Learned Lessons: Practical Career Tips From Psych Congress Experts

March 21, 2017

Andrew Penn

Andrew Penn
    Andrew Penn, RN, MS, NP, APRN-BC
    Credit: proimagesphoto.com

Psych Congress Steering Committee member Andrew Penn, RN, MS, NP, APRN-BC, discussed the challenges that come with a career as a nurse practitioner. Penn is Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Kaiser Permanente, Redwood City, California and Assistant Clinical Professor, University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing.

Nurse practitioners have “sort of a curious role,” and despite improvement in the past 10 years, many people still don’t know what they do, he said. The nursing profession “historically has been somewhat marginalized and slighted,” making it critical that nurse practitioners don’t allow themselves to get pigeonholed, Penn said.

“Don’t let people tell you ‘You just do the meds’ or ‘You’re just an extender.’ You’re not extending anybody,” he said. “You need to get a seat at the table. And once you get that seat at the table, make your thoughts known, Be able to articulate them.”

He said one of the best things he did was leave the nurse practitioner program “hungry.” That drove him to continue to pursue knowledge and keep from getting complacent.

“Some of the best advice I ever got in my training was when you go home every day after clinic think about what you didn’t know and then go look that up right now,” he said. “And I still do that.”

Penn also encouraged the attendees to choose their mentors wisely, take good care of themselves, and share their knowledge with the world by teaching.