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Novice to Expert: The top 5 roles every Nurse Practitioner must master on their journey

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

In order to be the best nurse practitioner (NP) that you can be one must attain all the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to master every aspect of the advanced practice nursing profession. This requires a lot of time, energy, diligence, and dedication to successfully complete this lengthy process. Upon completion most NPs are considered generalists as they are able to combine and utilize all the aforementioned attributes along with theories and processes from the sciences and humanities to effectively address the tasks at hand. In doing so, the experience gained and skills perfected lead most NPs to the top of their career ladders as clinical experts.

The journey down the professional highway from novice to expert is filled with humility, joy, tears, and pain, coupled with intriguing moments and compromising situations that lead to personal and professional enlightenment.  This transformation can be defined as a change or metamorphose into the structure and form of something familiar. That familiar form is that of a Nurse Practitioner who has been experientially and educationally equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the demanding needs of our constantly changing healthcare environment.

During this perspective transformation we change physically, mentally, and emotionally all while making the adjustments necessary to transition from novice to expert. As we reflect on our past experiences, we’re able to see ourselves in the many different roles that NPs fulfill, such as caregiver, advocate, manager, teacher, and change agent. These top five roles must be critically examined and mastered during our professional growth and development into the expert Nurse Practitioner.

  1. In the role of caregiver, the NP functions as an executive healthcare assistant that actively helps the patient attain and maintain their highest possible level of health and wellbeing.

  2. As the advocate, the NP can be described as a patient focused attorney that is always representing the patient’s best interests, supporting, advising, and safeguarding throughout the negotiation process.

  3. The manager is that NP who’s able to allocate time and resources effectively during the delivery of care without compromising the quality of care being delivered.

  4. The teacher is seen as the NP that facilitates healthy activities that promote, provide, and reinforce self-care behaviors that help the patient maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  5. The role of a change agent combines every aspect of the caregiver, advocate, manager, and teacher into one with a special focus on the necessary changes that will provide the patient with the insight of possible future problems that can be prevented with a little organization and planning.

Successful mastery of these top five roles is required to matriculate from the novice to the expert Nurse Practitioner. As NPs we wear many hats and perform the duties of a caregiver, advocate, manager, teacher, and change agent simultaneously. Each role serves as a building block for the foundation of the expert professional nursing practice. It is through time and experience that expert NPs are able to effectively assume leadership roles and integrate scientific principles into the delivery of holistic care, all while directly impacting the medical management and recovery of their patients. With many hats worn well and roles outstandingly performed, the expert Nurse Practitioner can produce happier, healthier patients with remarkable, sustained clinical outcomes.

Yours in Health & Wellness,


The Men’s Health NP

Author: Eric Taylor, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Eric is a Men’s Health & Wellness Expert and CEO of Pryority Male LLC, where he’s motivating, educating, and helping men navigate their way to wellness. Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @Pryority_Male, Facebook & YouTube @PryorityMale, and visit him at

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