Do you fear other people’s opinions as a nurse practitioner?

Nurse practitioners struggle with imposter syndrome and other people's opinions.

Have you ever been in a situation when you were frozen in fear of other people’s opinions?

Have you ever experienced a time you felt judged for your words or actions?

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome or felt you’re not smart enough to be an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)?

Have you heard negative comments from other healthcare providers putting down nurse practitioners?

Have you ever been too afraid to stand up to administration to ask for a raise, more admin time, more support staff in the clinic?

What is fear of other people’s opinions

Fear of other people’s opinions can hold us back from living our best lives. I know I have definitely struggled with this fear and imposter syndrome. It has held me back in my nurse practitioner practice, personal life, and growing The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner. Fear of other people’s opinions costs us more than we think. We miss out on opportunities, achievements, and growth.

I have talked to many healthcare providers who experience these limiting beliefs and fear other people’s opinions. Nurse practitioners are prone to this form of imposter syndrome because society is telling us we are not enough. We don’t have the same training as a physician or physician associate, therefore we don’t know enough. There are opinions about online nurse practitioner programs. Society has beliefs about nurse practitioners not being knowledgeable health care providers.

This adds a layer of fear and stress to the nurse practitioner. While you may never fully get over the negative and limiting beliefs (I still struggle at times) there are a few ways to control the thoughts.

Tips to overcome fear of other people’s opinions.

1. Becoming aware of our own feelings.

Nurse practitioners need to become aware of their own thoughts. We need to take time to reflect on where our feelings originate from. Do you feel like an imposter because you’ve had people in your personal life doubt your success? Do you have a supervising physician that voices negative opinions about nurse practitioners? Have you always struggled with doubt, insecurities, and lack of self-confidence?

We need to become aware of our own feelings in order to work on changing our inner dialogue. Once you identify your negative thoughts, replace those thoughts with positive ones. It is difficult to work on conquering other people’s opinions when we believe the negative thoughts ourselves.

2. Realizing where the other person is coming from.

Most of the time, when other people make negative comments, it is coming from their own insecurities and fear. Think about a time when you judged someone for their actions? Was this something you have felt insecure about in the past? Humans tend to focus on what is top of mind in their own lives.

For example, maybe you become jealous and make negative comments about someone else receiving a doctorate of nursing practice degree. Truth be told, it was nothing that the person did wrong, you actually wish you had been able to achieve this accomplishment. Maybe you had preconceived notions about a patient’s bad parenting skills when their kids are bouncing off the walls of the exam room. Have you ever experienced mom/dad guilt or felt you were not good enough as a parent? Maybe you were focused on that parent’s bad parenting because you have felt like a bad parent in the past.

People’s negative comments tend to come from their own thoughts and limiting beliefs about themselves.

3. Separate facts from feelings.

Sometimes nurse practitioners need to take a step back and identify what is actually a fact vs a feeling. Nurse practitioners have a different educational path from a physician or physician associate. It doesn’t make either one better, it is just different.

I think nurse practitioners bring a lot of value to healthcare. Our background as caregivers and registered nurses brings a different approach to our treatment plan as healthcare providers. There have been multiple articles or studies about nurse practitioners giving quality care to their patients.

Other facts include being certified and licensed. The fact that we have met the requirements to practice as a nurse practitioner (i.e. graduating nurse practitioner school, passing a certification exam, and becoming licensed in a state) shows we are legally able to practice as a nurse practitioner. These are facts showing nurse practitioners they are able to assess, diagnose, and treat patients.

Take some time and separate which opinions of other people are actually feelings vs facts.

While we cannot control the opinions of other people, we need to work on managing the fear.

This fear of other people’s opinions is limiting us from asking for a raise, applying for our dream job, voicing new ideas, and so much more. Fear of other people’s opinions can contribute to nurse practitioner burnout and is something we need to address.

To learn more about overcoming the fear of other people’s opinions and managing the limiting beliefs, check out The Burned-out NPs online course: Control the Imposter Syndrome.

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

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

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