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How to Radiate Confidence as a New Nurse Practitioner

Posted on June 1, 2018   |   by   |   Job Seekers, New Grads, Professional Development

Does it feel like you’re caught in a confidence catch-22? Right at the moment when you need the confidence to land your first Nurse Practitioner job, you’re facing the biggest leap in your career. We explain why you should believe in yourself now more than ever.

This month, we’re kicking off a new blog series specifically for new grad nurse practitioners. As our “graduation gift to you” I want to share the keys to be successful, right from the start, including how to have confidence as a new Nurse Practitioner. Stay with us for the month of June, and we’ll talk orientation, salary, interview survival tips, and more!

Finding Confidence as a New Nurse Practitioner

Today, I want to focus on an area of leadership that is often taken for granted, and that’s confidence. Every leader needs the self-confidence to make decisions and act in the face of uncertainty. Displaying confidence not only strengthens your own resolve, it also encourages and empowers your colleagues and patients.

At this point you may be thinking, “sure, that sounds great. But what if I don’t feel totally confident in my abilities as a new Nurse Practitioner?” Good news! It’s completely normal to feel that way. An article in Topics in Advanced Nursing titled “The Impostor Phenomenon in New Nurse Practitioner Graduates” explains that NP graduates often “express feelings of being an ‘imposter’ or ‘fake’ as they move from the role of student to professional NP.”

The first step to addressing these feelings is to acknowledge them. The reality is that you’re in a period of learning and transition. Although you have the education and skills to become an NP, you don’t yet have the breadth of experience to feel confident. When I talk to nursing students, I offer this rule of thumb: in your first month on the job, you’ll know 10% of what you need to know. In month two, you’ll know 20%, with an accelerated curve. You’ll get more comfortable in the months and years to follow. So have a “learning mindset,” and see every opportunity as a chance to ask “what else do I need to know,” rather than “did I get it right?”

So what can you do to boost your confidence in the meantime? Shelley Yerger Huffstutler, DSN, APRN-BC, FNP, GNP, and Gayle Varnell, PhD, MSN, BSN, CPNP, the authors of the “Impostor Syndrome” article suggest:

  • Repeating optimistic self-talk phrases like “I’ve got to keep working,” or “I can do this”
  • Recognizing that anxiety, insecurity, and discomfort are normal during the transition
  • Having realistic expectations for yourself as a novice who is progressively gaining proficiency
  • Finding a supportive mentor

I agree with these approaches and will add one more that is incredibly important to your long-term career development. Make sure your first job after graduation is a supportive environment with a strong orientation program. Stay tuned next week as I share the secrets to finding a job that will help you grow into the NP leader you are destined to be.

Expert Advice on Finding an NP Job That Fits

With so many opportunities available to Nurse Practitioners today, finding the perfect job to ease your transition to practice can be a challenge. The same care you put into your schooling should go into finding your first job. That’s why we created our Guidebook to Starting a Nurse Practitioner Career.

This free resource will help you write a strong NP resume, master your job interview, know if a job is right for you, and more!

Set yourself up for success:
Download our Free Guide today!

Melnic is a nationwide search firm focused on Advanced Practice placements for APRNs and PAs. Take advantage of our specialized job matching services and create your free Melnic Profile.  The best part? There is never a fee for candidates to work with us!

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