You’re Back in the Nurse Practitioner Workforce, Now What?

Earlier this week, I talked the 8 not-so-easy steps to reentering the nurse practitioner workforce. Today, let’s look at what happens once you do land the job leading you back to your nurse practitioner career. Returning to work after a lengthy break isn’t easy in any profession, particularly in one requiring specialized skills and knowledge such as that of a nurse practitioner. Not only will you need to adjust professionally as you go back to work, your personal life will also need to adapt to your newfound employment.

Insight into the challenges you can expect to face as you kick off your nurse practitioner career for a second time will help you prepare to successfully overcome them. If you are returning to work as an NP, anticipate these hurdles along the way.

1. Don’t expect your skills to pick up where you left off

Clinical skills are quickly forgotten, not to mention evidence-based practice can change quite rapidly. If you have been out of practice for a number of years, expect to require a refresher when it comes to skills like performing procedures. Plan to use clinical resources to keep up to date with the latest diagnosis and treatment guidelines where you may not have needed them previously. The learning curve will level off, but depending how much time you’ve spent away from practice, expect to spend time getting up to date clinically.

2. Your salary could take a hit

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Without recent work as an NP, depending on your previous experience, many employers view those returning to practice on par with newer nurse practitioner grads. You may have enjoyed a plush salary in the past, however you may need to put in some time before your new position recognizes your value with a paycheck. Fortunately, nurse practitioner salaries overall are on the rise and some nurse practitioners reentering practice may not notice a difference in pay.

3. Find a new norm with family time

As you once again establish yourself as a nurse practitioner, expect to reorganize other priorities. Family and social time won’t look quite the same with your new schedule. Filling more time with work means saying ‘no’ to other commitments and adjusting the way you handle responsibilities at home. Be patient as you and your loved ones adjust to sharing you with your career endeavor.

4. Feeling down is normal

Reentering a profession where you once were confident, and now feel unsure is frustrating. Don’t get down on yourself. Onboarding in a new job takes time, especially in one that entails patient care. Have confidence in your ability to succeed and be bold in your quest to master new skills. Avoid focusing on your weaknesses, rather concentrate on your accomplishments. You will regain the confidence you once had as an NP.

5. Get your tech savvy on

One struggle nurse practitioners face upon reentering the workforce is that of new technology. NPs who have taken a significant break will find that most practices are now rooted firmly in the days of electronic medical records. Other practice systems and processes are also based online. If you are a nurse practitioner who has trouble with tech, ask your new practice if you can spend a few extra hours fiddling around with necessary computer programs before your first day of work.

6. Reworking your personal budget

If you’re going back to work post a break from employment entirely, get excited about that paycheck…but not too fast. Working a 9-5 is a significant time commitment and will likely require that you outsource more at home, or cut corners in your day to day life costing some of your precious new cash. How will you budget your newfound income? In what areas will you need to spend more given your career time commitment? Planing your budget ahead helps avoid potential conflict at home and ensures you are maximizing your hard earned income.

7. Receiving Feedback

The most important thing you can do as you launch version 2 of your nurse practitioner career? Ask for feedback. Receiving input about your performance can be uncomfortable, but this is the best way to ensure you are meeting expectations in your new role and that you and your boss are on the same page.

What challenges did you face reentering the nurse practitioner workforce?


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