumstances surrounding your employment may be a bigger factor in job satisfaction than the type of NP you are.
Reasons for happiness as an NP are:
1. Autonomy on the job
2. Respect from peers and administration
3. Fair compensation
4. Working in a specialty where you are passionate
With that being said, Monster.com has ranked medical specialty areas
that are the most satisfactory to work.
The top 5 areas are:
3. Public health and preventative medicine
4. Allergy and immunology
7. Are All NPs Successful?
Success is defined differently by each of us. For an NP mom who wants to work from home to raise her children, a few hours a week of a lower-paying telemed job may be just what she is seeking to achieve, a family life while working. A travel nurse can realize a lucrative income for those who measure success by money. Owning a thriving NP practice is the ultimate achievement for the entrepreneur-minded. You have the degree; now you can do whatever you feel will make you happy and reach your fullest potential!
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.