If you're on the hunt for your first NP job or pivoting in a new one, give some thought to these 3 elements of your pre-search.
1)Timing. Ask yourself when do you want to start working? Whatever that date or time frame is, know that landing that ideal job takes time.
Starting your first NP role takes longer, feels like eons longer, than getting a start as an RN. There are a lot of steps, moving parts, and involved parties to make your dream keep you from feeling like you’re living a daymare.
All that considered, start thinking about your job 6-9 months before you want to start. That seems like a lot of time to plan ahead but trust me it’s better to know the expectations to curb the frustration and headache. Because honestly, the one thing that you can't make move faster is the government and time. Ok, that’s two things but you know I’m right.
So, if you’re a summer grad, and starting your looking for a job after graduation and boards, expect to start working by fall/early winter.
Undoubtedly, you hear of those that secured jobs before they even finish their last clinical. And it may be a prospective job that they have lined up, hopefully with a contract in hand. But likely, that job is pending board certification and credentialing.
2) Type of work. Consider what you want to do with your new role as an advanced practice provider. If you thought the opportunities as an RN are immense, they’re even more abundant for you as an NP. It’s true friend! You can absolutely do so much and go from one seemingly unrelated field of nursing to a completely different role as a provider.
There are jobs in acute care as a hospitalist, outpatient in family practice, women’s health, pediatrics, geriatrics. At specialty clinics such as orthopedics, neurology, nephrology, urology, endocrinology, rheumatology, gastroenterology, dermatology, cardiology, pulmonology. Emergency medicine, surgery, pre-admission testing, home health, telehealth and remote work. Education, entrepreneurship, leadership. That short list barely scratches the surface of the myriad of positions nurse practitioners can hold.
The key is to make it make sense. Look for positions that support where you are now or where you want to be. You may not know exactly what you want your life to look like in 5 or 10 years but you likely know what you don’t want. For me, I wasn’t sure what speciality or specific area I wanted, but I knew it had to be with adults, the older the better, and the schedule had to be flexible. That criteria helped me to get a little more focused on how I wanted to start my career. Too often, we take a job and make the job fit our lives instead of our lives fitting the job. No doubt, you will have to make some changes to accommodate your life as a new nurse practitioner but make it so the transition is seamless for you and your family.
3) Training. There’s a limiting belief being spread that your RN experience doesn’t contribute at all to your position as a new graduate advanced practice nurse. Whether this is regarding salary or otherwise, your experience matters. And if you dig a little bit deeper and look back at your time as a nurse, I bet you were like me and spent your time doing more than simply just patient care. Sometimes your experience as a nurse directly influences your decision to become a nurse practitioner. Maybe you’re craving more autonomy or a different patient relationship that carries more impact. Other times, your nursing experience can cause you to venture out into something completely different as an NP.
Remember that there are benefits and limitations to your speciality. Sure, becoming a family nurse practitioner is “marketable” because you can do a lot with it. But so is a speciality. You want to relate your past experiences to your future career track. In life, everything doesn’t have to match, but you can make things go together. For example, say you’re a PICU nurse completing your FNP and want to pursue a position in gastroenterology. On the surface, those fields and interests may seem unrelated and it may seem near impossible to get a job in the GI space. But what if you have Crohns or took care of a family member who had GI related issues. Do you see how you can link your experience to your potential career?
You’ll learn that all clinical experiences are not created equal. Use that to your advantage. During your clinical training, find out early on what your preceptors specialty or strengths are. If your preceptor is family medicine but has strong experience and training in ortho, and you’re pursuing a position in orthopedics post graduation, focus on those cases and learn as much as you can.
Having a clear timeline expectation, considering the type of work opportunities, and focusing your training are 3 ideas to consider when you’re on the hunt for potential partnerships as a new nurse practitioner.
When you're ready pair these tips with a great resume.
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