School’s out, and it’s time to put everything you learned as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant student to good use.
Finding out what to do after graduation can be a little overwhelming. We here at NP PA Recruiters are happy to guide you through the confusion so that you can reach a much more fulfilling future in your career.
Let’s review what you should do after you’ve graduated.
1. Take some time to tie up loose ends and resolve other personal circumstances.
You may have had an offer waiting for your right out of school, or maybe you had planned to use job boards like NP PA Recruiters’ to find the perfect role for you after graduation.
Whatever the case may be, the few short weeks or months after graduation is a prime time to take care of things that may have taken a back seat to school. Handle your personal responsibilities and give yourself some time to reconnect with friends and family.
If you happen to have a job lined up in a new city, take some time to become familiar with the area. Look for appropriate living accommodations, become acquainted with the nearest grocery store, and figure out driving routes to and from work; figuring out small things like these can make moving a little easier on you.
2. Use your network to your advantage.
Your network is one of the best tools for finding a job opening.
If you haven’t had much of an opportunity to fully develop your network, it’s never too late. There are several ways to build it up including:<
- Conferences – These are the best places to build up your network. If you have been to one of these, chances are that you have spoken to other people in your field, attended helpful workshops, or been a part of discussions.
- Associations – These organizations help connect healthcare providers with others that may be in your same position, focus, or background.
- Online – Many groups exist that cater to networking opportunities for NPs and PAs on LinkedIn.
- Colleagues – Co-workers or fellow students that you met in school are also great sources of information and possible job opportunities.
- Naturally – Meeting someone locally that may be “in the know” when it comes to job opportunities.
Using your network to your advantage is key when looking for new opportunities—aside from, of course, checking out our job board.
3. Sharpen those interpersonal skills.
Without a doubt, when it comes to being an NP or PA, you need to have great interpersonal skills. You owe it to your patients to be a quality source of care that can help ease their worries and quell their anxieties.
That doesn’t stop with patients, however. You also need sharp people skills when working in a professional environment. Developing effective communication and interpersonal skills can help you to work better with your coworkers, who will likely be willing to provide you valuable insight if they know you are open to learning and growing.
4. Get licensed.
NP or PA school graduates still need to get obtain a practicing license from the state that they are going to be practicing in.
For NPs, that means you need to get a license from the Board of Nursing in your state and by organizations that grant certification in the respective field you will be practicing in. Two such organizations are the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).
NPs also need to have a current and active RN license in the state in which they practice, with a minimum of 500 supervised clinical hours in their nurse practitioner specialty to be eligible.
For PAs, you will want to sign up for the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE) no earlier than 90 days before your schooling concludes. At the earliest, you may test after 7 days from when you graduated.
The exam costs $475, but you can get some practice in from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) for just $35. Should you not pass the exam, you may retake it up to three times in one year, and no sooner than 90 days from the last time you took it.
5. Get experience by trying new things.
You may be fresh out of school thinking that you want to work in obstetrics, but after working in family medicine, you’ve found that you have a strong affinity for it.
Like the saying goes: do what makes you happy. The only way that you can find that out is by working in and experiencing different areas. That may require you to go outside of your comfort zone, though.
You may be guaranteed a job at the clinic you worked at while in school, but if it is something that you are not passionate about, you won’t be giving your all to the practice and the patients.
6. When you get the job, don’t stop asking questions and learn from your mistakes (and from others too)
As you are very much aware of, learning doesn’t stop when school is done. Your career demands that you are a student for life, learning diagnoses, remedies, and other treatments that are constantly changing.
Because of the constant change, you may have a few questions at some point. Don’t be afraid to ask a leader or experienced coworker. Asking questions can also help to prevent any mistakes from being made.
But sometimes even the best of us make an error. When this happens, be honest and own up to it. Failure to do so can negatively affect a patient.
Things can get hectic after graduation, but what counts is taking that first step to a better and more fulfilling career.
Let NP PA Recruiters start you on that journey today. Take a look at our job listings or contact us for more information.