Tips for Advancing Your Nurse Practitioner CareerAug 02 2021
It can be challenging to figure out how to grow in your field, but you came to the right place. Whether it’s looking for further certifications or getting involved with a professional organization, we have all the best tips for advancing your nurse practitioner career. Take the next step and increase your ability to help your patients!
Focus on Education
More opportunities present themselves if you have more credentials to prove your abilities. Perhaps you are in school or working in a hospital; no matter what stage of the process you are in, consider taking online extension courses to expand your knowledge. Specific certifications will also help if you want to work in a particular nurse practitioner field, like family practice, psychiatry, dermatology or pediatrics.
Aside from how this continued education looks on a resumé, it also keeps you updated in the ever-changing world of medicine. Stay on top of new information and make sure you are always using best practices. If you are the only person who knows a newly implemented technique, people will take notice.
Many of these courses and certifications will come with a price tag, and you should be conscious of that. Investing in your education is one thing, but ensure you watch your wallet. You can advance your career without going into debt.
Join a Professional Organization
Nurse Practitioner organizations work as a form of networking, in which you can connect with other nurse practitioner who have similar interests and specialties. You can form lasting bonds with these colleagues and help each other professionally. An organization like this could furthermore provide you with discounts on certain educational courses, allowing you to grow more while saving money.
Joining a professional nurse practitioner organization can also grant you access to experts you ordinarily would not get. The opportunity to network with leaders in your field can be an invaluable asset for furthering your career goals. Reach out and speak with anyone who you look up to. If they are interested, one of those leaders could even become your mentor and assist you more personally.
There are many types of nurse practitioner organizations; get involved with one that matches your specific occupational dreams. You might even find yourself drawn to leadership in the organization itself, which can turn into a platform for influencing policy. If you think something could be done better, don’t be afraid to speak up. Leading the charge on an issue that changes the game can only be a good thing.
Find a Mentor
Finding the right person to mentor you can be a real challenge, and it’s not something that can come about without significant time spent in the field. Remember, a good mentor-mentee relationship goes both ways. Once you’ve found that person with whom you share rapport, let them guide you through your training and to the next level. They’ve made it, and so can you.
Remember to talk to your mentor about the highs and lows of whichever field you’re interested in— once your relationship is established, of course. A mentor with significant experience will know why the job is great and why it is challenging. You can prepare yourself for the hurdles ahead by having candid conversations with your mentor.
Networking Is Key
Networking extends beyond joining a nurse practitioner organization or finding a mentor, although those are significant first steps. Networking events are a sure way to find other people in your field who are as motivated as you are. Conferences are another opportunity for you to hear from experts and meet new people, and you can find them in any major city.
Don’t overthink networking, either. It may sound like a complex task or a scary word, but it can be as simple as giving a new colleague your contact information. It’s all about building a group of people you can go to with ideas or questions about the world of healthcare.
Ensure You’re Insured
When you’re working to get established as a professional nurse practitioner, the last thing you need is a malpractice lawsuit. Through no fault of your own, you can find yourself involved in a malpractice suit, and that can seriously impact your career and your life. More and more, nurse practitioners are being pulled into these lawsuits whether or not they hold any responsibility in the case.
Many nurse practitioners don’t realize their employer’s insurance plan includes gaps in coverage. If your malpractice case falls into one of these gaps, your employer could refuse to cover you. Consider acquiring a malpractice insurance plan for nurse practitioners. to ensure you’re covered and avoid unnecessary hindrances to your career. Family members of your patients can easily misplace their frustrations, so there is no shame in protecting yourself, just in case.
There is so much that goes into being a great nurse practitioner that you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is entirely fixable. Make sure you are allowing for a healthy work/life balance to avoid the possibility of burnout. With online courses, networking, and staying involved in your organization, you might find it difficult to take time to breathe.
Finding that time is crucial. Take your breaks throughout the day and leave the work at work. You know better than anyone that tensions can run high in hospital settings. The family members of your patient are coping with intense stress, and it can be easy to forget you are a human being, too. In those moments, practice controlled breathing and remind yourself their anger is not personal.
You can’t take care of your patients if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Proper sleeping and eating habits are a priority, and you might want to give therapy some serious thought. Stress can easily build to a breaking point in this field, so be aware of that and take steps to avoid it. Healthcare, more than almost any other career, requires both personal and professional competency to be effective.
There are so many tips for advancing your nurse practitioner career, but they are all critically important. Use your time wisely, and you can take yourself anywhere. Just remember to better yourself first, and the career advancements will follow.