NP Diaries: A Week in the Life of an ENP, Mom, & Entrepreneur
Amanda is an emergency nurse practitioner, mom of twin preschoolers, and a small business owner. Find out how she makes it all work.
Image via Unsplash.com/Cathryn Lavery
As told to Chaunie Brusie
By night, Amanda G. is an emergency nurse practitioner (ENP), a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), and one of the founders and prior co-directors of an NP/PA post-graduate training program in emergency medicine. By day, she’s a mom to 3-year-old twin girls and is expecting another baby girl in August.
Being a part-time ENP and full-time mom to twins would be enough to keep anyone busy, but Amanda also founded and runs her own small business called The Résumé Rx, where she helps fellow nurses and NPs keep their resumes up-to-date with templates, coaching, and one-on-one strategy sessions.
Here’s a peek into the weekly diary of this busy mom and NP.
The Nurse Practitioner’s Stats
- Age: 32
- Profession: MSN, NP-C, WHNP-BC, adult and women’s health NP in emergency medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital, a level I trauma facility in Rochester, New York
- Salary: $61,500 (0.5 FTE) / $48,000 - $60,000 (revenue, not including business expenses) from the Résumé Rx
- Typical Work Week: 20 hours as an NP; 20 hours for the Résumé Rx
The Nurse Practitioner’s Diary
6:30 a.m. I wake up with my twins. We all get dressed for the day and have breakfast together before preschool. There’s a lot of slow steps and negotiating with these two. But since I work some night shifts, I cherish the mornings when I get to wake up with them.
9 a.m. I drop off the girls and head to a local coffee shop to finish up some of my work for The Résumé Rx. My side business has grown and shifted a bit since its infancy. While I do still offer custom resume writing (to medical professionals exclusively), I also offer a lot of free content in the areas of career advice, resume and interview prep, etc. I consider myself a career mentor and resume strategist, and I love being able to provide info to nurses who aren’t hearing a lot of this content in school. I update my project board and get a pulse on what’s in progress and what needs to be done.
Once my custom work is done, I catch up on emails — mostly from followers and community members seeking advice. I always invite my blog readers and Instagram followers to connect with me personally. I share what I can with fun Instagram stories, but the real magic happens when I’m able to help someone solve an actual challenge they’re facing with their job search.
12 p.m. I pick the kids up from preschool and we go back home for lunch and nap time (for them!).
12:30 p.m. Our nanny comes over in the early afternoon to give me a little break. Our nanny has been with us since the girls were born. We’ve always had her about 30 to 35 hours per week. When I went part-time at my clinical position, I didn’t want to cut her pay, so we kept her for the same amount of hours, which allowed me extra time to work on my business and also do things like grocery shop without four extra hands putting food in the cart.
2 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. I take a nap from about 2 p.m. - 5 p.m., then I get up, shower, and get ready for work.
6 p.m. My husband gets home from work at about 6 p.m., and I leave by 6:10 p.m. We don’t typically eat dinner as a family on the days that I work at the hospital. It’s usually more of a high-five at the front door. He’ll eat with the girls, and I usually eat a snack on my way in to work — with my coffee.
7 p.m. My shift starts. If I’m working in the emergency observation unit, my shift is usually front-loaded with work. I’ll round on my existing patients and then get started on admissions, which come in steadily until shortly after midnight (or until my census reaches 12 patients).
12:30 a.m. - 1:30 a.m. After all my patients are seen and orders are placed, I’ll start working on documentation. This fluctuates based on our census, and some nights I’m seeing new patients up until 5 a.m.
2 a.m. I take a break for my “lunch,” and then I continue documenting.
5 a.m. Around this time, I start to review labs and tests that have come in overnight and prepare for our unit rounds.
6 a.m. I’ll check in on patients between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. one last time to make sure nothing’s changed in their status and to ensure they don’t need anything else from me.
7 a.m. It’s time for provider change of shift report from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
8:30 a.m. I usually get home and have breakfast with my girls. It’s been a long night, and I’m hungry! I eat two eggs with toast and see them off to school. (Dad takes them to school the mornings after I work.)
9:30 a.m. It’s “bedtime.” I sleep with an eye mask, noise machine, and ear plugs. (If I’m returning to work the next night, I’ll take a tiny dose of melatonin or Unisom, but that’s not necessary tonight.) Our nanny will bring the girls home at noon and care for them all afternoon while I’m sleeping upstairs.
Working nights was a lot more challenging when I was considered a “rotator.” I’d have to work three nights per month, and it was really difficult to stay awake all night and not fall asleep driving home. Now that I’ve been working nights for a while, it’s easier to jump back into the routine. That said, it still takes a toll on me; the day after my final night shift, my body feels off, my temper is short, and I have a headache. I endearingly call it the “night shift hangover.”
3 p.m. I’m up for the “day.” If I were working the following night, I’d have slept until 5 p.m. But now I’ll try to flip back to a daytime schedule until I go to bed at about 10 p.m. I tend to go to bed for the night between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., regardless of whether I’ve worked the night before or not.
8:30 a.m. I have our nanny come on days when I’m not working so I can get out of the house, have alone time, and get some of the household errands done without an entourage. Since the girls only go to school two days a week, I’ve purposely created my schedule so I don’t work the nights before they have school. The nanny usually comes over from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on my days off. With two young kids, just going to Target by myself feels like a treat!
