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How to Find New Graduate Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant Jobs

 Nurse GradIt is nearly graduation time – and you are likely actively interviewing for that first clinical position. While it’s exciting to be done with active schooling, it can be daunting to imagine those first loan payments coming due.

Before you sign your first contract, you will likely consider salary and practice location. However, it’s just as important to consider less tangible aspects of the job like leadership, flexibility, culture, and opportunity for growth.

Here are a few things to look for in your first job after graduation.

Hospitals that hire new grads

Though some employers are looking for nurse practitioners or physician assistants with clinical experience, many prefer new graduates because they can train them in their own practice models and preferences. Levels of clinical autonomy will vary depending on the clinical experience of the NP or PA. New graduates will require additional supervision and training as their clinical judgment grows. Seasoned practitioners, alternatively may be looking for ways to advance their knowledge and career direction.

Opportunities for eventual leadership

With the advent of Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) and meaningful use attestation through quality assurance, there are a host of new avenues NPs and PAs can pursue if they’re looking for leadership opportunities. Assessing a practice environment for leadership potential and growth will be more important as you get more comfortable with direct patient care.

Care delivery is changing and NPs and PAs can be a clinical “go to” as changes are initiated. As practices explore the shift from volume of patients to value in patient population management, there are additional opportunities for NPs and PAs to take a central role in incorporating technology into the practice.

An organization that values your contribution

Often, PAs and NPs will leave a position if they feel their contributions are not valued – whether they are contributions around patient care or decisions related to work environment or technology. If the physician or facility does not publicly support the care rendered by PAs and NPs, or does not advocate for the PA and NP within the medical community, these are signs of incomplete acceptance and lack of full incorporation into the team.

Recognition is individual and personal to every PA and NP. Some may prefer a public acknowledgement at a staff meeting while others may appreciate a personal note or face-to-face meeting. Supervisors and practice managers should have processes in place to assess communication styles and play to team strengths. Make sure and ask about these issues during your interview so there are no surprises when you start work.

It’s not always about the money. Often, individuals leave a position for reasons that are not financial. Genuine acknowledgement of value and contribution goes a long way to foster loyalty to the practice and ultimately to the patients we serve.

Have a question about how to get started searching for your first job? Comment below or come meet us next month at the AAPA National Conference in San Antonio, TX !

About the author

Lisa Shock

Lisa P. Shock, MHS, PA-C, is a seasoned PA who is the President and CEO of Utilization Solutions in Healthcare – a specialty consultant company for physician practices and hospitals, offering a wide range of services to help implement and improve upon the utilization of PAs and NPs in the health care system. Contact her at lisa@pushpa.biz

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