Back to School! 5 Tips for an Enjoyable Nurse Practitioner Program Experience

 

School supplies have begun to line the isles of the Target and Wal-Mart stores near you.  The malls are frantically marking down swimsuits and shorts to make room for Fall boots and jeans.  It is time to start thinking about Back to School.  Are you ready?

For those of you starting a nurse practitioner program this year, anxiety and anticipation are high.  Will you have time to balance friends, family and your nurse practitioner program?  Will you land a good clinical placement or will your nurse practitioner clinicals have you driving 90 minutes each way?  Will the spotty internet connection at your house shut down in the middle of one of your online exams?  These are all valid concerns (especially as I experienced them all in my own nurse practitioner program). 

Not to worry, you will make it through.  What can you do to make the most of your nurse practitioner program experience?

  1. Get to Know Other Nurse Practitioner Students.  Almost everything in life is more fun with a friend.  Make a concentrated effort to get to know a few individuals in each of your courses.  This will help ensure success in your education as you will be able to study with others, help each other with assignments and learn to navigate the nurse practitioner profession together.  You may also make some lifelong friendships. 
  2. Study Hard.  If you are entering a nurse practitioner program, I assume you have a passion for health.  Don't just study the required material for your courses, do additional learning on your own.  Medical journals and websites have excellent articles about different diseases and treatments.  Find a good journal or website to follow and do some additional reading once or twice a week to help further your learning.  This will significantly benefit you in your future nurse practitioner employment. 
  3. Be an Excellent Clinical Student.  Your preceptors will see your ability as a clnical student as a predictor of how well you will do as a nurse practitioner.  If you are engaged and reliable in your clincal experience they may write you recommendations for future employers or even hire you themselves.  Clinical preceptorships are often a great place to start when looking for nurse practitioner employment in the future so place high importance on your clinical performance. 
  4. Meet Your Professors.  It can be easy to slide into the back of the classroom each day and casually sip your morning coffee while you listen to a lecture.  You are now in a professional program so take a more active role in your education.  Getting to know your professors will result in job referrals and recommendations.  You will need these when you graduate from your nurse practitioner program.
  5. Have Fun!  Yes, I know, this is the typical cheesy, lighthearted lfinal point on a top-five list, but it is good advice.  I look back on the years in my nurse practitioner program as some of the best in my life.  I made lasting friendships, and took advntage of living in a new city.  I ate at new restraunts with friends, took weekend trips and spent time with friends.  You can only study so much, right?  Despite the lack of income and the busy lifestyle being a student can bring, remain hopeful and excited for your new career. 

Are you starting a nurse practitioner program this Summer or Fall?  We would love to hear from you!  E-mail erin.tolbert@midlevelu.com to share your experiences on our blog.