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I Completed Advanced Practice Clinician Training, Now What?

By Cindi O’Boyle, PA-C, EM-CAQ, APC-Director, TeamHealth Emergency Medicine, Northeast Group

‘Tis the season of pomp and circumstance, celebrations and a little post-graduate rest and relaxation, but once the graduation confetti settles and you realize you are a brand new physician assistant (PA), nurse practitioner (NP) or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) now what?

APC training programs provide rigorous curriculum and education but many fall short in preparing their students with professional guidance and the tools they need to secure their first position. Finding your first job out of training is often the foundation for your future and instrumental to your long-term success. Recent graduates often ask; what should I look for in a job or an employer? What questions should I ask in the interview? How do I negotiate a job offer? The process can be overwhelming, but with preparation and a few helpful tips, you will find the experience very rewarding.

Here are a few important topics to consider during the job search and interview process:
Orientation and Training
Collaboration and Supervision
Continuing Medical Education (CME) Professional Development and Growth

Orientation and Training:
An established orientation program for a new APC is vital and should be a strong factor during you job search. Asking the following questions to your recruiter or potential new employer is vital.

  • What is the structure and duration of orientation?
  • Will I have a designated preceptor?
  • What is the review process?

Collaboration and Supervision:
A collegial and trusting relationship with your supervising physician is vital in any stage of your career, but it is most impactful in your first job. Be certain you fully understand the collaboration and supervision policies of your employer. Be sure to ask:

  • What are the supervision requirements for the hospital or post-acute facility?
  • What is the APC and physician relationship like?
  • Are the physicians open to working with new graduates?

Strong and solid leadership is very important to the overall team dynamic and success. It is a known fact that good leadership not only attracts quality staff but ensures retention and high job satisfaction. Ask the interviewer:

  • How long has the leader been there?
  • What is their leadership style?
  • How does their leadership style fit your work environment?

Continuing Medical Education (CME) Professional Development and Growth:
Continuing medical education (CME) is a necessity in our profession. Understanding if any additional educational services provided should be an important factor in your job search. Often CME can become costly and knowing the benefits offered by your employer is helpful. Also, as your skillsets expand and you become more experienced, what is your growth opportunity? Be certain to ask the following questions during your interview:

  • Is there a CME allowance?
  • Do you offer free or ongoing CME?
  • Are there hands-on skills courses to advance my skills?
  • What is my growth opportunity?
  • Are there leadership opportunities?

Given the likelihood of student loan debts, many will naturally make compensation their top priority. Stay focused on the total package and not always the hourly rate. Be educated in your approach yet cognizant of the amount of training that is required and the investment on the side of the employer. A safe, secure and collaborative start to your career will pay off tenfold versus getting the best and highest starting rate. A more strategic approach is to discuss the compensation review plan as you progress in your career, once the training is complete.

This is an exciting time in your life enjoy the process! The above tips will ensure you are a prepared candidate that will certainly impress your future employer. Good luck in your job search and landing your dream job!