So, you Want to Become a Nurse Practitioner?
Recently I've been having conversations with people who are interested in a career as a nurse practitioner. Whether the person I'm speaking with is an RN or MA colleague, or someone who is looking to "switch careers", I get super pumped when having these conversations as there is so much opportunity within this field. From providing clinical patient care, to starting your own business, to being an agent for change, there are endless opportunities for nurse practitioners.
However, taking the steps to become a NP aren't easy. It's a long road ahead and involves university applications, endless studying, countless exams, licensing and so much more. If you're still on the fence about becoming a nurse practitioner, ask yourself the following questions which may help to provide you with a bit more clarity.
Do you want to be a nurse? If you're going to be a nurse practitioner, you must be a registered nurse first. There is no way around this. If you don't actually want to be a nurse, then perhaps a profession as a nurse practitioner is not for you.
Do you like helping people? Your job is to help others in need, day in and day out. Whether it's medically, psychosocially, or just being an ear to listen to their woes. If you don't enjoy helping others, chances are you won't enjoy being a NP.
Do you have empathy? I was recently speaking with an MA colleague of mine who is interested in furthering her education to become a healthcare provider. She mentioned that she didn't have empathy for the patients, which caught me off guard, especially as she was planning to stay in the medical field. If you're going to be a healthcare provider, NP or other specialty, you must have empathy for your patients. If not, another field may be your calling.
Do you like being challenged? As a nurse practitioner you will continuously be challenged by medical issues and complex cases. You will often have to think outside the box, and you'll probably be pushed out of your comfort zone many times throughout your career. If you think you'll enjoy the challenges of medicine then a career as a NP will keep you on your toes!
I hope these questions have given you food for thought if you are not yet sure you want to be a nurse practitioner. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know.