10 Things You Can Do If You Failed Nurse Practitioner School

Written By: Brittney Bertagna, BSN, RN

So, what can you do if you have failed nurse practitioner (NP) school? This article is here to guide you if you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, where you failed out of NP school and now you don’t know what to do next. This article is helpful if you are someone who has failed NP school and is now looking at what your next steps and options are. To help you better understand what you can do next, let's dig a little deeper into 10 things you can do after failing nurse practitioner school.


(Here are the 10 things you can do after failing nurse practitioner school. Although this list is not exhaustive, it provides a starting point for those who find themselves in a similar situation.)

1. Assess Your Situation.

First and foremost, just like nursing school, you should always start with an assessment of your situation. Being as honest and open with yourself as possible is most important. Really think about the areas in which you had the most difficulty. Was it a particular subject? Was it a type of lecture? Do you think there were any outside circumstances that contributed to your failure?

Once you understand what contributed to you failing NP school you will be able to start to understand if you can fix any of the issues that led to your inability to complete the assignments. Would you be able to do anything to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again in the future? There is a good chance that the answer is yes, and there is a good chance that whatever the reason was can be overcome.

Knowing the situation and circumstances around what really happened during your time in NP school is the best step forward you can give yourself. After, you can begin to process or address underlying issues that may be able to help you in the future.


2. Reflect On The Real Reasons Why You Failed Nurse Practitioner School.

Now that you have an honest idea of why you failed nurse practitioner school, reflection is going to be the next step. Is nurse practitioner school really what you want, or is it something else that is holding you back because you know there is something else you would rather be pursuing?

Only you know the answers to what will make you happy and what is worth spending your energy on. Because only you are the one with the true answers to happiness. Begin to really listen to your body and pay attention to how it responds and it might surprise you how responsive it is.

3. Reapply!

If continuing to pursue your NP is the right decision for you, reapply to the program you have already attended and others if they fit your learning style. The important thing is to recognize that not all NP programs are created equal, and you should keep in mind that just because you didn't succeed in one program doesn't mean you can't in another one. Research all the programs that you would realistically be interested in attending and reapply to them.

It may have been that the style of the program was not the right fit for you. Maybe an online-based program is not the right choice for you, or maybe you were in an in-person program and an online program may be a better fit for you. Was it an adjustment to be back in class after a year of online learning? Whatever your story is, there are other options for you and you should take the time to learn your learning style and the teaching style of the program before applying for the next application cycle.

4. Educate Yourself Before Going Back

Upon reflection, did you find you struggled in a particular area within your program? The best thing you can do if you have a weak area is to find a course and cover it again to prepare you for the content you will be expected to know once in an NP program again. Knowing what the program expects and taking the time to prepare yourself prior to being accepted into a program will give you a great advantage over those who didn't get that head start.

5. Prepare For Interviews.

Being prepared for the interview process will increase your chances of getting into the program the next time you apply. Programs may ask you why you failed NP school and what you have done since to avoid this happening again. Putting this information in your personal statement may be worth considering so you are upfront and proactive about your experience.

There are many ways you can prepare for interviews. Practicing with a friend in a similar situation can be a great way to practice and receive honest feedback. There are also many interview questions that you can practice with. Have a rough idea about some of the most popular interview questions and be one step ahead of others who are applying.

6. Recognize And Process Emotions.

This is a critical step in the process if continuing on to becoming a nurse practitioner is for you. You have worked your tail off to gain admission into the program. Don't be afraid to feel your emotions. You might feel defeated, or angry with yourself, or even the program itself, but don’t let those emotions define you.

Your emotions are there to guide you through what is happening in your current situation. Learn to embrace and learn from what your emotions are telling you. It will help you in the long run, even years after you leave the program.

7. Reach Out And Network With Professionals In The Healthcare Field.

See if you can get some additional advice from professionals in the field and ask for their opinion on the subject. You might get good advice from them as to what you should do next, or better yet, what you shouldn't do. They have much more experience than you do and may be able to save you a great deal of time. You might learn something from them that can help you turn a negative situation into a positive one. An added perk to this is that you are building in a networking opportunity that may help you down the road once you graduate.

8. Stay In Touch And Continue To Build Relationships With Previous Professors.

Like the above mention of networking, this is also a great opportunity to build a professional relationship with those you already know in the healthcare and nurse practitioner field. Take advantage of the relationship you already have with your old professors and see if they can be of any guidance. They may be able to help you reflect back on your weaknesses that they saw that can help you overcome obstacles in the future.

9. Take A Break.

Take advantage of this opportunity to relax and enjoy some time off. Before you are back in the whirlwind of academic overload, take some time to reduce the amount of stress in your life. You, might now, have the option of taking a vacation or spending more time with family if you are able to. You could use the extra time to finish some home improvement projects or increase your efficiency at home to help once you are busy again. Having a clean work environment can help you focus and be more productive if you decide to attempt NP school again. The time for you is now so make the best of the situation you are in and do whatever you can to reset and prepare for the journey ahead.

10. Stay Positive.

Keep a positive attitude. Failing NP school has nothing to do with who you are as a person, how you will treat your patients in the future, or how your life will turn out. One of the few things you do have total control over is the way you approach situations in your life. Take advantage of the fact that you can choose your attitude. Keeping a positive outlook for the future can motivate you to keep on moving forward.

My Final Thoughts

You got into school the first time, you can do it again. With these 10 things you can do after failing nurse practitioner school you are equipped with what you need to move forward with whatever dreams you desire. With these tools, you won’t have to ask yourself again what can you do after failing nurse practitioner school. Good luck on your next adventure, you got this.

Brittney Bertagna, BSN, RN
Brittney Bertagna is currently a nurse and writer in Las Vegas, NV. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration she completed nursing school and became a registered nurse. While working a night shift in the neonatal ICU she went back to school to get her second bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Governors University. Now she enjoys working with children in the surgical setting as well as with her adult patients as an infusion nurse.