How to supercharge your way to success as an NP

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The most difficult part of being a brand new NP is that there is so much you don’t know. As a result, you might feel unworthy, unsure, anxious, or lack confidence in your ability to step into this role as an NP. These feelings are all valid because you are brand new. There is so much you don’t know. School only teaches so much because there is so much that needs covered.

I felt this way too. I didn’t’ really feel ready for practical things like the mechanics of writing a prescription out or how to confidently handle prescribing a new medication for a patient who was taking ten other medications as well without causing a drug interaction. I didn’t feel ready to involuntarily admit a patient into a behavioral health unit if needed due to suicidal intent and plan. I didn’t know how to maintain endurance of seeing patient after patient in short intervals all day, every day.

These things just weren’t taught in school. At least not sufficiently in a way that I felt confident transitioning to practice. It’s an understatement to say I felt unsure in my first few weeks of my first job as an NP.

I stumbled out of my quagmire of unsureness a few weeks into my first job. I was working in a community mental health setting helping underserved patients with complex needs. I realized I needed some extra assistance, mentorship really. I decided to reach out to a psychiatrist I had shadowed during one of my clinical rotations in my MSN program. I remember him being very knowledgeable and open to teaching me. I learned so much during this time and was able to ask any questions I had. I remembered that he was a wealth of information and a great resource.

I asked this psychiatrist if he would be open to meeting with me regularly for ongoing consultation or supervision while I navigated my way during my first NP job. He graciously accepted and I suddenly felt incredibly supported. No longer stumbling alone in my job, I had some reinforcement from a knowledgeable, seasoned provider I could consult with on weekends to discuss my complex patient cases and prescribing questions.

I noticed my confidence starting to increase as the next few weeks and months I learned more than I had learned in quite some time. I felt as though I had supercharged my way to success through doing private supervision with an experienced provider.

Working with a seasoned provider, whether physician or NP, is the single best way to grow your knowledge as a new NP graduate. You shouldn’t necessarily look to your employer to receive mentorship, you should proactively seek it on your own. Private supervision, or consultation, on a regular basis is the key to receiving the support you need early on in your career as an NP.

I was fortunate enough to find a psychiatrist who was willing to provide me regular consultation and feedback on my patients. This was incredibly invaluable and significantly increased my confidence and support within my first year of practice.

This mentorship, and eventually friendship, provided me insight not only on medication management but reassurance in my role and normalized a lot of the challenges I experienced as a provider. Consultation isn’t for NPs only; I think it’s a great support for new physicians and PAs as well.

And if you’re lucky enough, you might find a mentor and ultimately a good friend along the way, too.

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