Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, otherwise known as nurse practitioners, are the cream of the crop: they have not just shown themselves as highly competent in clinical situations, but they have also pursued additional training to better serve their patients.
Receiving a license as an APRN opens a whole new world of opportunities to you; from specializing in certain practice areas to serving as a primary care physician, you can command one of the highest salaries in nearly every state, as well as enjoy excellent opportunities for advancement throughout your career. Healthcare job boards report thousands of nurse practitioner openings all throughout the country, which proves that you have many options for your next move.
However, though the profession overall is excellent, that doesn’t mean that every facility and department is a great match for you. Today, we’ll look at some signs that your job offer will be a dream or a nightmare so that you can avoid months of heartache by selecting the wrong position.
The communication throughout the hiring process is a preview of what is to come
Dysfunction tends to spread throughout a whole organization, from HR to individual specialty areas; while in some professions, poor communication is just annoying, it can be a serious, life-threatening issue in hospital systems. The HIPAA Journal reports that miscommunication between colleagues and departments can be deadly, such as when a nurse failed to mention a patient’s abdominal pains to a surgeon: the patient later died from internal bleeding.
Not only is it devastating to lose a patient because someone failed to share vital information, but it can also endanger your license, so it’s imperative that you avoid hospital systems or clinics that seem to be disorganized. If the interviewer cannot help you find information, struggles to answer questions in a timely manner, or schedules meetings with you at the last minute, you may wish to turn down the opportunity.
Ask about the resources and advancement opportunities available
In nursing, adequate resources are everything: you can only do your best for patients if the hospital system does its best for you. This includes having adequate staff, well-maintained facilities, and updated technology that gives patients the greatest chance to recover.
Here, resources also refer to compensation and growth opportunities. Great healthcare facilities recognize that their staff are their greatest investment, and they will fight to provide their medical professionals with a truly excellent compensation package. Similarly, they will recognize that great employees want to continually improve their skills, and so they’ll build this spirit of progress into their organization by paying for additional training and hiring from within the company.
Companies get what they pay for, so if they are refusing to pay a good market wage and they do not encourage professional development, you should look elsewhere.
Think about what patient population you prefer to work with
This last consideration has more to do with a mismatch between employee and organization than any deficiency in either group: every nurse has their preferences when it comes to patient populations, and they will be more motivated to provide excellent care when they are working with demographics that they enjoy. For example, a hospital that caters mostly to pediatrics will not be a good fit for a nurse practitioner that mostly likes working with the middle-aged or elderly.
Specialty matters as well. Even if you do not have a specific concentration such as mental health or oncology, you should ask what kinds of patients you are likely to work with and match this to your own interests and strengths. Of course, for a general practice position, you’ll be expected to go outside of your favored specializations, but if there is a general trend toward certain types of patients, this can help you decide where you will fit.
There are many job opportunities for nurse practitioners, so you can afford to hold high standards
Don’t worry about being seen as nosy or overcritical: interviews are the company’s opportunity to pitch the position to you as well. A good interviewer should welcome questions about the quality of the work because this means that you’re taking the opportunity seriously and that you are committed to providing great care. If the interviewer seems annoyed by your questions or is cagey about their responses, you should expect that the position isn’t as good as it might seem.
Happy nurses do great work; you came into this profession to help people, and you can only do so if you feel enthusiastic and motivated to do a good job. By using a specialized job board and carefully scrutinizing every opportunity, you’ll find a role worthy of your advanced knowledge and years of commitment to health.