As a new nurse practitioner, I faced a number of challenges after graduation. One was furthering my learning. My days in the clinic were packed and while I was able to get patient care questions answered for the most part, there was little time to adequately internalize and understand this new clinical knowledge in a way I could retain. Not to mention, when I arrived home in the evenings exhausted, reading research articles and studying up on my own were out of the question. My mind by that point in the day was pretty much mush.
Furthering my education beyond what I had received in my nurse practitioner program was essential for becoming more proficient in my practice. My foundational knowledge needed to go deeper if I wished to provide the best possible care for my patients. I craved more knowledge about disease, pharmacology and guidelines for care. I envied those who had been in practice for many years and seemed always to know what to do even in the most complex clinical situations.
My first nurse practitioner job was also not ideal in that the practice where I worked was very volume driven. The physician owner valued seeing a large number of patients in a short amount of time. Not only was this frustrating and left me feeling like I was falling behind as an inexperienced new grad, it wasn’t conducive to learning. During some shifts I was alone in the clinic without backup, an anxiety-provoking experience for a new grad.
Based on these experiences, I always thought there must be a better way for new nurse practitioners to enter practice. Ready for more than a preceptorship, but not quite prepared for complete independence, NP residencies are a great way to accomplish this goal. New nurse practitioners could use a little backup.
1. Supportive Sites – Facilities participating in MMU know what being a new grad looks like. They understand the challenges that inexperienced NPs face. And, they have a plan in place to address these hurdles. Nurse practitioners participating in MMU see fewer patients per hour (usually starting at about one per hour) giving them adequate time to learn while providing patient care. They also work with a mentor or mentors who are experienced providers that are up for answering questions and providing assistance throughout the day.
2. Curriculum – MMU gives nurse practitioners the opportunity to continue their didactic education in conjunction with their first year of practice. The MMU experience kicks off with a continuing education conference in Nashville where we practice skills like suturing, minor office procedures and ECG interpretation in addition to hearing presentations on other topics. The education continues in our weekly, live online sessions where we hear from a speaker that presents on a specific clinical topic. From diagnosis and management of abdominal pain in pediatric patients to considerations for prescribing to patients with chronic kidney disease, the robust MMU curriculum addresses common and complex issues you can expect to encounter in practice.
Always one up for an adventure and putting as much purpose as possible into a project, I decided that a great way for NPs to enter into practice would be to work with underserved patient populations. This gives nurse practitioners a chance to truly make a difference as they kick off their careers.