The Impostor Phenomenon in New Nurse Practitioner Graduates

Shelley Yerger Huffstutler, DSN, APRN-BC, FNP, GNP; Gayle Varnell, PhD, MSN, BSN, CPNP


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2006;6(2) 

In This Article

New Nurse Practitioners: Strategies for Success

An essential strategy for NPs to cope with IP is to develop an awareness of the transitional process. This will ultimately result in a greater understanding and a shorter adjustment period.[13] Recognizing that feelings of disconnectedness and anxiety are normal and time-limited is the first step in understanding the process. The NP who engages in self-reflection, the act of calmly looking inward or giving attentive meditation to a subject, will work through the transitional process more effectively, as opposed to spending time on fears or denying one's limitations.

Rather than setting unrealistic expectations that elicit irrational angst, the novice should instead acknowledge his or her lack of command as an NP. The NP must self-reflect on the reality that an expert RN does not automatically confer expert status in complementary disciplines; however, acknowledgement of novice status does not absolve one of all other professional obligations.

Careful selection of a mentor to facilitate role development cannot be overstated.

Faculty can convey the importance of understanding and enacting transitional growth by including this requirement within the clinical evaluation tool. Additional ways in which faculty can facilitate the NP graduate's transitional adjustment period include (1) planning seminars with students to emphasize the adjustment phase of moving from expert to novice, and back to expert; (2) seeking avenues of staying "connected" such as through innovative technology; (3) establishing curricula with increased collaboration between medical and NP students during the school years to assist in a mutual understanding of roles, and (4) introducing students to professional organizations and other support people.[13]


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.