The Right (and Wrong) Way to Ask Questions as a New Nurse Practitioner

Ask questions the right way as a new nurse practitioner

When you’re a new nurse practitioner, you need to make thousands of decisions a day.

(Which usually translates to thousands of questions).

I made mistakes as a new grad, and luckily for me, I had a very patient colleague who was there to help guide me.

In this video, I’ll share:

  • Some of my mistakes (I’m a little embarrassed)
  • Three easy steps to make sure you ask questions the right way (so you get the answers you’re looking for and build and maintain your colleague relationships)

Once you’ve watched, I’d love to hear from you.

What are some of the strategies you use to collaborate with your colleagues and supervisor?

Leave me a comment below. Be sure to share your thoughts directly in the comments, no links or videos as they may be removed.

Here’s the link to the first video that I referenced.

Thanks so much for watching. Hang in there, and see you soon.


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6 thoughts on “The Right (and Wrong) Way to Ask Questions as a New Nurse Practitioner”

  1. Case presentations have been a huge struggle for me! I wish they taught us this in NP school. I am an ED RN of 14 years, and now an ED NP of 7 months. I could have used this video when I started, because I am definitely one who tends to word-vomit when presenting cases. My presentations were all over the place with so much extraneous info, and I was relying heavily on my MD colleagues to sort things out for me rather than taking a stab at a plan on my own. I have gotten much better now. My biggest struggle now is with differentials. I think my 14 years of ED nursing has me ‘ruling out’ many things based on experience without giving much thought to why I don’t think it’s a PE or an aneurysm (because I never really had to as an RN), so now I struggle to bring those to the forefront as actual differentials or as discussion in my MDM.

    1. Absolutely! I wish I had made it sooner for you!!

      For differentials, do you feel like your challenge is generating the possible list of differentials or more the rationales for each diagnosis and why it is or isn’t that (pertinent positives/negatives)? ER nursing is SUCH great experience for becoming an NP, but I hear you on the “ruling things out.” I found the pertinent positive/negative tables we did in school to discuss case studies to be tedious–experience and intuition get the job done a lot of the time but doing that out really solidifies and grows your knowledge!

  2. I haven’t started my position yet as a primary care NP, however, during my clinical rotations during school, I was always good at giving just the important info during presentations. I like to think I’m fairly good at picking differentials. My issue is that I have no idea what to do after that. My mind just completely blanks on what type of work up to do. During practicums, my preceptor was so great; very patient and encouraging, but she often ended up making the majority of the “plan” for each patient.

    1. That’s awesome!! You’re already off to a great start.

      For me, as a new grad most of my “plans” came down to researching each complaint/problem one by one as I saw each patient (so was helpful to have an entire hour to look up the possibilities).

      If you can swing an up-to-date subscription (or your work can pay for it), I found that so life-saving– you can literally “google” things like isolated alk phos or chronic cough pediatric and get articles about them.

      Another book I love that’s in the resource guide is symptom to diagnosis (people also love 5-minute clinical consult), and you just start with step one and work your way down.

      Another adage you’ve probably heard–when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras. Common things appear commonly, so I focus on ruling out the most dangerous diagnoses first, then start with step 1 of the most common diagnostic options/tests/treatments (before jumping to the rarer ones, “zebras.”

      I hope that helps!

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