Nurse practitioner job satisfaction- does it exist?

Nurse practitioner job satisfaction

To some APRNs, the term nurse practitioner job satisfaction sounds like a myth. Many NPs think, “Why did I go back to school to become an NP? Why did I leave my bedside RN job to work as a NP with less pay and higher liability?” “Why did I think working as a nurse practitioner would provide a better work-life balance?” 

I may be a little biased because of my work as The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner, but I think overall nurse practitioner job satisfaction is low. 

Would you agree?

Nurse Practitioners #2 on Best Jobs List

Interestingly enough, The U.S. News and Money Report just named nurse practitioners as the #2 on the 100 Best Jobs List. Nurse practitioners are also listed as #1 for Best Healthcare Jobs. The article took into account average NP salary, less training than a physician, work-life balance, unemployment rate, and growth in the career.

The U.S. News and Money Report states nurse practitioners assess patients, make clinical decisions, and “do lots of paperwork” (they got that right!). The article breaks down nurse practitioner job satisfaction into three parts.

Here is how the report scored each area:

  • Upward Mobility (Opportunities for advancement and salary)- Above average.
  • Stress level (Work environment and complexities of job’s responsibility)- Above average.
  • Flexibility (Alternative working schedule and work-life balance)- Below average.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this article, comment below!

To be honest, the proclamation of NPs being #2 on The Best 100 Jobs made me cringe a little. There is also some interesting input from other well known nurse practitioners (read The Elite NP’s take on this article). Did the author not take into account the amount of nurse practitioners who are burned out? Does the article not realize the positives listed in the article have been what many nurse practitioners struggle with? 

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some very strong positives of being a nurse practitioner. There are some jobs with a high nurse practitioner job satisfaction. There are APRN jobs with a good work-life balance. With good autonomy and independent practice. With good pay and benefits. With supportive administration and appropriate support staffing. With the ability for nurse practitioners to provide compassionate care. With nurse practitioners who feel fulfilled in their work.

Nurse practitioners should be grateful for the positive aspects in their job. We should feel proud to work as a nurse practitioner and be proud of our ability to provide compassionate, patient-centered care. 

But there are also jobs that contribute to nurse practitioner burnout. With a toxic-work environment. With strict insurance restrictions and lack of resources. With challenges to provide quality care to patients. With little compensation growth in the career field. In these jobs, nurse practitioner job satisfaction is low. 

1/3 of nurse practitioners are considering leaving healthcare

Approximately 5 months before the release of The U.S. News and Money Report, Medscape released an update of the 2022 Nurse Practitioner Burnout and Depression Report. The report noted over 60% of nurse practitioners were somewhat burned-out. That is 2/3s of the United States nurse practitioners! Doesn’t really sound like numbers that should attribute to #2 on The Best 100 Jobs list…..

Medscape identified the top contributors to nurse practitioner burnout include: too many bureaucratic tasks (charting, paperwork) (49%), insufficient compensation (43%), and lack of respect from their employees, colleagues, and other staff (43%). Other factors that contributed to burnout include too many work hours, lack of respect from patients, and stress from Covid-19 issues, such as social distancing.

Source: Medscape, “Nurse Practitioner Burnout & Depression Report 2022”

Did you notice some of the positives mentioned by The U.S. World News and Money Report were actually the largest contributors of nurse practitioner burnout? These causative agents of nurse practitioner burnout are very similar to what I have seen through my work as The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner

Medscape also identifies 69% of NPs who have experienced nurse practitioner burnout created a negative effect on their personal relations. Not only are nurse practitioners struggling, but the overwhelm and exhaustion is trickling down to our family/friends. 

In the Medscape report, nurse practitioners identified ways they can reduce the NP burnout:

Source: Medscape, “Nurse Practitioner Burnout & Depression Report 2022”

Medscape also reports that 31% of nurse practitioners are considering leaving healthcare altogether and 34% have considered in the past. This is an astounding number when you think about it…That ⅓ of nurse practitioners are thinking about leaving healthcare altogether. That ⅓ has already considered leaving healthcare. These numbers go to show just how many nurse practitioners are struggling with burnout and not sure where to turn. 

Source: Medscape, “Nurse Practitioner Burnout & Depression Report 2022”

Nurse practitioner job satisfaction- is it real?

Again, it is interesting that The U.S. World News and Money Report mentions an above average nurse practitioner job satisfaction and named NPs as #2 best jobs. It makes me wonder what society truly thinks about nurse practitioners. Do they see the look of pain and struggle on our faces? Do they realize the poor work-life balance we have? Do they know so many are struggling with nurse practitioner burnout? Do people realize how burned-out healthcare providers are feeling?

So what does this information mean for APRNs? Is nurse practitioner job satisfaction real? Can NPs actually be happy and fulfilled in their work?

Low job satisfaction and burnout is something I struggled with in the past. It took some time but I was able to learn and implement the actions to eventually overcome burnout. I realized how many other nurse practitioners were struggling and began sharing my story. I created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner, I help overwhelmed NPs create a better work-life balance and conquer burnout. 

To answer the question ”Is nurse practitioner job satisfaction real?” it depends on that nurse practitioner. There are many different factors that affect nurse practitioner job satisfaction and each NP has a different scenario.

As The Burned-out NP, I have seen nurse practitioners happy in their jobs and I have also seen APRNs completely burned-out and ready to leave healthcare. I encourage each NP to take some time and reflect on their current job. Identify the good things in which you can be grateful. Identify the things in the job that are most important to you. Think about what things you can control to improve your nurse practitioner job satisfaction. I encourage NPs to advocate for what they believe in and need.

Resources to improve nurse practitioner job satisfaction 

As The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner, I work with NPs on increasing their nurse practitioner job satisfaction. While each individual APRN has different causative agents of their burnout, different signs and symptoms of NP burnout, and different personal struggles, there is a framework for overcoming nurse practitioner burnout.

I help nurse practitioners improve the common contributors of NP burnout:

The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner is here to help increase nurse practitioner job satisfaction. Here to improve work-life balance. Here to offer support through The Burned-out NP Facebook Group. Here to stand together and resolve the nurse practitioner burnout and improve nurse practitioner job satisfaction.

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at

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**Full disclosure, this blog post may include affiliate links. I do receive a commission if any of the affiliate programs/services/supplies are purchased. This is at no extra cost to you but does allow me to continue to provide content as The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner! Thank you!

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