You have completed the long and arduous training process. You have your degrees, your license, and your clinical experience. Now you are ready to search for your first nurse practitioner (NP) job. Get ready for what could prove to be the most exciting job search of your career. Finding that first ever job is an experience many NPs never forget.
The first thing to know is that the rules are changing in many states. Where the thought of an NP practicing independent of physician supervision wasn’t heard of 20 years ago, more states are giving their NPs more freedom. You may have more opportunities to do the kind of work you prefer if you expand your search to include multiple states.
With that in mind, here are some tips for that first ever job search, complements of Health Jobs Nationwide:
1. Stick with What You Know
You have undoubtedly received some specialized training. Maybe you did extensive work with pediatrics; maybe much of your clinical training focused on primary care. Whatever you know best is what you should stick with for your first job. Now is not the time to change your area of practice or take on a new role for which you haven’t been trained. There will be plenty of time for both in the future.
2. Plan to Stick around
One of your greatest assets as an NP deserving of independent practice is time spent working. For this first job, plan to stick around for a while. Do not take the first job you can find in hopes of using it as a steppingstone to another position three months from now. Plan to spend at least one year in whatever position you take.
Committing yourself to a full year allows you to concentrate on professional development rather than being distracted by looking for another job. Sticking around will also give you a chance to get grounded. You need that time because working in the real world is quite different from anything you experienced during training.
3. Ask About the Supervising Physician
If you are planning to take a job requiring physician supervision, be sure to ask about your supervisor. Is the physician on-site? If so, is he or she accessible? And if not, how do you maintain contact with someone supervising from another location?
All of these things matter because they will affect your day-to-day work. You might not be up to the task of working with an off-site supervisor. On the other hand, this might be just the kind of challenge you are looking for. Just know what you’re getting into before you take a job.
4. Ask About Orientation
Are you willing to start your first NP job with absolutely no orientation? If not, ask about it during the interview process. The last thing you want is to walk into work on that first day and be expected to immediately start seeing patients. It is enough to overwhelm some new NPs who were not ready to be thrown into the fire.
Of course, you might be the type of person for whom this is no big deal. You are confident enough to start seeing patients without two or three days of hand holding. That’s great. You might want to look specifically for jobs that don’t offer orientation so that you can get right to work.
NP jobs are out there. Just remember that your first ever job search will present you with a lot of opportunities. Some will be suitable for you and others will not be. Only you know the difference.