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8 Ways for Nurse Practitioners to Reinvent Themselves

Ready to do something new in 2021? Here’s a list of some very actionable and fun ways you can change your trajectory for your career. Some of these ideas cost money, some make money. But at the end of next year, wouldn’t it be awesome to quit complaining and do something amazing in 2021 to make up for the letdown that 2020 truly was? Without further ado, here’s my list.

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Start school for a new certification.

Raise your hand if you have a degree and you can’t find a job. There are many proverbial hands raised up right now, and we all know this. It seems that FNP programs are oversaturating certain markets, making it difficult for everyone else. With options like a post-masters certification in high-demand areas such as adult gerontology acute care (AGACNP) and psychiatric mental health (PMHNP), now might be a great time to consider broadening your horizons.

Undergo a new grad fellowship training program.

Can’t find a job as a new grad? Consider a fellowship! With more hospitals offering fellowships for new grads, those who do these are getting a unique opportunity to enter the workforce with a more diverse and developed skillset than those who went right into their respective areas of practice. Realize that new grads may have to pay a portion of their salary in the form of a temporary reduction in pay for the fellowship. This tends to be in the ballpark of ten percent of the annual salary reduction for the duration of the fellowship. The benefit of a fellowship is not only for new grads, as many experienced NPs will go on for a fellowship training in their specialty. The benefit of this is to take your knowledge and skills to the next level.

Start work on a terminal degree in your field of study.

Whether you go for a PhD for academic pursuits or a DNP for clinical practice pursuits, there is no denying earning your doctorate is a great way to change your perspective. Not only are you able to teach at the masters and doctoral level, but you can make your friends and family refer to you as a doctor and hear endless jokes about how the nurse doctor will see you now. All jokes aside, when it comes to bang for your buck, you may or may not see any financial benefit for this option as most places will not pay you any more for having a DNP, but some will, and some roles such as academia require this, but unlike post-masters certification, many employers will reimburse this expense.

Relocate to a new area.

With 50 states, there are 50 different ways NPs are utilized based on that state’s nurse practice act. Take the opportunity to ask around to people in different states and see what the job market looks like before putting a for sale sign in front of your house and resigning. Also remember there is a considerable difference state to state for what time is required for licensing. Cost of living is another huge consideration, and with easy resources like Numbeo, you can see exactly what one option to another will be.

Become a traveler or do locum tenens.

Have wanderlust and need a taste of freedom without the headaches of actually moving? Travel assignments or locum tenens may be just what you need! It’s also a fantastic way to evaluate areas you may potentially want to move to in the future. With COVID-19 impacting staffing availability, there are plenty of highly lucrative opportunities to work in a higher acuity environment and see if you like it.

You do need to remember that the lifestyle of a travel assignment rarely mirrors a long-term employment. For one, as a traveler, you tend to work in places not as desirable. This may be due to poor administration, understaffing, or other system-wide negatives. In exchange, you don’t have to engage as fully into the culture of the healthcare system since you are there truly as temp help. There’s SO much to discuss about traveling, but do realize it is not for everyone, but for those who do it, many do it multiple times and say they truly enjoy it.

Take your side hustle mainstream.

Having a side hustle is the new morning coffee. Everyone has ideas, but not everyone has fully engaged the workload required to make that side business your full-time gig. There are many resources for small business owners. Especially right now with all the pandemic-related changes to our culture, your unique skills in online-based merchandising or selling may be very valuable, especially to others who are not as tech-savvy or of a non-technology generation.

Start instructing in nursing or APRN programs.

Did you ever want to start into academia? With many brick and mortar NP programs currently scrambling to develop their online curriculums to keep education moving forward during this distance-based climate, now may be a perfect opportunity for you to wander into academia! As someone who has worked in multiple different adjunct professor roles, I can say this is a very difficult yet rewarding experience. Relative to a full-time employment as a NP, the revenue earned is not usually exquisite, but it is extra income and that is valuable in and of itself. My work as an adjunct professor paid for my DNP. That said, money is not the only motivator out there, and the sense of accomplishment from helping students succeed is very gratifying.

Learn new skills for your practice.

Not interested in any of these? The least you can do is to do professional development to make yourself more marketable or skilled with the mandated nurse practitioner continuing education you have to do. This year, take the initiative to learn a new skill. Doesn’t have to be far off your norm, but I can say there are so many fun skills and procedures taught by Skills On Point, for example, none of which require you to be already performing the skill. We get it that many times, you need to get the skills training to get the job, and companies that require you to have the job already to get the training miss that great opportunity to help someone take their skills to the next level!

Hopefully this was a fun list to get the wheels rolling. If you ever need perspective or a sounding board on what these may look like, feel free to reach out our team and we would be happy to provide whatever advice we can. And while you’re on our site at, check out all the cool courses we offer to both the public and with private 1:1 courses, and the online continuing education courses portal at to learn skills from the comfort and safety of your own home! Let’s make this next year one where you look back and have a sense of accomplishment!



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