By Guest Contributor Leondria Taty, MSN, FNP-C

A few years ago I hit a pretty rough patch in my Nurse Practitioner career. Being neither a new graduate nor a seasoned practitioner, I was having a hard time finding my seat at the table. My idyllic view of what it meant to be a NP was starting to get overshadowed by doubt regarding myself and the profession. These feelings progressively pulled me in a downward spiral of self-sabotaging beliefs. It was an awkward and frustrating space for me.

In a “do-it-yourself” attempt, I did what many of us NPs do – I gave myself a presumptive diagnosis with differentials. I was convinced that there had to be a medical cause to justify why I was in a slump. My presumptive diagnosis was hypothyroidism and my differentials were depression, anemia, and wait for it…and a brain tumor. Yep, gotta throw in some sort of cancer. Full disclosure – I didn’t have cancer, hypothyroidism, depression, or anemia. But what I did know was that the vigor and enthusiasm that I once had as a NP was slipping away.

After the diagnoses that I had given myself were ruled out, I shared my career troubles with a non-NP confidant. Because this person was flourishing in a completely different field, I was optimistic that he could offer a fresh perspective. And boy was I right! Although initially I wasn’t exactly convinced. “Have you considered hiring a life coach?,” he suggested. “Um no,” I replied with slight skepticism. The thought of hiring a life coach never even crossed my mind. I always viewed life coaches as a luxury for executives, business professionals, and celebrities. However, after much thought and extensive research I realized it was more accessible than I assumed. So I gave it a try. To my surprise, life coaching provided me with a refreshingly new way to re-engage with my NP career. Here are a few ways life coaching could benefit you at some point during your NP career too.

Coaching Helps Identify Gaps

Because I was in a slump, it was very difficult for me to get out of my head. A professional life coach is specifically trained to listen and ask powerful, thought-provoking questions that re-frame the gaps in your thinking. My life coach helped me identify what was interfering with my career progression and gave me access to new tools that I could use (and continue to use) to fill in my gaps.

Coaching Is Accountability

They’re called coaches for a reason. They’ll push and support you in reaching your highest potential. My coach helped me create a strategy, a plan, and a solid structure to reach specific goals that I had for my NP career. And when I missed the mark, my coach held my feet to the fire – but with kindness.

Coaching Re-Builds Confidence

Reading self-development books and reaching out to peers, friends, and family was my typical default mode, but it wasn’t sustainable during the phase I was in. I needed an unconventional approach to solve my problem. I found it to be extremely useful to have an unbiased, neutral person to help me realize my value proposition as a NP. Because coaching doesn’t involve advise giving, I was empowered to arrive at my own answers.

Coaching Is A Good Hurt

For me, coaching was like the good hurt that you experience when you have a really awesome workout. Working through aspects of my NP identity that needed a major overhaul wasn’t always fun, but being able to measure the progress I was making was. Life coaches often incorporate a variety of innovative exercises and techniques during sessions. I can’t even tell you how many “ah-ha” moments I had. These exercises reinvigorated my creativity and passion, which significantly influenced the way I approached my work as a NP.

Coaching did so much more for me than I can ever list here. If you’re a NP that’s considering hiring a life coach, yay for you! There’s a variety of life coaches out there, so do your research. I used a ICF-certified (International Coach Federation) life coach with a niche in career coaching medical professionals. In selecting a high-quality professional life coach, look for one that is credentialed and experienced. Consider a consultation (usually free) to ensure that the coach is a good fit with your personality and specific needs.


About the Author: Leondria Taty is an advanced practice registered nurse with board certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner and as a Holistic Nurse. Her clinical experience is in public health. Leondria also works as an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Alabama. 


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