Should you pay off your student loans early?

Student loans are a great option for nurse practitioners who need assistance paying for their education. In some cases, it may be the only way to do so. Most have low-interest rates and affordable monthly payments spread out over a long period of time. There are also a plethora of options for making repayment more manageable. But even if the terms are easy to meet and the maturity date isn’t for another thirty years, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to pay them off as quickly as possible. By the same token, ensuring a quick payoff doesn’t mean you should sacrifice saving money each month either. So which is the priority, paying off your loans faster or building up your savings account?

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Why Your Preceptor is Failing You as a NP Student

...and Why You Should Think Differently About It 

I had an interesting conversation with a nurse practitioner student the other day. She was disappointed in her assigned preceptor. She felt like her preceptor didn't give her much autonomy in patient care and took little time to explain what she was doing and how she was making decisions. I find that dissatisfaction with preceptors is common among NP students. As an experienced NP helping out new grads, I've also seen the other side of the equation. 

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Can You Work as a NP Before Passing Your Certification Exam?

Once you've graduated from your nurse practitioner program, the wait to take your certification exam can present a significant delay for your job search. If you aren't yet certified, you can't start working, right? Fortunately, some states have recognized this inconvenient setback and provided new NP grads with a way to start their careers sooner. 

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How to Use a Compensation Levels Document

Last week we reviewed the pros and cons of comp structures for nurse practitioners and physician assistants including the innovative compensation levels system . Today, we'll discuss the compensation levels document in a bit more detail. For those of you thinking about implementing the system in your hospital or clinic, here's a little F.A.Q. 

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An FBI Hostage Negotiator Gives Advice for Getting the NP Salary You Want

I love action movies. Anything with war, drug trafficking, a hero and heroine uniting in dramatic fashion despite a spray of machine gun fire - yes, that's the flick for me. So, when a family member suggested I read former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss' book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, I was game. I figured that if I was going to read a book on professional development, it might as well be one authored by someone with some interesting stories and utmost credibility. With experience in high-stakes negotiation with bank robbers, terrorists, and international kidnappers, Voss fit the bill. 

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Which States Allow Nurse Practitioners to Prescribe Suboxone?

Nurse practitioners are newly allowed to prescribe buprenorphine (Suboxone) as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act signed into law by former President Obama. While the Act augments nurse practitioners' scope of practice from a federal standpoint, some states are more limiting in the freedoms they allow NPs. In which states can nurse practitioners actually prescribe Suboxone?

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Clinical Pearls for Otic Foreign Body Removal

When I began working in the emergency department, I was surprised the first time I encountered a patient presenting with a case of insect-in-the-ear. Really? It just crawled in there?! Then, the scenario played itself out over and over again. Whether it's an exploring insect, a bead, or a pea that makes its way into a patient's ear canal, as a nurse practitioner you may find yourself removing otic foreign bodies from time to time. While the procedure is usually quite simple, if done improperly serious complications can result. 

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Structuring Compensation for Nurse Practitioners: Pros & Cons

Do you struggle with structuring compensation for the nurse practitioners and physician assistants in your practice? There's a general lack of consistency related to advance practice provider compensation and opinions vary as to what should be best practice. Some employers pay a flat hourly rate or salary and may or may not give the opportunity for an additional bonus. Other employers structure pay based on productivity either with RVUs or some other revenue-linked metric. The way compensation is structured can have a number of unintended consequences for your practice. What are the pros and cons of these compensation models?

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Strategies for Mastering a NP Specialty Transition that Actually Work

I kicked off my nurse practitioner career in primary care. Two years in, I decided it was time to make the transition to emergency medicine which had always been my goal. The transition was not easy I felt like a new graduate all over again. As nurse practitioners, our schooling prepares us for a broad range of specialties. There are very few formal education options for NPs interested in a particular niche of medicine, so we learn on the job. 

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4 Common Charting Inconsistencies and How to Fix Them

Wouldn't it be nice if you could see patients without worrying about documentation? I often lament that box-checking is a soul-sucking part of my job as a nurse practitioner. But, documentation is a must for NPs and has its benefits as part of patient care (i.e. remembering where you left off at a follow-up visit). Protecting ourselves legally is, of course, another reason charting is an essential part of the patient visit. Unfortunately, as nurse practitioners, we're often in a hurry and are prone to some easy-to-remedy documentation errors. Where are your charts falling short?

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How Do NP and PA Salaries Compare?

A state-by-state snapshot

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants perform very similar, if not identical, roles in most states. In fact, in the emergency department where I work, NPs and PAs are hired interchangeably. While this is true in many geographic areas, in certain instances state law, Medicaid guidelines, and/or the job market lead to wage disparities between nurse practitioners and physician assistants. NPs might be paid more than PAs and vice versa. How do the salaries for these individuals compare in your area?

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Attention NJ New Grads: NP Residency Opportunity

Alright, you don't have to be from New Jersey to apply for this nurse practitioner residency opportunity. If you're an NP (or soon-to-be) looking for an East Coast opportunity, we just might have the right fit for you. The facility offering this residency opportunity in New Jersey is looking for a new grad motivated to provide community-based, affordable and accessible health services to an underserved population. 

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