In the old days, networking meant getting out and meeting people in person. While that approach is still important, now you have the option of meeting people online and building relationships that can benefit everyone involved, including those in the nurse practitioner profession as a whole.
Networking with other nurse practitioners has many benefits:
- Knowing other NPs and what they do expands your view of the profession.
- You make contacts that can lead to jobs, career options or other opportunities you might not have known about.
- Networking is a way for like-minded people to share and exchange ideas. You can build your own “tribe” for support. “That tribe is paramount for your longevity and happiness as a nurse,” writes Nurse Keith on his blog.
- As NPs begin to play a larger role in providing healthcare services, they face challenges that limit their scope of practice. Networking is a way to come together to formulate and convey the value you contribute and to get that message out to both lawmakers and the public.
However, do not limit your networking to other NPs. Getting to know other healthcare providers can help you become more well-rounded. For example, relationships with doctors can increase your medical knowledge. Knowing pharmacists gives you a resource for your questions about drugs and prescribing. Networking with hospital administrators or other healthcare business people can give you insight into the business aspects of healthcare, which is an especially important perspective if you plan to open your own practice.
A good starting point for in-person networking is to join a national organization such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the association for your specialty. Most associations have an annual national conference, and many have regional and local chapters that host meetings and events. Also look for regional or state organizations that interest you.
Of course, you can network anywhere — from your child’s soccer game to the grocery store checkout line. Just think of it as meeting people and getting to know them.
A benefit of online networking includes the ability to get to know people from around the country and the world.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter offer opportunities for online networking. You can find a number of Facebook and LinkedIn groups for nurses. In addition, the online ENP Network positions itself as “the professional network connecting nurse practitioners with the groups they belong to, colleagues they support, and resources they need.”
You do need to keep a few things in mind when networking online. It’s important to remain professional and maintain confidentiality, and remember that what you put onto the internet may live forever for everyone, including potential employers, to see.
Whether you network in person or online (do both!), getting to know other people can provide you with continued learning, career development and the opportunity to help other NPs, all while you contribute to the growth of your profession.
Learn more about UTA’s online MSN — Nurse Practitioner programs.
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