What Job Should Your Get While Earning Your N.P. Education?
Hollis Forster, RNC-NP
Is your ultimate goal to be a nurse practitioner? Are you starting with an RN, working for awhile and then moving on to a nurse practitioner license? If your life includes the need to help support the family (or yourself), you will need to decide what kind of job to have in order to give you the best experience to further your goals and ultimately make you a better nurse practitioner. Let’s explore some of the aspects of nursing work and nurse practitioner work that will help you make this decision.
First, what kind of nurse practitioner degrees or certificates are there? The choice of specialty will help determine what kind of position you look for to gain needed experience or skill. There are many nurse practitioner licenses you could consider, they include:
• Family nurse practitioner (FNP)
• Pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP)
• Adult nurse practitioner (ANP)
• Women’s health care nurse practitioner (WHCNP)
• Occupational health nurse practitioner (OHNP)
• Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
• Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
The choice also depends on you knowing how an NP functions as opposed to an RN. That is, to know how they interface with patients with doctors and their legal scope of practice. With this information, you can determine what kind of job would support your development and broaden your experience in areas that will be useful to you when you are ready to put your dream career into action.
If you know which specialty you are aiming toward, you can search for a job that is in the specialty. An example of this maybe an RN position in a woman’s health center where WHCNPs see the patients. You may be functioning as support staff, but it may be worth it to learn how the out-patient setting works and to watch the NPs in action.
Remember, though, that NPs function with a lot more autonomy than RNs. They practice independently and in consultation of physicians. Scope of practice varies from State to State, but needing to establish a relationship with community physicians will be necessary. They also may run their business without administrative support. So, other jobs that could help develop the skills you need to be successful could include those that will engender this independence and self-support. In some ways, then, business experience, marketing experience and knowledge of financial systems can help you. Basic knowledge of these areas will be very helpful in developing a practice on your own and having it be successful. Of course, running a medical practice can be different than managing a retail business, so gaining knowledge, specifically of the business of medicine will be crucial.
Keeping all these thoughts in mind, here are some choices to consider:
• Working as an RN in a pediatric office, an ambulatory care center, a women’s health center or an OB-GYN office.
• Gaining experience as an RN in a small office in order to become familiar with all the business systems of a medical practice.
• Hospice or home health work would offer an opportunity to interface more directly with the physicians of the community, helping you to strengthen skills and build relationships.
• Working in a field outside of medicine that would support your experience with common business practices and skill with interfacing with the public.
As you consider where you will work while getting your Nurse Practitioner license, consider the areas you, personally, need to strengthen in order to thrive as a successful, productive provider of quality services for your community.