Reflections about NP school

Guys- tomorrow is my last day as a NP student at the University of Penn.  Tomorrow will be the last day I sit in this classroom.  I have no plans at this point to return for my PhD or DNP, but perhaps in 10 years I will have forgotten the pains of graduate school and I might take the plunge again.

As I reflect upon my own experiences in school there are a few things I would have done differently.

1.  Become involved in a grad student association.  GSO is the organization I should have joined when I began the program.  I decided early on that I didn't have the time for extras in my life because between school, work and family I was already juggling enough in my life.  Organizations such as this one can enhance the grad school experience.  There were definitely networking opportunities that I missed out on.

2.  Select a specialty early on and stick with it.  When I began my clinical rotations I did not have a preference aside from the fact that I wanted to work in the ICU setting.  My first rotation was in the Neuro ICU followed by a rotation in a Cardiothoracic ICU and my last clinical was in a general surgery practice- inpatient.  While my experiences were varied and I did learn a lot- I feel that my job search would be easier had I chosen a specialty and chosen my clinicals in that area only.  For example, had I chosen cardiology I could have worked in an inpatient/outpatient setting, a clinical in a cath lab and a rotation in a CCU (coronary care unit).  What I am finding is that even though I have worked for several years as an ICU nurse, many of the job openings in my area require experience within that particular specialty.  So, to make a long story short- my advice would be to select a specialty and stick with it throughout all of your clinical rotations.

3.  Connect with your classmates.  Luckily, as a result of this program, I feel that I now have new friends for life.  A group of us worked together very closely on projects and complimented each other very well.  We've shared our disappointments and celebrated our successes.  They have made school fun- good friends are essential.   

Do you all wish you would have done things differently while in NP school?

1 comment:

  1. How exciting! I know by now you are done as this is an older post, but it's still exciting to see how close you are even in your current post. I can't wait to hear more about your experiences as a NP, especially your job hunt. One thing I will agree with about this post as it applies to all school, not just graduate school, is to forge more relationships. In nursing school I made one VERY close friend, I would say he is probably one of my best friends now, but now that he is a semester behind me I am regretting not forging more friendships. So, I agree with you on that one. Make friends, these people are probably an invaluable part of your work life & if you're lucky, your real life.


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