Nursing is known for being one of the most rewarding professions, providing you with tons of fantastic benefits, such as flexibility, and job security. If you’re the kind of person that likes to make a positive difference and to help those in need, pursuing a career in nursing may be the perfect fit for you. Nurses can work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and schools.
Like with any career, there may come a time where you wish to climb the ladder and take on more responsibilities and duties. Whether you’re after an increase in salary, or want to enter leadership and management roles, it’s important that you have a plan in place to ensure you reach your objectives and goals. To help get you started, here are ten tips on how to take your nursing career to the next level.
Begin Mapping Things Out
Before you can take your nursing career to the next level, it’s important that you map everything out first to help keep you on the right track. There are several questions that you should ask yourself, such as what are the things that you would like to get out of your career? Or, what things would you like to accomplish that you’re currently not able to do in the position you’re in?
Once you have worked out what you want, you will be able to determine which direction is best for you to follow in order to achieve your objectives and goals. For example, if you would like a career that’s fast-paced or challenging, emergency medicine may be the logical step to take.
Like in most fields of work, it’s a case of not what you know, but who you know. If you have the motivation and drive to take your nursing career to the next level, it’s important that you know how to network. Some of the benefits of networking include:
- Advancing your career
- Building confidence
- Gaining a different perspective
- Accessing more job opportunities
- Building strong connections
There are various things that you can do when it comes to networking with others in the nursing industry, such as joining associations, and attending conferences. Having the opportunity to network with other healthcare professionals can open more doors and provide you with key advice and support, which can help get your foot in the door when seeking employment.
Pursue Continuing Education
When working a nurse, there are several continuing education requirements that you need to meet in order to maintain your credentials and stay compliant in your field. While there are minimum requirements that need to be met, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and going the extra mile can help those in the nursing sector take you more seriously. If you’re serious about advancing your career, getting the right knowledge and skillset under your belt can help when seeking employment, especially in leadership positions.
Volunteer Your Time
While it can be challenging to find time to volunteer as a nursing professional, you may not be aware of all the benefits that it can bring to your career. Volunteering in general can help:
- Build self-esteem
- Improve confidence
- Give you a sense of purpose
- Increase social integration
- Improve overall quality of life
If you’re wondering where to start, there are external opportunities that may be present within your sector. For example, your boss may be seeking a nurse who would like to take on more responsibility; therefore, stepping up to the plate and offering your services could not only help you earn respect and appreciation from management, but provide you with additional experience and skills that you can put on your resume to help you become more marketable to employers.
Consider Becoming a Traveling Nurse
If you are not tied down by a family, or other commitments, why not consider becoming a traveling nurse? Not only can this route be a great way to advance your career, but getting to explore new locations and engaging with people from all walks of life can broaden the mind and give you a new perspective. There are many benefits that traveling nurses can receive, such as:
- High pay and bonuses
- Free private housing
- Tax advantage plan
- Referral bonuses
- Travel reimbursements
- Health, dental, vision, and life insurance
Not only will you get to explore new places and surroundings, but there are a variety of different specialties in nursing that you may have the opportunity to try out. Throughout your time as a traveling nurse, you will gain invaluable experience which can look great on your resume, showing employers that you have the confidence and drive to go the extra mile.
Sign Up to Professional Organizations
If you want to boost your resume and make employers take notice, becoming part of a professional organization can be a great place to start. These sorts of memberships give you the opportunity to learn from others in the nursing field, as well as build valuable connections that you may not get elsewhere. There are tons of organizations to pick from, so knowing where to start can be difficult; however, many nurses sign up to the American Nurses Association which can provide you with an array of benefits, such as:
- Advance your career with free development webinars and resources
- Stay current with the latest developments and news in the nursing sector
- Save money with huge discounts on certification publications, CE and more
- Connect and network with RNs (Registered Nurses) for advice, guidance, and support
It’s best to start with a general approach when signing up to a professional organization. Once you have found one that suits your needs, you should consider including a specialty group to your repertoire.
Obtain Additional Certifications
There are various additional professional certifications that can be a great way to move your nursing career in the right direction. If you aren’t sure where to begin, a good rule of thumb should be to start with whatever specialty sparks your interest. For example, if you would like to become a family nurse practitioner, you can earn your post masters FNP online from providers like Carson-Newman University. The more credentials you have under your belt, the better, especially when it comes to standing out from your peers.
Focus on Integrity
If you’re serious about advancing your career as a nurse, it’s important that you focus on maintaining the highest level of integrity at all times, both on a personal and professional basis. Being open and honest, respectful of others, as well as maintaining patient confidentiality will help set you apart for all the right reasons. It’s also important to retain a positive mindset throughout. There are all sorts of challenges and obstacles that nurses face on a day to day basis, so knowing how to work well under pressure and being professional and attentive will help move your career forward.
If you’re currently working a nurse, finding the time to commit yourself to education can be challenging. If you’re in a full-time position, you’re not going to be able to study at a traditional nursing school, so why not consider the online route instead? There are many nursing programs and degrees that can be studied online, providing you with tons of flexibility. Some of the benefits that many nurses receive from online studying include:
- Learning from home
- Flexible schedule and environment
- Self-discipline and responsibility
- More choice of course topics
- 24/7 access to course materials
Having the freedom and flexibility to study at your own pace can be a huge help, especially when working full time as a nurse. If you’re worried about how you’re going to fund the course, there may be grants and scholarships that you can apply for which can take the weight off your shoulders. If you need any help and support throughout your course, there are professors who are available around the clock who you can get in touch with.
Learn Key Skills
Regardless of the nursing career you would like to pursue, there are key traits and skills that are required in all aspects of nursing. Whether it’s knowing how to communicate effectively with patients, colleagues, and managers, possessing strong listening skills, or having empathy for your patients, doing all that you can to stand out from your peers is important. Other key skills that nurses need include:
- Attention to detail
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Decision making
- Organizational skills
- Teamwork skills
- Diplomacy skills
- Leadership skills
- Multitasking skills
When applying for your dream role in nursing, employers will look out for these key skills and attributes, so it’s important that you have a strong skillset behind you which can help propel your nursing career to the next level.
If you’re passionate about helping others and want to climb the ladder in the nursing sector, taking all the tips listed into account can help you on your journey. Before you apply for any role, make sure that you read up on the duties, responsibilities, and requirements you must possess to help make sure you find a career that is best suited to your needs.