Reflecting the growing demand for healthcare services and the increasing number of nurse practitioner private practices, the role of nurse practitioner ranked first on U.S. News & World Report’s “2023 Best Health Care Jobs” and second on its “100 Best Jobs of 2023.” These rankings are based off a number of factors including demand, salary, opportunities for growth, and more.
While we celebrate this recognition for the many different nurse practitioner careers, we know that some NPs may not always feel like they have the best job. With burnout rates at all-time highs, the system is failing the very clinicians it relies on to support high patient volumes associated with an aging population and the lingering impacts of the COVID pandemic.
How To Become a Nurse Practitioner Who Loves Your Job
We encourage you to remember that the role of nurse practitioner is one of high importance and incredible value. If you don’t feel like you have the top career, consider what steps you might take to capture once again that enthusiasm.
Years ago, when you asked yourself, “How can I become a nurse practitioner?” you likely did so with a sense of optimism. In reality, you were asking yourself, “How can I elevate my education to better care for my patients?”
So, what are the job options for nurse practitioners looking to rekindle their love for their career?
Focus on Professional Growth
Professional growth is different for everyone, but the underlying motivation is the same. We all want to be the best version of ourselves, professionally and personally. Often, professional and personal growth go hand-in-hand. In addition, the abilities and skills required to become a nurse practitioner frequently overlap with the abilities and skills that make one a better friend or family member. Career options for nurse practitioners tend to increase as they further refine their skills.
To grow professionally takes time and dedication. With the busy schedule associated with the role, what is a nurse practitioner to do?
Set goals. Start three short-term, three midterm, and three long-term goals. These goals should be challenging, but realistic so that you can take pride in your accomplishments. Examples of these goals could be:
Short-term (Around one year or less)
- Update your resume so that if opportunities for new nurse practitioner jobs pop up, you are ready for them.
- Join a professional organization like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or your state-level association.
- Begin each day with a short meditation so that you start your day in a positive headspace.
Midterm (One to three years)
- Become involved in a professional organization. Joining is easy, but making the time to go to events, attend webinars, and network with members amplifies your growth.
- Complete five additional hours of CE training, going above the minimum requirements.
- Begin researching private practice requirements for NPs.
Long-term (Three plus years)
- Become an elected member of an NP professional organization to increase your impact on nurse practitioner careers.
- Share your knowledge and experience by being a preceptor for at least two nurse practitioner students.
- Open your own NP-led private practice and elevate patient care.
Build Your Community
A sense of community in your care facilities and with those in different nurse practitioner careers helps to emphasize that you are not alone. Additionally, by working together, you and your cohort of clinicians share best practices and business ideas that elevate patient care.
This is another area where your professional successes fuel personal enrichment. Often, the people who start as coworkers or fellow organization members become friends as time goes on.
Support outside of work is also important. Talk to your spouse and/or other family members to help them better understand you and the challenges you face at work. This will better equip them to provide long-term support.
Not only would these actions have an immediate positive impact, they also are great examples of taking initiative and investing in your professional growth.
One of the most fulfilling experiences is to guide those who are following in your footsteps, passing along knowledge from years of experience. As a nurse practitioner working in a practice or system, you can do this in a few ways. First, you can work with new hires or less experienced clinicians within your practice, hospital, or health system, training them on practice operations, patient care, technology use and more. This can be an easy way to support professional growth for both you and your mentee.
Alternatively, you can consider nurse precepting as a way to advance the profession – and make some additional money as well. There are a number of services online that can connect you with students in need of mentorship from an experienced clinician.
You also can lift others by providing excellent care to patients of all ages. Nurse practitioner schooling and clinical experience have helped you develop your skills in patient education and attentive patient care. Use these skills to improve patient outcomes and enhance the patient experience.
Beyond providing training, guidance, and patient care, you can lift others every day by being a positive presence in the workplace. Small gestures like bringing in bagels, covering a coworker’s shift, or complimenting their new scrubs can have a significant impact on their day – and often results in a “helper’s high,” improving your mood for the day as well.
Consider Independent Practice
The pursuit of independent practice shouldn’t feel like a last resort or a desperate attempt to flee the bureaucracy associated with systems. Entering private practice is one of many nurse practitioner career options, and is a significant, life-altering event that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But it often results in lifelong pride and satisfaction for successful NP business owners.
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of seeing your name on the front of the building, establishing your brand, and marketing your practice. Perhaps you’ve identified an underserved area or niche offering. Or, maybe you’re looking for more autonomy in business operations and patient care.
Whatever your reasoning, opening an independent practice is an incredibly rewarding feat. You get to enjoy flexibility and improved earning opportunities, while your patients and community enjoy attentive care and your unique approach to patient wellness.
Before running out and securing an LLC, there is much to consider as a nurse practitioner private practice owner. What services will you offer? Will patients be able to visit you in a brick-and-mortar practice? Will you offer telehealth services? Will you start off full time or transition slowly as your panel grows?
While these are decisions you’ll need to make as an independent nurse practitioner, business consultants like those with NP Advantage have decades of practice operations and growth experience and the business solutions needed to help you navigate entrepreneurship.