There was a day when someone decided that you would be a great NNP. Perhaps it came in the form of a fellow colleague complimenting you on your work, or maybe it was a child’s parent thanking you for your help. Or maybe it was simply a quiet voice inside of you that realized you could do more. However the call came to you, it does not have to end with you. There still remains an NNP shortage within the hospitals. However, many RNs are resistant to go back to school to become NNPs. How can you encourage more staff nurses to make the transition? Is there a way that you can pay it forward to help out a fellow nurse?


Check the Image that You Are Sharing

Before trying to convince a fellow staff nurse to become an NNP, it is good to stop and reflect on the image that you are portraying to your coworkers. It can be easy to not make the role of an NNP look rewarding. Just as nurses have to face daunting challenges, your challenge may come from within to find the right outlook. 

If you are struggling with complaining about the long hours, without much additional comp than as RN or taking the job home with you — now is a good time to seek help about these issues. If you feel overwhelmed with the decision-making or lack of training, now is the time to speak up for yourself. When you are happier with your role, you can share it with others. If you are in difficult circumstances, try these tips before beginning recruitment:

  • Work closely with a mentor to learn different strategies of patient care.
  • Take an inventory at the end of your shifts to celebrate even the smallest growth steps.
  • Take an additional inventory quarterly to see how far you’ve grown. 
  • Remind yourself why you initially chose to enter into this role. Sometimes stepping back and seeing the big picture takes the focus off the immediate issues one might be dealing with.
  • Have a counselor or role-model with whom you can verbally share your irritations and feelings.
  • Perform an end-of-day closing ritual of sorts to help you signify that your work stays at work.
  • Practice calming meditations or relaxing walks to work off frustrations.

Without acknowledging your own struggles that you are currently facing, you become your own worst enemy in the recruitment of the help that you need.


Share the Reasons You Chose to be an NNP

Your personal story is the most important bit of information that you can share with future NNPs. Was it because you felt a sense of calling, wanted more career satisfaction, or perhaps felt qualified to take on more responsibilities that you became an NNP? These are not mere tidbits, but they are unique to you. They make you who you are. Your story of becoming an NNP is important. 

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video can explain even more than that. If you are wanting something specific to explain more of the role of the NNP to a friend, check out or share with them this video from NANN or this one.


Here’s what some current NNP’s had to say:

  • I wanted to be more involved in the decision-making process.
  • I enjoyed the increased autonomy: instead of suggesting orders, I could oversee the entire plan of care and write the orders. 
  • Becoming an NNP allowed me to have more control over the babies’ care.
  • It helped me have a better understanding of the “why” from a pathophysiological standpoint.
  • My knowledge not only helped to make positive changes at the unit level but also has the potential for State, National, and International level to better the care of babies. (And, yes, IT IS possible. We do have the power to influence changes at that magnitude!)


Acknowledge the Fear

When encouraging an RN to become an NNP, it is foolish to deny the difficult road ahead of them. Graduate school is not an easy task, and it does not come cheaply. As you know, it will cost them a couple years out of their lives and tens of thousands of dollars in the form of tuition. 

Other fears that must be acknowledged are:

  • Painful memories about nursing instructors with demanding clinical assignments and papers to be written.
  • Going from potentially being one of the “go-to” people on the unit to starting over on the knowledge and excellence totem pole.
  • The mental stress of planning for a patient’s entire care versus performing tasks.



As the role of the NNP is growing, the need for quality practitioners is also growing. Your work within the unit is not only helping the babies and their family members, but you are also (possibly) training future NNPs. It does no one any good to be totally positive and not share the difficulties that they will face; the difficult truths are just as important as the positive ones. But don’t let this discourage you in your endeavors. Your voice is the most effective tool you have. So go out there and share your story with fellow nurses — your story counts.


If you could share just one thing with future NNPs, what would it be? What is the one tidbit that you wished you had learned? Let us know in the comments!