4 tips when considering a career change as a nurse practitioner

career change as a nurse practitioner

Have you ever wondered about a career change as a nurse practitioner?

Determining if quitting your nurse practitioner job is a serious consideration that can bring a lot of overwhelm and emotion. Some nurse practitioners contemplate changing jobs because of a lack of work-life balance, nurse practitioner burnout, low compensation, increase in work, and many other reasons.

But trying to decide if you should consider a career change as a nurse practitioner is not an easy decision. Let’s take a look at some of the stressors of considering a career change, and tips for making the decision that is best for you.

Stress of considering a career change as a nurse practitioner

There are a lot of emotions associated with making any kind of change. Here are a few:

  • Fear of change. Getting out of your comfort zone can feel scary and a career change as a nurse practitioner is a big adjustment. But doing hard things can help us grow and become more confident as nurse practitioners. 
  • Other people’s opinions. Whether you decide to start an online health coaching business, find a remote nurse practitioner job, or leave healthcare altogether, other people will have opinions about your life. Just remember, other people’s opinions don’t matter! 
  • Uncertainty. Fear of the unknown is a crippling emotion that can hold us back from achieving our dreams. There is uncertainty in every aspect of life and it is something we just have to accept and push through. 
  • Financial instability. Considering a career change as a nurse practitioner may be put on hold because of a lack of financial stability. Finding a new job can take time and may cost money upfront, i.e. relocation costs. Therefore, many nurse practitioners may not have the financial means to leave their current job. 
  • Don’t want to be a “job hopper.” Some nurse practitioners fear leaving too many jobs because they don’t want to be deemed as a “job hopper.” 
  • Feel like a failure. Becoming a nurse practitioner takes years of time and energy. So even considering taking a short or long term break from healthcare can make nurse practitioners feel like they have failed. But our mental, emotional, and physical health is much more important and it may be worth it to complete a career change as a nurse practitioner.
  • Leaving something you love. Many nurse practitioners go into healthcare because they love caring for patients. And in many practice settings, nurse practitioners have the opportunity to build strong provider-patient relationships. Many NPs are reluctant to leave a job because they do not want to abandon their patients. They have built trust and understanding and know the patients will be unhappy if the nurse practitioner leaves.  

These are the common fears nurse practitioners face when considering a career change as a nurse practitioner. But we should not let these fears hold us back when we are trying to make a positive change in life.

If you are suffering from a lack of work-life balance and nurse practitioner burnout, something needs to change. But making the decision to make a career change as a nurse practitioner, go back to bedside nursing, or leave health care altogether is not an easy one. 

Tips when considering a career change as a nurse practitioner

Here are a few tips when considering a career change as a nurse practitioner. 

Reflect on what you want. 

Take some time and reflect on your overall vision in life. Grab a journal and answer the following questions. Let your mind flow. Don’t worry about dreaming too big. Don’t worry what other people will think. Just focus on what you want. 

  • What do you want to be doing 5 years from now? 
  • What do you want to be doing 10 years from now? 
  • What is your ultimate goal? 
  • What job/career makes you happy? 

When we determine our overall vision and goals it helps us to get a better idea of the best career change as a nurse practitioner. If you have an end goal of starting your own health coaching business, determine one action step to get you closer.

If you want to go part time to spend more time with your kids, think about how you can achieve that level of financial freedom. If you want to leave healthcare altogether and start a restaurant/bakery, identify the types of experiences that will get you to the end goal. 

Know what is most important. 

When considering a career change as a nurse practitioner, you must reflect on what is most important to YOU.

Maybe your family is most important so finding a remote job with more flexibility is the ultimate goal. Or maybe you want to find a job with the highest compensation so you can pay off debt and afford to travel. Or maybe you need a job that is less stressful so you have the time and energy to complete self-care.

Think about what is most important to you and this will help guide decisions about a career change as a nurse practitioner. 

Take the pressure off. 

When considering a career change as a nurse practitioner, our thoughts are often consumed by the decision at hand. We become obsessed and stress over what is the right decision. But when we take the pressure off this looming decision it helps us think more clearly.

I believe everything happens for a reason and whatever decision you chose is what you were meant to do. There is no RIGHT or WRONG decision. There is no PERFECT decision. If you want to start your own online health coaching business but the timing is right, you can always start it in a few years. We have to do what is best for you in this season of life.

The stress and overwhelm you are feeling right now will not be important ten years from now. This point in your life is just a sliver of time. Work on changing your mindset and taking some of the pressure off so you can make the decision that is right for you!

Ask for help. 

If you need an outside perspective of your situation, ask for help! It can be beneficial to talk with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague. Gathering input and outside perspectives can help you view the whole picture when considering a career change as a nurse practitioner. I also find that just talking about the thoughts in my head help to make things more concrete and put them into perspective.

Remember that ultimately, the decision is up to you. While other people’s opinions can play a part in your decision making process, you do not have to do what they say. Take the information and process what YOU think is true/helpful.

But considering a career change as a nurse practitioner should be a decision that is made by you. You will be the one living this life and you need to be happy with the choice you make. 

Utilize these tips when considering a career change as a nurse practitioner. Remember to be true to yourself and not care about other people’s opinions. It should ultimately be YOUR decision.

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at www.burnedoutnp.com

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com

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