How to Set Up a Nurse Practitioner Job Shadowing Opportunity

Before investing your time and money into becoming a nurse practitioner, it's important you do a little research to make sure the career is right for you.  But, a Google search can only offer limited insight into the life of an NP.  The best way to decide if the nurse practitioner career is a good fit for you?  Job shadow.

Job shadowing offers first-hand experience with the NP career allowing you to step into the life of a nurse practitioner for a day.  Job shadowing helps you decide if you like the NP role, which specialty suits your personality best and gives insight into what working in the medical field is really like.  While job shadowing is the obvious first step in your path toward the NP career, it can be difficult finding a nurse practitioner who's up for hosting you in their clinic.  Here are some practical steps you can take to find an NP willing to give you your first glimpse into the nurse practitioner career.

1. Ask nurse practitioners you know to let you accompany them to work for a day

If you know a nurse practitioner, even a little bit, you've got it easy.  Simply ask if they would be willing to let you tag along during their work day, or at least for a few hours.  Some clinics and hospitals require approval before bringing outsiders in, so don't be discouraged if your first attempt is met with a "No" answer.  Keep asking your direct connections if they would be willing to host you as a prospective NP.

2. Use your connections

The number of NPs is rapidly increasing and someone among your friends, family or work connections surely knows a nurse practitioner.  Use your connections to identify an NP or two.  Reach out letting them know of your career goals asking if they would allow you to accompany them for a day or two on the job.  You will find most nurse practitioners are very receptive to these types of requests as they are excited to share their careers with others.

3. Reach out to local clinics

If you can't find an NP to job shadow personally or through connections, don't despair.  Buck up and start calling on local clinics.  The best way to do this is in person as a phone call is easily ignored and may go unanswered.  Prepare a short resume explaining your career goals, walk in to local clinics and ask to speak with the nurse practitioner on staff.  If you can't get an in-person conversation, leave your resume behind and request that the NP call you later.  While this is more of a long-shot than finding a job shadowing opportunity through friends and family, several readers have been successful with this method.  So, be brave, get out there, and find yourself an NP to shadow.

What about HIPAA?  

Confidentiality is certainly a concern with and medical job shadowing opportunity.  Make sure the nurse practitioner you job shadow asks their patients permission for you to enter the room before observing their visit.  While most patients are very receptive of prospective NPs, some have sensitive issues to discuss with their provider and may want to keep their visit private.

Would you be willing to host a prospective NP for a day?