Two Key NP Leadership Skills for New Grads
Ease the transition from RN to NP by focusing on the two skills every employer is looking for.
Melnic specializes in helping new NPs find jobs after graduation, so we appreciate the opportunity and challenge of your new role. It’s common to feel a mix of emotions from excitement to anxiety as you take on a new scope of practice. We tell our candidates to focus on the two NP leadership skills in new grads that employers are looking for: critical thinking and communication skills.
Key NP Leadership Skills for New Grads
1. Critical Thinking
As an RN, critical thinking skills are important. But for an NP, these skills become essential. RNs are generally task-oriented in their approach and follow certain data points as they care for patients. As you assume the role of an NP, your role changes. You are now the decision maker. You will be faced with more information and added responsibility for the people in your care—many of whom have complex challenges. Are you able to think through different scenarios and evaluate possible outcomes to arrive at a sound clinical decision?
2. Communication Skills
As you move from an RN to an NP, you also become a leader. Can you communicate with confidence and professionalism? The RNs you worked with as colleagues will now look to you for guidance. If you’re not prepared, this new role can present challenging situations and conflicts. Bring people along and help them understand what you’re thinking. Good communication builds your relationships and shows others that you can perform under pressure.
Transitions Take Time
We encourage our job seekers to be patient with themselves. Most of the NPs we know are perfectionists. They can be hard on themselves when things don’t go well, but learning to accept feedback is a great career builder. It’s okay to tell yourself, “I am a dedicated professional and will give excellent care, but there are things I don’t know yet.” Extend yourself grace while you’re learning new things.
Be Mindful of Your Brand
Your brand is determined by how your colleagues, preceptors, and professors view your strengths and weaknesses. They will notice how you respond to difficult situations. When you receive feedback and criticism, do you take it well? Do you rally your team under pressure, or do you isolate and discourage others who want to help? These aren’t easy questions to answer. But employers look for this information when they seek out your professional references.
So what should you do? Embrace the transition and see it as a learning experience that extends beyond your clinicals into the first several years of practicing as an NP. Approach your NP job search with this perspective, and you’ll be more successful throughout your career.