The NP Exam Prep Blog

What is the difference between ANCC and AANP? What do I do after I graduate from school?

Get the truth about becoming a Nursing Practitioner.

Tips for Success During Nurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations

Nov 06, 2023


 Clinical rotations for nurse practitioners (NPs) are an essential component in the development of your skills as a healthcare provider. You have the chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom, obtain practical experience, and hone critical clinical skills during these rotations. You must approach your clinical rotations with professionalism, dedication, and an openness to learning if you want to get the most out of them. We will explore a few valuable tips for success during your nurse practitioner clinical rotations.

  • Preparation is Key

Be sure to prepare well before starting your clinical rotations. Examine your clinical goals, research the pertinent medical conditions, and become acquainted with the clinical site's policies and procedures. Having a strong foundation of knowledge and being aware of what to expect will help you become more confident and interact with patients and preceptors more effectively. Get familiar with the EHR platform that the specific clinical site uses, such as Allscripts, Cerner, or Epic.


Clinical  Resources 

Clinical resources are essential during clinical rotation.

UpToDate (most organizations utilize this resource for clinical guidelines). Epocrates is a great reference for medications, diagnosis and treatment, and other educational tools. 

Keep in mind scholarly publications like PubMed. Google Scholar

Just a handful of the apps are listed here; there are many more available. Some of these free apps are very handy. They were helpful to me during my clinical rotation and are still useful for NP practice: Mdcalc,cdc sti, Lab values, Guideline central, Pedi Dose, USPSTF, etc.

Make sure to take notes either on your electronic device or a notepad.

Be Professional

Professionalism is of utmost importance in the healthcare field. Make sure you show up on time, dress appropriately for the clinical setting, and communicate clearly with patients, coworkers, and preceptors. Show respect for the healthcare team and the patients you care for. Demonstrating professionalism will earn you respect and create a positive learning environment. You should estimate how long the drive will take by taking a drive to the clinical site before your first day there. If at all possible, it is preferable to refrain from making excuses.

  • Set Clear Goals

For every clinical rotation, set specific learning goals. Discuss these goals with your preceptor to ensure alignment with their expectations. Your goals ought to be SMART—specific, measurable, realistic, relevant, and time-bound. Throughout your clinical rotations, this strategy will assist you in maintaining your attention on your professional development.

  • Embrace Feedback

Constructive feedback is an invaluable tool for personal and professional growth. Be open to receiving feedback from your preceptor and colleagues. Take advantage of the feedback you receive to pinpoint areas that need work and modify your approach accordingly. Continuous self-reflection and adaptation are keys to becoming a successful NP.  Avoid taking constructive criticism personally.


This involves looking inward to assess, analyze, and learn from one’s experiences and actions. As a nurse practitioner student, you must embark on your self-assessment, and critical thinking that will help you evaluate your performance, improve your clinical skills, and also enhance your development as a future nurse practitioner. By engaging in regular self-reflection, you can develop the skills necessary to provide competent patient care.


  • Build Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication is vital in healthcare. Develop strong listening skills, learn to convey information clearly, and practice empathy when interacting with patients. Establishing a rapport with patients can enhance their trust in your care and have a positive impact on their overall experience. The same applies to your preceptor and other healthcare workers.

  • Time Management

Nurse practitioners often work in fast-paced environments, so honing your time management skills during clinical rotations is essential. Prioritize tasks, plan your day efficiently, and remain organized. Balancing multiple responsibilities while delivering quality care is a skill that will serve you well in your future career. Be respectful of your preceptor’s time. Make sure to check, read, and research simple topics on your own time. Do not waste your preceptor’s time on basic things that you should have already covered during your NP theory classes.

  • Seek Diverse Clinical Experiences

Use your clinical rotations as an opportunity to gain a diverse range of experience. Request exposure to different patient populations, medical specialties, and practice settings. Broadening your clinical knowledge will make you a more versatile and well-rounded nurse practitioner. Remember to always read about cases at the end of the day.

Stay Informed

The healthcare industry is continually changing as new guidelines and research are released regularly. Attend conferences, read peer-reviewed journals, and take advantage of continuing education opportunities to stay current. Your ability to make clinical decisions will improve if you stay current on the most recent evidence-based practices.

  • Maintain Work-Life Balance

While it's essential to invest in your clinical rotations, don't forget to take care of yourself. Achieving a healthy work-life balance is essential because burnout is a serious concern in the healthcare industry. Establish a support system, take some time to unwind, and take care of yourself so that you can handle the demands of your clinical rotations and your studies.

  • Stay Committed to Lifelong Learning

After graduation, there is still work to be done on the path to becoming a successful nurse practitioner. Commit to a lifetime of education and career advancement. Continue to be inquisitive, keep an open mind to new experiences, and look for ways to improve your knowledge and abilities.


Nurse practitioner clinical rotations are a critical stepping stone toward your journey toward becoming a nurse practitioner. You can maximize your clinical experience, develop your skills, and lay a solid foundation for your future as a nurse practitioner. Consider every rotation as a chance for personal development, and give yourself some time to reflect on your experience. With dedication and a commitment to excellence, you'll be well on your way to becoming a skilled and compassionate NP.

Miriam Tivzenda.MSN.APRN.FNP-BC.FNP-C (for your NP review courses)

What tips have you used successfully during your clinical rotation?


Want Helpful NP Tips Every Week?

Get free tips to get you started in your exam prep.

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info.

Miriam Tivzenda's ANCC/AANP Study Group (FNP/AGNP)