When I tell people I work as a nurse practitioner in the emergency department, the reaction is often something along the lines of “I bet that’s exciting!”. While I do love my job, the truth is that working even in the emergency setting does lend itself to a routine. The novelty of the ED wears off, there is a pattern even to the kinds of emergencies an NP can expect to encounter in the department. Nurse practitioners enjoy careers packed with variety and opportunity, but like other professionals are subject to the “more of the same” mentality. So, how do you choose a job you won’t get tired of?

One thing I can say about my career as an emergency department nurse practitioner is that while the job has some predictability – I see the same kinds of patients over and over again, I’m not tired of my job. The nurse practitioners I talk with across the country don’t always echo this sentiment. Many NPs out there enjoy their careers and are excited by their clinical expertise while others grow frustrated, burnt out and just plain fed up with showing up at work. If you’re on the hunt for a new position, look for the following characteristics in your next job to ensure it’s one likely to ignite your career passions – or at least one you won’t get tired of.

1. Seek Out a Challenge

Signing on to a nurse practitioner job that seems out of your comfort zone or is otherwise a clinical challenge can make you hesitate. But, stretching yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mastering new clinical skills, stepping outside your typical professional duties to teach, lead, manage, or practicing in an environment that’s busier than you’re accustomed to can all make you a better nurse practitioner. Without goals and some hurdles to overcome, it’s easy to grow bored and tired of your job. Consider accepting a position with the opportunity for professional and/or clinical growth not only to make you a better nurse practitioner, but also to keep your mind active and prevent a mundane career outlook. 

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2. Love Your Specialty

As nurse practitioners, we have options. Although each of us is certified in a specific specialty, we have room for movement within these designations. Family nurse practitioners may work in specialty clinics. Acute care NPs can work in inpatient or outpatient settings and in departments with various levels of acuity. You may not be able to land your dream job as a new grad, but set your sights on a specialty or setting that peaks your interest. Practicing in a clinical environment you’re passionate about makes it far less likely you’ll grow tired of your position. 

3. Be Realistic about Logistics 

Commuting is the worst. Sure, an hour long drive to a job interview isn’t too bad, but leaving for work more than 60 minutes before you’re due at your desk is going to get old. And fast. Not to mention, it also means you’re also spending an hour behind the wheel on the way home from work (try these 6 Ways to Improve Clinical Knowledge During Your Commute). Or, perhaps you’ve found the perfect position but the job requires you to work weekends. And you hate working on Saturdays. No matter how attractive the nurse practitioner opportunity at hand, if the logistics of working for an employer day in and day out seem arduous, they will be even worse than you expect. Accepting a job with an unsustainable commute or other logistical challenges means you’re likely to grow tired of the opportunity no mater how interesting the clinical setting. 

4. Work with People You Like 

The people you work with can make or break your level of job satisfaction. If you enjoy the individuals who work alongside you, it’s much more likely that you’ll continue to enjoy your place of employment. If collegial relationships are non-existent in your workplace, it’s easier to grow tired of the everyday professional environment. As you interview for your next nurse practitioner position, be in tune to the staff at the facility where you’ve applied. Can you see yourself fitting in to the workplace culture? If so, consider this a green light and one that helps to ensure long-term satisfaction in your new position. 

There will always be days when your career as a nurse practitioner seems like, well, “work”. You’ll have trouble waking up on Monday morning, or dread heading in to the clinic or hospital for one reason or another. But, it is possible to land a position that you enjoy as a whole. To avoid growing tired of your next nurse practitioner job, you must choose your workplace with intentionality. 


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