Networking for APRNs doesn’t have to be hard work!
When most people think of “networking,” many immediately think of a happy hour event or work-related event with people passing out their business cards or social media handles, etc. Today’s post is more about the best local networking opportunities for nurses, APRNS, and any healthcare professional that goes on at your work, department, hospital or facility, and your local community. As a nurse and APRN, believe it or not, you network all day, for hours, and don’t even notice it. You have constant, if not frequent, interaction with healthcare professionals across all disciplines and specialties, providers in and out of your unit, and asking questions about your patients. Your immediate circle and network of providers and colleagues trust you. The beginning of networking starts at your place of work, where you spend the most amount of time. Interacting with work friends, peers, and colleagues in your department is a form of networking. Networking is a powerful tool for RNs, advanced practice nurses, or NP students looking ahead for potential preceptors or possible employment leads. Networking and having conversations amongst your fellow nurses, advanced practice nurses, and professionals of all disciplines inside and outside of your department, helps you look for potential clinical preceptors, mentors, and potential future employment opportunities. I recommend re-evaluating your immediate professional and personal circle of friends, peers, and colleagues for potential professional opportunities and networking for potential jobs, or side hustles too.
Top Networking Places and Venues
- Your local hospital organization conferences or lecture series, local university lecture events, medical school events, large medical groups or specialty group symposiums
- High school, college, or university alumni and affinity organizations
- Local, state, and national nurse practitioner councils and organizations: Joining the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has great benefits: large CEU bank, great conferences, networking, discounts, legislative emails keeping you up to date, and much more! Here is the link for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: Membership (aanp.org)
- Regarding your local county or city NP council, membership is well worth it as networking, job postings, and CEUs may be available. Here is the link and you can search by zip code to find your local NP organization https://www.enpnetwork.com/nurse-practitioner-groups
Networking for Introverts
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking: “Coach Nat, I’m an introvert and have no interest in going to any of those suggestions or options. What would you suggest?” No worries, my friends! I love my introverts! If you’re introverted, but still interested in networking as a healthcare professional, here are my top tips. Consider preparing mentally prior to arriving at an event you’re considering, and bring a friend or conference buddy. Most importantly, smile and be mindful of your body language because it may welcome others to approach and introduce themselves. Last but not least, consider a “networking challenge” where you make an effort to meet and introduce yourself to three people at an event. Even if you don’t consider doing a challenge, consider ways to challenge yourself outside of your comfort zone with every event, invitation, or setting. As always, reward yourself for stepping outside of your comfort zone and making an effort. Introverts can network and improve networking skills, but the key is playing to your strengths and body language.