Recently, I was talking to an NP and friend whom I admire for being the best at what she does.
“How do you do it?” I asked.
“How do you stay on top of your game after 10 years in practice?”
“There’s no secret. I’m always learning and looking for ways to improve,” she replied. “My patients want and deserve
the best from me and I don’t want to disappoint them.”
That got me thinking.
Whether you’re a new nurse practitioner or a veteran, becoming better at what you do every day is essential to providing excellent patient care.
So, if you’d like to up your game, here are 10 tips that will help get you there.
1. Join a local and/or national NP group or association such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). It is their mission to promote excellence in NP practice, education and research.
2. Become board-certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). This will not only increase your earning potential but ensures that you continually meet the standards of practice.
3. Attend a national conference. Not only with this provide opportunities for networking, it provides current, practical, and clinically oriented practice information for NPs in every specialty. Check out annual conferences held by American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), The National Nurse Practitioner Symposium, and Nurse Practitioners in Women’s HealthCare Conference.
4. Invest in an ipad or smart phone. Not only are they great teaching tools for patients, apps such as AHRQ ePSS, designed by the US Department of Health and Human Services to assist primary care clinicians in identifying what screening, counseling, and preventive services are appropriate for their patients, and MedPage Today, which brings “breaking medical news into practice,” can really expand your knowledge base and save you time .
5. Use 3-D video animation to educate and motivate patients. Patient compliance is key to your success as an NP. You know the saying; we only remember 20% of what we hear. Empower patients to better understand and manage their health with help of interactive video animation. My favorite is TheVisualMD.com, which uses breathtaking video animation of the human body to help patients “understand, prevent and live.”
6. Keep up to date on new developments in drug therapy. I highly recommend monthly updates from The Prescriber’s Letter. The Prescriber’s Letter is totally independent, and has no connection with any pharmaceutical firm so it is completely objective.
7. Follow evidence-based guidelines. Are you sure that z-pack is the best choice for your patient with strep pharyngitis or are you just following the crowd? Providing the best care requires providing treatment recommendations based on the best medical evidence. Find evidence-based guidelines through UpToDate and the National Guideline Clearinghouse.
8. Find a mentor who can provide wisdom, guidance and advice. Search for a good mentor in your current practice, your local NP group/association, school of nursing, or the FAANP Mentorship Program.