Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Tips for New Nurse Practitioners

Are you ready to start your new job as a nurse practitioner? Congratulations! You have chosen a rewarding and fulfilling career path that will allow you to make a difference in the lives of your patients and the healthcare system. But you may also feel nervous and overwhelmed by the new challenges and responsibilities that await you. Imposter syndrome is a real experience. I experienced it when I started my first nurse practitioner job. Here are some tips for coping as a new nurse practitioner:

1. Get organized 

The first step to success as a new NP is to get organized. You will have a lot of tasks to juggle, from managing your schedule, to tracking your patients, to completing your documentation. You need a system that works for you and helps you stay on top of your workload. A planner or scheduling app can be your best friend in this regard. I recommend creating a system or routine for organizing your workday. This helps alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings you will experience when several tasks demand your attention all at once. 

2. Ask for help from colleagues 

The second tip for coping as a new NP is to ask for help. You don’t have to know everything or do everything by yourself. You have a team of colleagues and mentors who are there to support you and guide you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and professionalism. It shows that you care about your patients and your practice, and that you are willing to learn and grow as a healthcare provider. Most places know you are a new grad and expect you to ask questions while you learn the ropes. 

3. Take care of your health 

The third tip for coping as a new NP is to take care of yourself. Working as a NP can be rewarding, but also stressful and demanding. You may face long hours, heavy workloads, complex cases, and emotional situations. You need to take care of your own physical and mental health, so you can take care of others. This means making time for exercise, getting enough sleep, eating well, and finding healthy ways to cope with stress. 

I personally have a Peloton bike that I regularly ride and also frequently use their meditation and yoga programming. Quality sleep at least for 7+ hours is also essential for my mental health and cognitive functioning. 

4. Stay current on education

The fourth tip for coping as a new NP is to stay current in your speciality education. You are entering a dynamic and evolving field that requires constant learning and adaptation. You need to stay current on the latest developments in your specialty, the best practices in your profession, and the changes in the healthcare system. This means reading industry publications, attending conferences and continuing education courses, and following healthcare laws and regulations. For example, you can subscribe to The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, a peer-reviewed journal that covers clinical topics, research, policy, and education for NPs. 

I personally have an UpToDate subscription that I use almost daily for both diagnosis and treatment recommendations including drug info. Most if not all credentialing boards and state licensing agencies require proof of CME credits. I’ve done almost all of mine through daily use of UpToDate as it will track your hours for you. 

5. Be open to feedback

The fifth tip for coping as a new NP is to be open to feedback. You will receive feedback from your patients, colleagues, and supervisors on a regular basis. Feedback is essential for improving your practice and enhancing your skills. It can also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and set goals for yourself. You need to be open to feedback and use it constructively. Consider asking for regular evaluations and take the time to reflect on your own performance in order to identify areas for growth. 

Sometimes feedback won’t always be positive. This is difficult to handle at times but approach negative comments with curiosity. I always thought it would be helpful to keep a daily professional journal. I never incorporated that into my routine but it would’ve been a super helpful process.

Starting a new job as a nurse practitioner can be both exciting and daunting. But with these tips, you can cope better with the challenges and enjoy the rewards of your new role.

Action points:

  • Choose one or more of the tips above and implement them in your daily practice.
  • Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) for yourself as a new NP.
  • Seek out opportunities to network with other NPs in your area or online.
  • Celebrate your achievements and acknowledge your challenges as a new NP.

You are not alone in this journey. You have the support of your colleagues, mentors, patients, and us here at NurseWorth.

Hopefully this article helps you with your transition as a new NP.

Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.