The COVID-19 pandemic left many Nurse Practitioners furloughed. Several NP’s lost their jobs and or temporary assignments. The surge in Registered Nursing needs in the healthcare landscape enabled several NP’s to rebound back to their RN roles.
Is going back to the bedside as an RN a wise decision?
Personally, I’ve volleyed back and forth from the NP role to the RN role in various different positions. That’s the beauty of nursing, you have lots of opportunities. Each time I went back to the RN role, I learned something valuable that I would not have learned in the NP role. At the time, I chose to make these shifts in my career, I was looking for a break from being an NP. Sometimes, I was looking for greater compensation and a better work life balance.
One of the biggest problems with rebounding your career is your ego. Your career should not define who you are. Instead, a healthy work life balance should dictate how you maneuver your life.
COVID-19 pandemic brought many opportunities.
Nurse Practitioners took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis opportunity to go back to the RN role on the frontlines. One NP reported “It was a nice break. It felt good getting overtime pay again.” Another NP stated, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to go back to bedside nursing as an RN during this COVID crisis. Although, I would not want to leave my NP hospitalist position to be an RN full time again.”
The CARES Act signed into law a 2 trillion-dollar economic relief and public healthcare package which also increased the need for more nurses at the bedside. Hospitals and staffing companies recruited nurses to work on the frontlines paired with robust salaries and accommodations. Petitions were even being circulated so that AANP (American Academy Of Nurse Practitioners) should strengthen the bedside numbers by having Nurse Practitioner’s act as bedside nurses during this crisis. Hospitals are now offering higher pay to recruit nurses due to overproduction of NP’s and RN’s leaving the bedside to pursue an NP degree.
Transitions Can Be Difficult
The transition from the RN role to the NP role can be a difficult one. Responsibilities are greater in the Nurse Practitioner role. In some cases, you may be the main provider in your practice setting.
Changes in schedule, going from 12-hour shifts, 3 days a week to 8 hours 5 days a week may also cause conflict. Charting at home, working longer than 40 hours and not getting paid overtime are common complaints from new Nurse Practitioners. One NP in a Facebook group stated she had to take out several loans to pay for her college tuition and NP program. She further stated she felt the pay from NP to RN was the same in her state of residence. She was also having difficulty finding a job as an NP and regrated leaving the bedside.
Carpe Diem (Seize The Day)
COVID-19 brought with it a flurry of new RN positions. Some of these may include PCR testing, vaccine administration, and public health educator. The demand for ICU nurses is increasing day by day. If you find yourself furloughed, out of an NP job, or just wanting to take a break from the NP role, it’s best to call a locum Tenens recruiter and see what options are available for you.