October 28, 2020

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Do You Have the Right Skills to Become a Nurse Practitioner?

News,

Monday 21 September 2020

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Nurses
are in high demand at the moment and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts
demand for nurses to grow almost 10% over the coming years and that’s not even
considering nursing specializations that are growing at a faster rate. Though
some nursing specialties are growing even faster. For example, demand for family
nurse practitioners will rise roughly 25% in the same period. The question is:
do you have the right skills to become a nurse practitioner? Let’s take a look
at some of the main skills and aptitudes you’ll need to succeed in the field.

Communication Skills

Nurses at
all levels must have excellent verbal and written communication skills. You
must be able to understand a doctor or medical specialist’s orders and
communicate this to patients. Everyone from staff to patient’s caregivers must
understand the content of your message and all of this needs to be done with
compassion and tact.

There are
also times when you might have to deliver difficult news either to patients or
their families. You need to be great at vulgarization so you can explain
complex conditions and treatments to people of all ages. You also have to
communicate in a way that is reassuring, yet realistic.

However,
listening skills are just as important in this field. You get to spend a lot of
time with patients, even more than doctors. They may tell you things that the
doctor needs to know and that could be essential for treatment or diagnostics.

It is
also part of your job to advocate for the patient. You will need to ensure that
they get the care they need and understand how to take care of themselves. You
must also be able to communicate and collaborate effectively with a patient’s
caregiver if you want to minimize the odds of them returning to the hospital.

Compassion

Nurses
get in the field with the first goal of helping the sick and injured. You’ll
need to have the compassion needed to give them the best care possible.
However, there also needs to be a balance or the emotional load might become
too much for you. You should have empathy for their pain and condition without
internalizing it. You must understand their suffering while seeking to
alleviate it.

This is
why this might not be a great job for overly sensitive people. Depending on
where you’re working, you might have to deal with losses every day, and you
need to be able to separate yourself from your work. So, if you thought that
nursing would be the perfect position for you because of your caring heart, you
need to also know if you have the mental fortitude needed to deal with tragedy
consistently.

Not only
that, but you might have to console patients and their families, and this is
the last moment they want to see the despair in your eyes. You will need to be
able to muster the strength necessary to lift them and show them the brighter
side. This is why you need to evaluate how much you can handle before you
assume you’re the right fit for the job.

Collaborative Skills

While
nurse practitioners may run their practice, they rarely work alone. There may
be nurses and physician assistants working for you, whether you work with a
doctor or other NPs in a clinic. Expect to work with hospital staff and
specialists to provide quality healthcare to your patients.

This is
why you need to see yourself as part of a team, though you’re an invaluable
team member. This is why many nursing programs will ask candidates about their
willingness to work with others and how they’ve worked in a group to solve
problems. You also have to be prepared to work with people from different
departments, from foodservice to maintenance, and have a cordial relationship
with them if you want things to get done.

Clinical Skills

Clinical
skills are essential if you’re going to work in today’s healthcare field.
Nurses who are well-formed in the latest procedures and can demonstrate it will
always be able to find a job in this industry. This is especially important in
fields like family nursing, for instance.

Fortunately,
there are several programs available to teach you what you need to know.  Check out this piece by Marymount on how to become a family nurse practitioner. It
explains the process of becoming a family nurse practitioner from earning a
master’s degree to earning certification as an FNP to getting your FNP license.
They also outline the typical job responsibilities for an FNP.

Having
strong clinical skills can give you the confidence you need to work
independently and without second-guessing yourself. You’ll also be better
prepared to face a critical situation without hesitation, and this can save a
patient’s life.

Attention to Detail

Sometimes
the correct diagnosis hinges on one mentioned symptom or odd occurrence. If you
pay attention to detail, you may notice things that a hurried doctor does not.
This is why attention to detail is essential to providing proper care to your
patients. On the other hand, small mistakes can have tragic results.

Paying
attention to detail is also critical to day to day work in a medical facility.
You will need to ensure that insurance forms and healthcare records are fully
and completely filled out, for instance. You will also need to follow up on
prescriptions and tests to make certain that they’re done for the patient.

Nurses
practitioners need to be able to monitor the state of patients. They need to be
able to see if a patient’s condition is getting better or worse. Patients might
be sending small signals that the average person would assume is minor. Nurse
practitioners have to be able to pick these up not just for one patient but for
all the patients that are under their care.

Flexibility

Nurse
practitioners also need to be flexible. As an NP, you’ll be dealing with
patients of all ages. They may have different backgrounds and personalities,
and each has their own unique needs at that moment. You must be able to work
with all of them and provide the assistance that they need.

Nurse
practitioners need to be flexible in other regards, as well. They might be
asked to work long hours and be flexible when managing their personal life so that
they can maintain their work-life balance. Fail to do
this, and you’re at risk of burning out.

Some
nurses take flexibility to the next level and work a variety of shifts. Being
able to adapt to a weekend or evening schedule may allow you to better serve
your patients or earn a higher paycheck.

Being
flexible could also allow you to pivot into other areas which will keep things
interesting and allow you to add some feathers to your cap. Start young and you
could end up becoming a super nurse by the end of your career or even move into
fields like advocacy, teaching, or public service.

Time Management Skills

Time
management is important in many jobs, but it is imperative for family nurse
practitioners. You’re expected to maintain a schedule, seeing as many patients
as possible while giving them as much time as you can in face to face meetings.

You need
to fill in the gaps in your schedule with productive work so that you aren’t
working late every day. More importantly, poor time management skills on the
part of an NP can create problems for the rest of the team. Having excellent
organizational skills from scheduling meetings to managing electronic medical records or EMR is
a bonus.

Optimism

Nursing
is definitely not a career for the pessimistic. You will need to be able to
attend to each and every one of your patients the same way, no matter how tough
your day was so far. You need to have the same level of enthusiasm and energy
you had at the start of the day. Nurses with an unshakable positive attitude
are loved by their patients and the people around them

A Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Nursing
school will teach you the clinical knowledge you need to start your job as well
as provide a strong ethical framework that should guide your decision-making.
However, that isn’t enough if you want to work in nursing.

Nursing
technology is constantly changing the way nurses do their job. New medications,
new medical procedures, and evolving best practices force nurses to continually
learn, too. This is why nurses must commit to lifelong learning. You’ll do
better in this profession if you dedicate yourself to continuing education on
all fronts, whether or not you choose to enter a nursing specialty or become
active in professional organizations.

Conclusion

Nurse
practitioners are important additions to any healthcare team and play an
essential role. While clinical skills are essential, any NP candidate must have
other essential skills to succeed in this demanding career. Make sure that you
look at the skills you already have, and know that you can always acquire those
you‘re missing either now or on the floor.