3 Ways NP Students Should Plan Ahead

As a nurse practitioner student you are understandably overwhelmed.  Fitting in clinical hours, exams and coursework not to mention friends, family and keeping your home somewhat in order has your days jam-packed.  It is important to put some method to your madness during your time as a NP student keeping what is most important in mind- your future career.  What can you do during your nurse practitioner program to help secure a job quickly after graduation?

1. Get to Know Your Professors

It can be tempting to sit in the back of your classroom browsing Facebook while halfheartedly listening to lectures on nursing theory.  I know, I have been there.  But, it's time to put down the iPad and pay attention.  Even if you aren't interested in or think the content of your courses is necessary for your future career, forming relationships with your professors is invaluable.  Participate in your classes and make an effort to get to know faculty.  Visit their office hours once in a while, even if you don't have a specific question.  If you attend an online NP program, getting your name out among faculty will be more difficult but still worthwhile.  Your professors and nursing school faculty are able to provide valuable connections and references which may be the key in landing your first nurse practitioner job

2. Make Connections through Clinical Placements

Clinical hours are by far the most important part of your nurse practitioner program.  They are a crash course in the real world application of your new medical knowledge.  While your nursing school faculty may be beneficial in helping you procure your first NP position, clinical preceptors will prove even more invaluable.  These physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants almost always have connections with other providers.  Before each of your clinical rotations ends, ask your preceptor for the names of a few providers or clinics they would recommend contacting when you begin your job search.  Ask if you can use their name to establish credibility.  Keep in touch with former clinical preceptors periodically to remind them to alert you of any future NP employment openings.  The key to this job finding strategy is, of course, to work hard and prove yourself worthy of a recommendation during your clinical hours. 

3. Focus on Real World Course Content

Nurse practitioner programs present a wide array of content.  From nursing theory to advanced pharmacology, you have an endless amount of material to learn.  When you find yourself in a time crunch, focus on material with practical applications.  Unless you are planning a career in the academic realm, nursing theory knowledge won't be as useful as clinical content such as diagnosis and management of hypertension when you enter practice.  Focus on mastering content with practical applications rather than extraneous courses.  Yes, you do need to complete these classes in order to graduate but work harder on content that will have a lasting impact on your career

NP's, do you have any tips for nurse practitioner students?  Share your advice by commenting below!