I recently had a two comments on a previous post by Colin who had a lot of questions for me so I decided to break them up into separate posts. I hope that they help you to make up your mind about becoming a Nurse Practitioner or will help you to understand what we actually do for a living. So here goes!
How long were you on the floor?
I worked on a Med/Surg floor at a local hospital for seven years while I completed my Master's Degree. It was not my first choice while I was studying in nursing school but "decided to do my time" and get some experience before I moved to another type of nursing and got comfortable and stayed.
How helpful was that time in your transition to your current practice?
I feel that my time spent on the hospital floor was invaluable as a background. You cannot trade hands on experience, especially learning how to tell when a patient is not doing well. I am a very visually cued person and often I still describe a patient's condition as "You don't look right to me." I don't really know if it can be truly learned or if it's a natural ability. I would love to hear from other health care providers on this subject!
About how much does malpractice insurance run you? I work for a Federally Qualified Health Care office so I don't pay out of pocket for my malpractice insurance. It's covered under Federal Tort Law. I still practice like it is on my shoulders. I am not infallible and I'm sure that sometime in my practice I will miss a diagnosis and I hope that all of my "catches" make up for it. That's a worry that we all go to sleep with nightly. I don't think that patients realize the amount of second guessing that goes through our minds.
What parts of the job do you find frustrating?
Ahhh! There are a few parts of my practice that frustrate me. One is the ENDLESS amount of paperwork that never seems to end. If a patient is out of work for more than three days, there is FMLA paperwork. Every Workman's Comp visit has a particular form. Since I work in a Federally funded office, there are audits that are taken in order to make sure that their grants are being used appropriately with patient quality indicators such as hypertension and diabetic control. You always feel like you are under the gun as far as time constraints. There are only so many slots that you can put patients into and more keep showing up! They get upset when they have to wait. Cranky patients make the front desk stressed and it feeds down the line. The main thing even after all that is having to do the "drug seeker dance". Not being my own practice makes it hard because I have to play nice to the ones that I know are feeding me a load of crap and won't take no for an answer which pushes me behind. I have just gone into starting the visit by saying outright that I will NOT be writing those meds and let's not waste time from the get go. Of course, in a nice way! Sigh...
Please feel free to leave any comments and I will work on the next set!