Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry. They study hard and work long hours to provide us with the best possible care and help the doctors and patients to the best of their abilities. As healthcare is such a diverse field, nurses have the privilege of choosing their career path from a wide range of options.
Like any other industry, healthcare has gotten highly competitive in the last few years. Although there is an ever-growing need to hire more nurses in healthcare facilities, employers usually look for novelty, skills, education, and experience.
So, how can you advance your nursing career in these competitive times? Here are eight tips to help you get started.
1- Continue Your Education
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a basic graduate degree that is now becoming increasingly common for RNs to pursue. A BSN program gives you the necessary education and skills to make your way into the nursing career. But once you have gotten a BSN, is that enough?
To advance your career in nursing, it is important to keep studying. Have a BSN? Go for MSN next! Higher education is a growing need in nursing, one you must fulfill to get ahead in your career.
It might be difficult to juggle your education with a full-time job. To ease this dilemma, you can always opt for Masters of Science Nursing Online from a reputed university. With an online degree, you can adjust your degree credit hours with working hours with a bit of adjustment.
2- Specialize in a Specific Field
Like every other field, nurses have several career options to choose from. They can specialize in mental health, gerontology, pediatrics, and more. So, how does specialization help your career?
A specialization in a particular field sets your career on a specific path. It aims to develop and hone your nursing skills in a particular direction. You put all your effort into learning and practicing one professional path, making you an expert in your chosen field.
Healthcare facilities need experts in the field to serve their organizations, maximizing patient care. Nowadays, specialized nurses are in high demand. For example, a pediatric nurse is preferred over an RN to work in a nursery. Similarly, a mental health nurse practitioner is highly preferred to work in a mental health facility.
Specialization can give your career a nudge in the right direction that only goes uphill.
3- Gain Professional Skills
At this time, professional skills are as important as educational achievements. No matter how much of a high achiever you are in academics, your employers still look for exceptional professional skills.
One of the best ways to hone your professional skills is to get additional certifications. Such courses are short-term and aim to polish a set of skills to perfection. They certify and mark you as an expert in your field, trained in various practices that can make you a valuable nurse to your employers.
Keep looking for courses, seminars, and training opportunities related to your specialized field, and attend them as often as possible.
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4- Look Up To Your Seniors
There is a lot to be learned from professionals who have been in the field far longer than you have. No matter how educated you are or how many certificates you have, nothing can compensate for the professional experience.
Starting on a new job, have conversations with your seniors. Discuss their experience working in the field and the organization. Consult them when you have to deal with a particularly challenging case. Even when you leave the organization, keep in touch with them. They may shine a light when you seem to lose your way in your field.
5- Broaden your Professional Network
Once you set foot in professional life, you learn to work with others as a team. A peek into the professional lives of other nurses can help you grow in your career. For this purpose, broaden your professional network by joining different nursing associations. Share your experiences with other nurses, and learn different things from the experience of others.
6- Volunteer for Particularly Challenging Tasks
Generally, nursing is considered a challenging field. As a nurse, you have to deal with difficult patients every day. But once in a while, a tough task arises that no one wishes to do. And that is when you should volunteer to be assigned to such cases.
A challenging task is an excuse for training in itself. It helps you self-examine your skills. You get to know where your skills and knowledge lie and your weak links. You may struggle with the challenge, but it only results in polished professional skills and an excellent professional repertoire. You become invaluable to your employer, which helps advance your career to the next level.
7- Get Additional Certificates in Leadership and Management
Every organization needs strong and competent leadership to lead its facility toward betterment. Healthcare organizations are no different. You can advance one step further if you have considerable education and experience in nursing.
As a nurse, you spend your days providing the best healthcare to your patients. When you have worked in the industry long enough, you start to understand the management techniques employed by your superiors. Take one step further and enroll yourself in additional leadership and management courses.
A leadership position in your current organization can help you advance your career path in more ways than one. Not only do you get to manage your department, but you also get a chance to interact with different people and increase your professional circle.
There are various roads to professional success, just like any other employment, but they all depend on your goals and ambitions. The nursing profession is unquestionably tricky and evolving. As a result, it is natural for nurses to constantly feel the desire to grow in their careers.
Keep in mind that the path to work advancement is never-ending. To predict outcomes, you must wait. Take it one step at a time, and don’t give up if you want to be successful in your profession.