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Unlocking NP School Success: Essential Hacks for Aspiring Nurse Practitioners

Jul 15, 2023
Unlocking NP School Success

Nursing a career as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an admirable and worthwhile goal. Determination, dedication, and an eagerness to learn are essential for success in NP school. Although there are no easy ways to succeed in NP school, you can improve your chances of success by adopting certain strategies and techniques. In this article, we will discuss some tried-and-true strategies for succeeding in nurse practitioner (NP) program coursework and beyond.

  • Master Time Management

As a student in NP school, your time is extremely valuable as you try to balance academics, clinical rotation, work, and family responsibilities. Make a detailed study plan that gives you enough time for each subject and assignment. Make studying a daily priority and give your assignments your full attention. Do not put things off when you need to get things done; instead, be disciplined, even if the task at hand appears insurmountable. Use apps and planners to help you stay on track and manage your time effectively.

  • Embrace Active Learning

You cannot get by as an NP student just by listening and reading. Take an active role in class by answering questions and contributing to discussions. A good way to ensure you retain information on difficult topics is to take detailed notes during lectures. Seek out opportunities to practice critical thinking and clinical decision-making in realistic settings through simulations or case studies.

  • Cultivate Clinical Experience

Learning by doing is at the center of the NP curriculum. Whenever possible, seek opportunities to shadow experienced NPs. You will learn a lot about taking care of patients in the real world, which is important for expanding your medical expertise and developing a more compassionate bedside manner.

  • Collaborate and Network

Attending an NP program is not a solo adventure. Work together in groups and join existing ones to learn from each other's experiences and perspectives. Participating in group discussions is an effective way to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of the material. Additionally, networking with fellow students and faculty can open doors to new learning opportunities and potential career paths.

  • Harness Technology and Educational Resources

Make the most of modern tools to improve your educational experience. Make good use of electronic textbooks, medical databases, and nursing-specific mobile apps.  Check out such sites as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC website offers valuable information on public health, disease prevention, and resources for healthcare providers. Website:

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): HRSA provides resources and information related to health professions, workforce development, and loan repayment programs. Website: This online database provides information on ongoing clinical trials, which can be valuable for staying up-to-date with cutting-edge research.  Website:

Seek Mentorship

If you need help, do not be shy about asking seasoned NPs or faculty members for advice. You can use their knowledge and experience to overcome obstacles and make smart choices along your academic and professional paths.

If you are an NP student or recent graduate, finding a mentor can help you develop professionally and personally. In the nursing profession, a mentor can be an invaluable resource for advice, encouragement, and insider knowledge. Ways to effectively seek out and connect with mentors include the following:

Participate in professional nursing events such as workshops, conferences, and networking mixers. These events are great places to network with other healthcare professionals, some of whom may be willing to mentor you as you pursue a career as a nurse practitioner.

Clinical Rotations and Preceptorships: During your clinical rotations or preceptorship experiences, you'll work closely with experienced NPs. Establish a strong rapport with your preceptors, express your interest in learning from their expertise, and inquire about the possibility of continuing the mentorship beyond the clinical setting.

Professional Organizations: Join NP-related professional organizations such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) or specialty-specific organizations. These associations often offer mentorship programs or can connect you with seasoned NPs willing to mentor others.

Online Platforms: Look for online mentorship platforms or forums specifically designed for nurse practitioners. Websites and social media groups can connect you with potential mentors who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Faculty Members and Professors: Reach out to your NP program faculty members or professors who have a background in the area you are interested in. Many educators are open to providing mentorship to their students or can help facilitate connections with potential mentors.

Alumni Networks: Connect with alumni from your NP program who have gone on to successful careers. They can offer valuable insights into various career paths and provide mentorship based on their own experiences.

LinkedIn: Utilize LinkedIn to search for NPs who are working in your preferred specialty or area of interest. Send personalized messages to potential mentors, expressing your admiration for their work and asking if they would be open to providing mentorship.

Local NP Associations: Check if there are local NP associations or chapters in your area. Attend their events and meetings to meet established NPs who might be interested in mentoring aspiring NPs.

Shadowing Opportunities: Request to shadow an NP for a day to observe their practice and gain insights into the role. This can be a stepping stone to building a mentoring relationship.

Formal Mentorship Programs: Some healthcare institutions, hospitals, or nursing schools offer formal mentorship programs for NP students or graduates. Inquire about such programs and express your interest in participating.

When approaching potential mentors, be respectful of their time and commitments. Clearly express your goals and what you hope to gain from the mentorship. Remember that mentorship is a two-way street, and offering your own skills and perspectives can make the relationship more fulfilling for both parties.

Lastly, remember that mentorship relationships can vary in duration and intensity. Some may be more informal, lasting for a few meetings or phone calls, while others may evolve into long-term connections. Be open to different mentoring experiences and embrace the opportunity to learn from and grow from the wisdom of those who have walked the path before you.

Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy

Self-care is essential during NP school because of the rigorous nature of the program. Take care of your body and mind by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of sleep. When you take care of yourself, you can focus on your studies with renewed vigor and mental clarity. 

Review and Revise Regularly.

 Establish a routine of regular review and revision to ensure you retain and understand the vast amount of information presented throughout NP school. In order to retain the information you have learned and prevent it from fading over time, it is important to review it frequently.

It takes hard work, determination, and a passion for learning to make it as an NP. While there are no guarantees in life, these tips for excelling in NP school will help you reach your full academic potential and pave the way to a rewarding career as a skilled and caring Nurse Practitioner. Do not focus too much on graduating from NP school; instead, embrace the process of learning and growing as much as the rewarding end result of becoming a more confident and compassionate healthcare provider. In your quest to become a Nurse Practitioner, you should enthusiastically accept challenges, value your time spent learning, and aim high.

Miriam Tivzenda.MSN.APRN.FNP-BC,FNP-C

What strategies are you using or have you used to ensure success in NP school? Leave your comment


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