This is such a fantastic time to be a Nurse Practitioner! If you are an NP student or considering NP school, you may be feeling discouraged or overwhelmed by some of the negative things you hear from new grads or NPs. There is a lot of talk about difficulty finding jobs, low pay, poor treatment and excessive workloads. While some of it is true, you must take what you read with a grain of salt. Remember that people with negative experiences tend to be more vocal than others. This is not a criticism, by any means, just an observation.

An example from my own experiences: After I graduated in May and began studying for boards, I joined a popular forum that discussed the NP certification exam. The majority of posters had failed the exam, some more than once, and were writing about their experiences. Other posters (like myself) were preparing to take the exam, and writing about their anxieties and fears. I made some wonderful friends on that site who offered important advice that helped me pass. As time went by, I began to notice that once a friend successfully passed the exam, they rarely posted on the site. I began to realize that once they passed, these posters had little more to say on the subject and were moving on to the next phase of their career. So while it seemed like “everyone who took the exam was failing” I was not actually getting an accurate picture of the typical test taker. The fact of the matter is that somewhere between 80-90% of test takers pass the exam. Whether it is on the first try or not, who knows. But if it takes more than one attempt to pass, it is not the end of the world. It is not something you have to disclose on your resume or during an interview.

Finding a job may be more challenging than you would like it to be. BUT...that is true for ANY job seeker in this economy. There ARE jobs out there, but you will have to put some time and effort into getting one. During the time I spent studying for the exam, I also made sure I spent some time every day on the job hunt. I will go into this more in future post, but just know that there IS a market for new grad NPs.

In terms of low pay and/or excessive workloads, I think it is partially true, Again, you have to consider the source. Any new grad, RN or NP, has to start at the bottom. And there is always a period of time when a new grad feels overwhelmed and overworked. It is part of the transition to a new role. As time passes and experience grows, the work gets easier and each patient takes less time. As you become more efficient, the work takes less timeIt’s the whole “Novice to Expert” concept that Patricia Benner writes about in her books and articles. And for experienced RNs who become NPs, it’s actually novice RN to expert RN, back to novice as an new grad NP. It’s a challenging time, but not impossible and it’s something that every new grad goes through. Just keep plugging along and take it one day a time. It may seem overwhelming and impossible right now, but you will get through it!