5 Questions to Ask if You Don’t Love Your Nurse Practitioner Job

If I’m honest with you all and with myself, there have been times when I haven’t loved, or even liked, my job. And, I’m not talking about having a bad day here and there-I mean not loving my job on a consistent basis. Sure, these positions started out OK but quickly grew to be places I genuinely wasn’t happy. But, by being placed in these situations I leaned the important lesson that sometimes it’s OK not to like your job.

Working as a nurse practitioner requires a significant amount of post-graduation growth both clinically and professionally. For me, these growing pains were some of the main reasons I ultimately found myself unhappy. If the initial excitement of your nurse practitioner position is wearing thin, here are a few things to consider in evaluating your satisfaction with your position before throwing in the towel

Is Having a Job or Your Job the Problem?

The daily grind of life can certainly be disheartening. Waking up, throwing together a quick breakfast and making it out the door on time without forgetting your lunch only to fight traffic for the next 30 minutes isn’t exactly a thrill. Working is just that, work. In any job there will be aspects you don’t like be they your commute, your dress code, or an obnoxious coworker. Before you write off your position completely, do some soul searching to make sure you aren’t about to trade a perfectly good position for another for the simple fact that working at all and the inconveniences that go along with it have you down.

Is Your Dissatisfaction Something that Will Change if You Leave?

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Working as a nurse practitioner isn’t for everyone. Each position you have during your nurse practitioner career will carry with it its own benefits and challenges. But, these jobs will have some consistency. If patient care or working in a clinical setting isn’t for you, this isn’t going to change no matter where you work. If you aren’t happy as a result of aspects of your position integral to nurse practitioner practice, it may be time to explore related non-clinical opportunities.

What are You Learning?

While I haven’t always loved every nurse practitioner position I’ve accepted, I have learned something from each and every job. My urgent care position helped get my procedural skills off the ground making me qualified to eventually apply for NP positions in the emergency department. Accepting a PRN position in a retail health clinic taught me that, well, I thrive when caring for higher acuity patients helping me hone future job searches more appropriately. My first year working in primary care gave me a strong foundation upon which I was able to build my future career.

Continued learning is essential for nurse practitioners whether you’re a new grad or an experienced NP. If your current position is helping further your clinical knowledge, sticking it out a while longer may be in your best interest. Chances are, as you continue to become more confident and confident in your area of practice your job satisfaction will increase.

Why Don’t I Like My Position?

There are about one million reasons you may not like your job. Perhaps you can’t keep up with the demands of your clinic which requires you to see more than four patients per hour. Maybe your position has morphed over time requiring you to treat different types of patients or work in a different location. Or, maybe your personal situation has changed making your job no longer compatible with your family’s schedule. Can any of these things be changed?

If you’re happy with your position overall, but there are one or two small things that absolutely drive you nuts, your employer may be able to work with you to make the job a better fit. Schedules aren’t always set in stone, your desk may be moved to avoid spending the day next to a loud spoken coworker. Don’t let small things fester, rather take action.

Does my Job Allow Me to Practice Safely?

I talk to many new graduates or NPs working in new specialties or settings who feel they were hired without being given appropriate support in their position. If you have questions about patient care but no one to turn to as a resource you may not be practicing safely. This is a scenario where you need to ask for backup or get out STAT. Practicing safely is of utmost importance. If your employer isn’t facilitating safe nurse practitioner practice, it’s time to start looking for a new opportunity.

How Will Leaving My Position Look On My Resume?

Job hopping is a major no-no for nurse practitioners. If you move from job to job too frequently, eventually you will run out of places to turn when you’re looking for work. Not to mention, employers will red-flag your resume labeling you a job hopper. Leaving a toxic job after working in the position for only a few months is OK…once. If short-term employment becomes your norm (unless you’re a locums NP), you will eventually have trouble finding work.


Are you looking for a new nurse practitioner position? ThriveAP Career Advisors can help! Let us know how to reach you and we’ll be in touch

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1 thought on “5 Questions to Ask if You Don’t Love Your Nurse Practitioner Job”

  1. LOL! I have been an WHNP for 32 years and a FNP for 20. I am over the moon to finally be retiring and not seeing patients ever again. Healthcare is so different than when my journey started and I am only thrilled to leave it all behind. from the demands of seeing more and more and more patients to patients angry and demanding of what they want I only have to say ‘thank goodness it’s over’.

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