Nurse Practitioner Programs are tough. They are demanding of your mental and physical energy and most of all your time. How do you make it through?
1. Make friends. Having a few good friends in your nurse practitioner program will make a huge difference in your next few years. You can help each other with homework, give advice about clinical sites and have someone to meet for happy hour after class!
2. Get to know at least two of your professors. Even if you don’t especially like or care to know your professors, make an effort to have a few who know your name and a little bit about you. This will come in handy when you need recommendations for your first job and also ensure that if you encounter any problems getting a clinical site, getting into a class etc. you will have a faculty advocate.
3. Make the most of your clinical experience. Clinical preceptors serve as wonderful references when you are later looking for employment as they have directly worked with you in the clinical setting. Clinical preceptors are also a great source of contacts for future employment. Work hard in your clinical sites and they may recommend you to a friend or even hire you themselves.
4. Be an active learner. As with any type of schooling, it is tempting to complete the minimum class requirements and move on to other things. Your nurse practitioner program is the time to learn more! Set aside extra time each day to do some additional research. Keep a list of questions you have from class or clinical and look them up on your own time when you get home. Subscribe to a monthly nurse practitioner journal and start reading. You will never regret this- especially the first time you are working alone in the clinic, trust me.
5. Don’t stress…enjoy! You are embarking on a new career path. Look forward to furthering your education. Although your life is about to get very busy, using your mind in a new way and expanding your social circle will add richness and enjoyment to your life.