7 Tips to Help You Advance Your Nursing Career
A career in nursing is rewarding in numerous ways. In addition to having the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives every day when you go to work, there is also plenty of room for advancement. No matter where you are in your journey as a nurse, there are always ways to take your career to the next level.
If you are someone who loves learning and is willing to do what it takes to continually improve your skills, you could find yourself climbing the ladder and meeting career goals left and right. As long as you have the ambition, there is never any reason for your career as a nurse to feel stagnant. Taking things to the next level does take some careful planning, though. If you are ready to start making changes, keep reading to discover a few tips to help you advance your nursing career.
- Start with a Plan
Goals are great, but if you don’t have a plan for how you are going to achieve them, you probably won’t get far. Figure out where you would like to go in your career long-term, and determine the steps you’ll need to take in order to get there. Come up with mini-goals to use as stepping stones along the way. Think about where you would like to be in one year, five years, 10 years, etc.
Once you have a series of goals figured out, determine what you will need to do in order to achieve each one. Use this information to come up with an ultimate action plan that will guide your steps toward the nursing position of your dreams.
- Be a Leader
The people who soar to the top of their career fields don’t do so by being followers and doing the bare minimum of what is expected of them. They do it by exhibiting strong leadership skills and a willingness to take on any opportunity or challenge that comes their way.
Volunteer to take on extra responsibilities or to guide other nurses who are not as far along in their careers as you. In addition to showcasing your leadership qualities, taking on extra roles and doing more than is expected of you is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn some additional skills that can be added to your resume.
- Spend Time Working as a Travel Nurse
Travel nursing offers numerous benefits, especially for those who are hoping to advance their careers. Working as a travel nurse gives you the opportunity to work in multiple locations where you will work with new people and gain skills and experiences beyond what you would gain when working with a single employer. Travel nursing is also a great way to truly uncover the types of positions you love most. Of course, having the opportunity to work in different types of nursing roles also provides an opportunity for you to find out exactly what you don’t like, too.
Spending some time as a travel nurse provides valuable life skills, too. When working in this type of role, you need to always be prepared for what’s next. Mastering the skill of always being prepared is, of course, vital when you want to advance to higher levels of nursing.
- Make Professionalism a Priority
No matter where you are in your nursing career, behaving in a professional manner is always important. Even if you are working in a lower-level position, you need to have strong interpersonal skills and present yourself as a healthcare professional at all times when on the clock.
Your appearance matters, too. Always make sure that the cute scrubs you love wearing to work are kept neat and stain-free. Invest in some comfortable scrub jackets so you have something nice to put on if you get chilly. Keep your shoes clean and in good condition. Generally speaking, you should never look sloppy or poorly put together when you go to work. Keeping your uniform in good condition and taking steps to maintain your personal hygiene and appearance goes a long way when you are trying to present yourself as a professional.
- Continue Your Education
When you are a nurse, the learning never ends. The field of healthcare is constantly evolving, and it’s vital to ensure that your knowledge is kept up to date. Participating in continuing education courses ensures that you know about the latest research in the nursing field as well as current best practices. As you work toward higher degrees or leadership positions at work, continuing education courses can help you meet your goals, too.
You may also want to think about earning additional certifications. If you are interested in working in a certain field of nursing, such as surgery, labor and delivery, pediatrics, or emergency medicine, earning a professional certification in your field of choice will go a long way toward helping you secure your dream job.
- Join Professional Organizations
Joining professional nursing organizations is a great way to build your resume. Doing so is also a good way to gain all sorts of valuable experiences and build relationships that could be beneficial as you work toward advancing your career. Joining general organizations for nurses is a good place to start, but, for the maximum benefit, consider joining ones that are specific to your specialty.
- Attend Conferences
Nursing conferences provide an opportunity to learn from experts and network with other nursing professionals. There are hundreds of nursing conferences each year, and they are held in cities spanning the country, so you should be able to find one in your general area.
The Bottom Line
No matter where you are in your career as a nurse, there are always opportunities for advancement. Spend some time assessing your personal goals and thinking about where you would like to be in your career by the time you are ready to retire. Then, get to work taking the steps needed to make it happen! With perseverance, you can achieve any goal you desire and build your dream career.
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