Becoming a nurse practitioner is not easy and neither are the first few years of practice. When I graduated school, I felt like a fish out of water in my new role although I came in with over a decade of nursing experience by that point.
It took me a little time to feel confident in my clinical skills as a nurse practitioner partially because I didn't have a strong foundation with employment after graduating (I was laid-off 3 times within my 2nd year). After I finally settled on a job that I enjoy and have the stability of a more secure employment situation, I was able to become comfortable in my clinical practice.
I wouldn't have come this far in my career without a few resources that I leaned heavily on when I first started out, and even now, I still reference them on a regular basis. I figured if they help me, they can help you too.
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*** Some images and links have been reported to not show up on some browsers (Chrome and those with I-Phones mainly). Because of this, and because I want you to have the opportunity to access them, I have listed all of my NP resources on the "Resources" tab in addition to adding titles and links within the summaries with the exception of the DOT guideline cheatsheet. The cheatsheet is only accessible now through subscription to ReNursing Edu.***
Dermatology is a weakness for many nurse practitioners and I'm no exception. The Dermatology Deck Cards provide pictures, causes, and treatment for numerous skin conditions that you'd see in clinical practice. It's also interesting to browse through the cards in between seeing patients... as a matter of fact, whenever I have this out on my workstation it gets lots of attention from other providers wanting to look at it!
This book was my saving grace when I first started to practice. It gives you practice guidelines, pathophysiology, and treatment for common urgent care complaints. There are also procedural guidelines on procedures often done in the urgent care setting.
If you work in an urgent care setting or see a lot of musculoskeletal complaints in your practice you'll need to know how to read x-rays. Unfortunately, for many nurse practitioners we don't get enough, if any, practice reading x-rays. This is a very important skill to learn.
You can look at YouTube videos all day, but sometimes it's best to actually read material on how x-rays work, troubleshooting images, and just to get the basics down. Learning Radiology: Recognizing the Basics is an easy read and makes learning how to read x-rays easy too.
I'm DOT certified and do many DOT physicals per day. In the time I've been certified I've encountered various situations that would make for a difficult physical. Most of the time DOTs are straightforward, but there is the occasional complicated or a potentially grey area that arises.
Sometimes you know your guidelines, you forget, or simply just don't know for the outliers. I use my DOT cheatsheet on a DAILY basis because of this. This is based on the most recent DOT guidelines, but check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regularly for updates.
If you work in any primary care setting you'll encounter people who want STD screening and treatment. Sometimes it's hard to remember what treatment goes with what disorder, but this handy guide from the CDC will keep you abreast of all of the current guidelines. This links you to the wall chart, but I printed it out and keep it with me so I can refer to it when I need to.
These are my top five resources that I use on a near daily basis while at work and I hope they are helpful to you! What resources do you use often as a nurse practitioner?