I fill this time by taking care of the house, my business, and myself. Once a month, I see a chiropractor and get a massage. Once a week, I’ll shop for groceries. Oftentimes, I’ll meet my husband for lunch near his office. And, of course, Target is a regular outing for me. If my household tasks are done, I fill in the time with work on my business, usually at Starbucks or Panera. I enjoy this work so much that I cherish the alone time and look forward to it.
11 a.m. I review my budget and monthly business goals for The Résumé Rx. Right now, I’m learning a new goal system to ensure I’m paying myself first as opposed to reinvesting all my profit back into the business. Since I’ll be out on maternity leave soon, my goal is to make about $5,000 per month to support my business expenses and take a regular “paycheck” of about $2,000 per month. I’m aiming to reach this income milestone before the baby is born and during the time off from my clinical job during my traditional maternity leave.
Figuring out finances within the first year of business is tough. I’d eventually like to be able to fund a chunk of our regular household living expenses for my three months of leave from clinical work so we can maximize our retirement savings.
Financial freedom and time freedom are huge motivators for me. Because I strive to take about 50 percent of my business revenue as owner’s compensation, ideally, I would love to generate $8,000 per month through The Résumé Rx. That way, my income would be $4,000 monthly. This is my big, long-term, lofty goal. While maintaining my clinical practice is important to me, I’d really like to have a per diem clinical job (working eight to 16 hours per week on average) while scaling The Résumé Rx to more of a full-time income.
3 p.m. I take over with the girls and plan our dinner for the night. It’s my first night at home this week, so I’m looking forward to some family time.
7 p.m. I try not to do any work on nights off, so after putting the girls to bed, I consider this a “recovery night” for me. I might spend time with my husband and unwind with some mindless TV. Since I’m flipping back to a day schedule, I try to go back to bed at a normal hour to get my body back into rhythm.
6:30 a.m. Just like Monday, I wake up with the girls, take them to school, and work on The Résumé Rx. Today, my focus is writing the newsletter and planning our social posts for the next few days. I have a faithful email subscriber list and social media following, and I really enjoy engaging with them.
12 - 5 p.m. Girls, lunch, errands, nap. It’s another work night.
6:10 p.m. I listen to a lot of podcasts while driving to work, which feels a lot like self-care to me. Some of my favorites are the “Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher,” “Young House Love Has a Podcast,” and the “Get Paid Podcast by Claire Pelletreau.” I’m also making my way through various true-crime podcast series - my favorites so far have been “CrimeTown,” “Dr. Death,” and “Dirty John.”
8 p.m. I admit a patient to the emergency observation unit for chest pain. After I interview and examine him, I realize that he told me more information than he told the emergency department. He has risk factors for pulmonary embolism because of his recent surgery, so even though we’re watching him for a cardiac evaluation, I order a CT scan of his chest to ensure he doesn’t have a blood clot.
11 p.m. After seeing my first patient, I’m reminded of why I love my job because it allows me to be exposed to a variety of interesting, medically diverse disease processes and “zebras” (i.e., rare, hard to diagnose conditions). I love the challenge of looking at a patient and determining whether they’re sick within 30 seconds. I also love the opportunity for flexible scheduling because it works well for my family.
3 a.m. Uh oh. It’s an emergency. I leave my charting to go help with a patient who came up to our unit with abdominal pain. She’s spiked a fever and is jaundiced and hypotensive. I order STAT labs, IV fluids, and call the GI fellow because I think she has ascending cholangitis. They agree and take her to the ICU before the OR. I’m glad that I was able to recognize the evolution of her symptoms. But now we have an additional vacancy on our unit, so I need to prepare to do another admission.
8:30 a.m. Home, earplugs, and eye mask are in place, and I’m ready for sleep.
3 p.m. I’m up and transitioning to “mom duty,” playing with the kids and starting dinner before my husband gets home.
6 p.m. The hubby is home, and we enjoy dinner together as a family — a rare treat these days! After dinner, it’s the nightly grind of cleanup and bathtime.
8 p.m. The kids are off to bed, and since it’s an “off night” for me, I indulge in one of my favorite hobbies: reading. I love to read, and I try to read after I’ve put the kids to bed at night. I love novels, especially psychological thrillers, coming-of-age stories, and stories about dystopian societies.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. My husband is known for his excellent pancakes, which is usually how we start a family morning together. We will then venture out to our local grocery store, Wegmans, to do any shopping, and while we’re there we’ll eat lunch in their amazing cafe. We come home so the girls can take a nap (and we often do, too). In the afternoon, we might go for a walk in our neighborhood or head to the playground.
6 - 9 p.m. It’s date night! This doesn’t come around too often, but maybe once every other month or so, we love to go out to eat at a nice restaurant and maybe go to a movie or do some shopping. We do a good job of not talking about the kids during our date time, though we inevitably end up at a kids clothing or toy store to buy them something special.
We might go out to breakfast at our favorite diner. About once a month, we’re fortunate to have one of our parents visit from out of state. We love to visit our local museums and indoor playgrounds for toddlers, but mostly we’re homebodies and happy to spend quality time together with nothing on the schedule.
And that’s a wrap! Keep up with Amanda and her family by following her on Instagram at @theresumerx.
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