June 15, 2024

RNs who become nurse practitioners (NPs) find that higher income, autonomy, and the ability to provide primary care for patients across their lifespan make this an advantageous career choice. But getting from RN to FNP comes with its own set of challenges. One key strategy is to work with a mentor. Ideally, this is through a workplace program or your professional network.

Know Your Requirements

The decision to advance your nursing career as an FNP is serious. To become a Family Nurse Practitioner, you need a master’s degree in nursing and national certification. The time it takes to earn your FNP certification varies, but keeping on top of deadlines and submitting documentation promptly can speed up the process. New FNPs often face situations that challenge their clinical and leadership skills. These situations can lead to identity confusion and cause a delay in the transition. Research has found that these delays can affect interprofessional teamwork and communication among nurses and other healthcare professionals. For instance, William Paterson University’s accredited online MSN programs help nurses prepare for the next step in their careers.

Prepare for the Transition

RNs who become nurse practitioners often experience higher pay, more career autonomy, and a bright outlook for their future careers. But there are also challenges that those new to the NP role must prepare for.

Carefully examining what you’ll face as a new FNP can help you be more prepared to meet those challenges.

One of the best ways to do that is by finding a mentor. A mentor can offer guidance and support, which can help you build confidence in your practice. A mentor can also help you understand how to navigate the complexities of patient care, including assessing and diagnosing.

Many nursing organizations provide mentorship programs for new nurses. Look for opportunities in your community or at your employer’s facility. Consider enrolling in an online MSN to FNP program. It offers an immersive online learning environment and supports students through a close community of faculty and staff who care.

Find a Mentor

Transitioning from RN to FNP is an exciting time in your nursing career. However, it isn’t without its ups and downs. Receiving a mentor’s advice, guidance, and emotional support during this time is vital for success.

Several healthcare organizations have implemented formal mentoring programs to help ease the adjustment for new nurse practitioners and promote professional growth. These programs may include training for both the mentor and mentee, setting goals, providing feedback and evaluations, and coaching.

A mentor can also assist with preparing the documentation required to apply for FNP certification and APRN licensure. The time it takes to complete these processes varies and depends on submitting the correct documentation and following deadlines. A guide during this process can help alleviate stress and speed up the timeline to becoming an FNP. This can increase job satisfaction, role transition success, and financial stability. Mentoring has increased job satisfaction, role transition, and emotional well-being.

Practice Self-Care

A nurse practitioner degree offers more opportunities to help patients with various healthcare needs and conditions. However, this new role can bring with it several challenges. For one, some nurses experience what researchers call identity confusion.

This phenomenon refers to the sense of identity a novice NP experiences when entering their new role. For example, a new NP may need clarification about which directives to follow and the differences in responsibilities between an RN and a FNP. This could lead to confusion among the NP and other healthcare team members and affect collaboration.

Ultimately, it is essential for nurse practitioners to remain positive and focused on their career goals. When in doubt, they should revisit their “why”—the reasons they decided to pursue this advanced nursing degree in the first place. Then, they can stay centered on their goal to help people and impact the world.

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