How do you stand out as a nurse practitioner? Many times it seems our employers focus exclusively on patient volume (and often they do!), but there are also a few other professional behaviors common among standout nurse practitioners. If you’re an NP looking to take your career – and salary – to the next level, start by mastering these four habits.
1. Ask good questions – and have answers
Have you heard of the website “Let Me Google That For You”? Essentially, the site takes a video clip of a screen Googling a question to find an answer. You send a link to the video clip as a response after someone asks you a dumb question. The intention is to serve as a sarcastic way to show someone else they obviously could have found the answer to the question on their own.
“Let Me Google That For You” is more than just a sarcastic response to send a friend. The concept serves as a good barometer for which questions you should ask as an NP. Asking good questions at work ensures you’re not wasting anyone’s time. If you can look something up on your own, do so. If not, come prepared with what you think the correct course of action is when you bring the question or concern to your supervisor. Using resources and preparing your thoughts about best next steps shows initiative and sets you apart as a provider.
2. Make appropriate referrals
Sometimes you just aren’t sure what the next steps with your patient should be. Referring a patient isn’t a marker of failure as a nurse practitioner, rather an indication that your patient requires a higher or more specialized level of care, and there is a way to refer appropriately.
Once you’ve determined that a referral is required, go above and beyond as an NP by setting your patient up for success at their first visit. Order any relevant labs or imaging studies so your patient has results available and the specialist has information to go from in order to develop a plan of care. You may need to look up what studies are appropriate or contact the provider’s office where you are referring. Trust me, specialists will thank you and you’ll earn a reputation as a nurse practitioner that stands out above the rest.
3. Create systems and processes
Small efficiencies can make a huge difference in your overall time management and productivity as a nurse practitioner. Having systems and processes in place for how you work is essential to your efficacy. So, work to identify the most efficient structure for your day. Get your team on board by creating checklists, schedules, protocols etc. to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks. Having these items written out will take your practice to the next level. And, keep you from answering the same questions over and over again. An organized, efficient workflow is sure to land you in your boss’ favor when it comes time for your next performance review.
4. Take initiative
While delegating is a best practice for NPs looking to make their mark, there does come a time when nurse practitioners would do well to chip in on tasks and projects outside of their standard job responsibilities. If you’re great at IT and your practice is making an EMR transition, volunteer to become a superuser and coach other team members on the new software. If a medical assistant calls out sick, take a few vital signs on your own to help keep things moving in his/her absence. Get off your behind and avoid the temptation to scroll through Instagram. Rather, find something you can do to pitch in during downtime or practice transitions.
In what ways have you added value to your practice and seen it pay off in your NP salary?
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