Advancing your nursing career: Eight helpful tips

Advancing your nursing career: Eight helpful tips

Nursing is a popular choice for anyone hoping to enter the health sector. This profession appeals most to those who consider themselves true altruists and derive internal satisfaction from helping others. Nursing is a career with great personal satisfaction, career advancement opportunities, flexibility, and high-paying jobs.

Nursing is undoubtedly an excellent career choice; there is one problem, however. If you stay fixated on the post you have attained and perform the same tasks repeatedly, it loses its charm and becomes more of a burden. This holds for any profession at all.

Fortunately, nursing provides excellent career advancement opportunities if you are prepared to avail of them. If you are fresh into the nursing career, you have a long way to go, so don’t settle for less. Always keep your eyes on the next higher post and strive for advancement.

The following tips will help you advance in your nursing career.

1.       Specialize

The next step after you enter nursing is to specialize in a narrower field and polish your expertise in the area that interests you most. Take time to list all the nurse practitioner (NP) specialization possibilities that interest you and shortlist. Then look up information on their requirements.

There are various NP specialties that focus on different avenues of nursing. Once you fulfill those, you have other areas to explore, like family nurse practice, neonatal practice, pediatric care, women’s health nursing, and gerontology.

2.       Get an advanced degree

While it is possible to enter nursing with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, getting an advanced degree will help you climb the ladder to success in nursing. Most nurses begin practice soon after their bachelor’s degree and return to complete their master’s degree or MSN later.

You can land a better-paying job and a higher post with a higher degree. You can get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree with programs like RN-to-BSN. An MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing) and a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) can allow you to apply to higher posts like clinical nurse specialist.

Yes, a DNP demands a lot of time and effort, but this one-time investment will surely help boost your career.

3.       Enrol yourself in continuing education opportunities

The healthcare sector is an ever-evolving and rapidly developing industry that demands healthcare workers to always be on top of the latest developments. Continuing education courses will teach you about the latest advancements and techniques in healthcare. Some states even mandate continuing education if one wishes to renew their license.

A Continuing Nursing Education or CNE trains nurses by helping them keep up with the changes in the healthcare industry, learn to use new technology, and access the latest research in the field.

4.       Look for a mentor

It is always a good idea to associate yourself with someone higher up the ladder in any profession. Having a mentor in the professional world is amazingly beneficial. When choosing a mentor, go for someone with good experience and expertise.

Experience in nursing can take you a long way; if you don’t yet have the experience, take assistance from someone who does. Experience teaches you how to deal with the various obstacles you are likely to encounter as a nurse, and your mentor will be able to help you out when you have any questions or need advice or guidance.

5.       Build your network

Networking is a beautiful path to career advancement. As a nurse, you are expected to interact with various healthcare professionals and know and cooperate with your colleagues and higher authorities. In addition to these networks, having contact with people outside your organization is also a great idea.

Some nursing organizations offer fellowship opportunities and conduct conferences with other health professionals. Such networks are critical and helpful when searching for new jobs and career advancement chances.

A LinkedIn survey revealed that around 85% of job pots are filled through networking. You can get referrals and learn about new recruitment options with a solid professional network. You also get exposure to various nursing specialties and a platform through which you can influence the healthcare system.

6.       Be open to constructive feedback

No one can operate entirely independently, and feedback from others is always helpful. It allows you to grow and progress in your field. You might not be able to identify your mistakes because of bias, but others can. So always be open to constructive feedback.

Take your profession as an opportunity to learn and grow, and always aim to be a better healthcare provider. It is a good idea to note such advice from others and review them repeatedly. Incorporate any feedback you get and use it as a stepping stool to reach higher.

7.       Look around for new opportunities

Your organization must offer training sessions, conferences, and similar learning platforms, but if it isn’t, ask for some. Search for training options in your specific field of interest; doing so will significantly help you improve your clinical practice.

It is best to discuss with the authorities that you intend to progress up the career ladder. Also, make it clear to them through your actions that you are hardworking and reliable. Even within your organization, you can ask your higher-ups for new duties and volunteer for such tasks.

8.       Gain experience working with different nursing units

The more you diversify your experience, the better. Try to work in as many organizations as possible and learn from their unique settings. Experience with different work environments communicates adaptability and looks good on your CV.

Adaptability is very much needed in nursing because nurses are expected to interact with clients from various backgrounds and encounter unexpected situations. They must be able to retain their objectivity and quickly adapt accordingly.

Nurses are highly valued in different hospitals because they are prepared to adapt to change. Experience in diverse settings is also a valuable asset if you wish to apply for any managerial post in nursing.

Final words

Nursing is a career with fantastic career advancement opportunities. Nurses who are constantly striving to be better are the most successful. Don’t stop your journey once you enter the profession. Seek specialization, get an advanced degree, join continuing education programs, welcome constructive feedback, and experiment with different work environments. 

All this will help you polish your personal and interpersonal skills, gain experience, earn qualifications, and aim for the best. 


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