Professional Profile of Karla Wilson, Part 3: MSN and NP Career Advice

Karla Wilson, MSN

Welcome to the last interview of a three-part series with practicing nurse practitioner, Karla Wilson. In her previous interviews, you can read about her path to becoming a NP and education advice. In this final installment, Karla discusses the following:

Karla Wilson, RN, MSN, FNP-C, CPON currently serves as a nurse practitioner for the Department of Population Sciences and Epidemiology in the Center for Cancer Survivorship in California.

  1. Why should someone NOT become a NP?
  2. What are the most common misconceptions about nursing compared to the actual career?
  3. How do NP’s use technology in their daily lives?
  4. Do you have any tips for new NP grads on the job hunt?
  5. What skills does an aspiring NP need to have?
  6. What is one piece of advice you would give an NP student, just starting out in the field?
  7. What’s the biggest perk about being a NP?
  8. What are some of the challenges the nursing profession faces as a whole?
  9. Can you suggest any valuable resources; publications, books or blogs for new NP’s and MSN’s?

1. Why should someone NOT become a NP?

If they view it as a job and not a profession, or if they are unwilling to commit to keep updated in knowledge and skills.

2. What are the most common misconceptions about nursing compared to the actual career?

That it is glamorous and easy work. It is hard work and takes a true commitment. The longer you are in it the harder and longer hours you work.

3. How do NP’s use technology in their daily lives?

Very dependent on specialty. – Computers make life so much easier with electronic medical records and almost immediate access to tests results.

4. Do you have any tips for new NP grads on the job hunt?

Be honest! Don’t be cocky and if you are someone coming into the field with limited experience get a job as a bedside nurse and volunteer in community or free clinics to hone your skills.

5. What skills does an aspiring NP need to have?

Ability to be open-minded about weaknesses and strengths. Capitalize on the strengths and work to improve the weaknesses.

6. What is one piece of advice you would give an NP student, just starting out in the field?

Be humble, ask for constructive feedback and take responsibility for your behavior and actions and LEARN from your mistakes as well as your successes.

7. What’s the biggest perk about being a NP?

Two things actually 1) Being recognized as an expert in my field and 2) having patients say they would rather see me than a physician because I make the feel comfortable, do not appear rushed, and answer the questions in a way that is easy for them to understand.

8. What are some of the challenges the nursing profession faces as a whole?

Dealing with the intricacies of the health care system; e.g., in California where I currently practice, MediCal/CCS will not accept prescriptions from a nurse practitioner – so I have to have a physician sign a prescription on a patient they have never seen.

9. Can you suggest any valuable resources; publications, books or blogs for new NP’s and MSN’s?

I think it is key to belong to professional organizations- such as American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and whatever organization fits your sub-specialty (mine are Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and the Association of Pediatric hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON).

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