Being a nurse is a fulfilling and rewarding profession full of opportunities to help others improve their quality of life by promoting health and healing. Still, it is a demanding role as nurses must think critically and work well under pressure since every day presents a new challenge. Even a slight misstep in judgment can have severe consequences for the patient.
Nursing is a dynamic field, continually undergoing shifts and developments. So, it’s a role that requires constant progress to stay relevant and advance your career. Whether you’re an established professional or just starting in the nursing field, it can’t hurt to think about ways to improve your chances of professional development.
Why pursue career advancement as a nurse?
As frontline healthcare workers, nurses need the experience and expertise to deal with various critical situations and treat patients with optimal care and concern. Advancing your career makes you more receptive to acquiring knowledge and equips you with the skill set to work in various healthcare settings such as outpatient clinics, inpatient units, hospice care, or nursing homes.
Plus, you gain experience dealing with various critical situations and delivering optimal patient care. Nurses, unfortunately, are the first ones to notice the signs of neglect and abuse in healthcare settings.
But they won’t know the best course of action unless they keep up with advanced patient care resources. With the right expertise and experience, nurses can keep their patients safe through prevention and early intervention.
If you ever suspect or witness patient abuse or neglect, your first instinct should be to report it to the authorities. For example, nursing home residents are highly vulnerable to abuse. As a nurse, you must encourage your patients to file free case reviews for the authorities to understand the intricacies of the issues better and make the offenders face the consequences of their actions.
How can nurses advance their careers?
Pursuing career advancement allows nurses to keep up with the changing healthcare landscape and stay relevant. It also promises better earning potential and enhanced job satisfaction. But the question stands: how can you progress in your nursing career?
To answer that, we bring you four tips for making adequate progress in your nursing career. Keep scrolling to learn more.
Four tips for nurses to progress in their careers
1. Pursue development opportunities
Learning should be a life-long process for any professional looking to succeed. And the pursuit of development opportunities should be a priority for every professional nurse looking to improve their skills and knowledge. As you develop your career, you’ll eventually find a specialty that speaks to your goals and interests.
You can improve your abilities as a healthcare provider by actively seeking to expand your medical knowledge and expertise. Furthermore, taking deliberate steps to increase your knowledge and expertise can help you better care for patients.
Seek relevant formal training, professional certifications, and conferences to equip yourself with the latest knowledge and skillset.
2. Join a professional organization
Like any other career path, your network significantly affects your ability. To a large extent, your professional success in any field is determined by the size of your network. By joining a professional nursing organization, you can network with like-minded professionals who will encourage and motivate you to grow. Plus, you’ll have access to cutting-edge research and best practices in nursing.
Getting involved with a professional nursing organization is a great way to expand your network outside your workplace and nursing school. These connections can help you find senior nurses to shadow or even a mentor who can guide you in your career.
Nurses who are members of professional groups may also be eligible for free or reduced-price registration to nursing conventions and other educational events. Furthermore, members may also get access to career assistance, job placement services, and other professional development tools.
There are more than a hundred nursing organizations in the country, so you won’t have trouble finding one that suits your needs.
3. Find a nursing mentor
Looking to develop your nursing career? Joining a professional organization is a significant first step but choosing a mentor who can guide you is just as important. If you’re a new nurse, it’s beneficial to seek advice from more seasoned nurses as they can help you navigate the professional challenges that come with being a nurse.
Nurses often face complex challenges that the typical 9-to-5er can’t begin to fathom. To succeed in your chosen field, having a mentor or advisor you can turn to for guidance and instruction is quite helpful. This means finding someone who can help avoid burnout, guide you through career challenges, and even help you expand your career horizons.
A mentor can be a great resource for making connections and excellent professional references when applying for jobs or graduate schools. If you’re looking for a boost in your career, a mentor can provide you with connections, recommendations, and opportunities that can be useful. Finding supportive mentors can help you reach your professional goals, grow as a leader, and succeed.
The best place to start searching for a mentor is via official mentoring programs offered by your company, national nursing organizations, or the nursing association in your state. Suppose you don’t find somebody via those channels. In that case, you may always contact your company’s human resources department, post in a social media group for nurses, or ask your coworkers for recommendations.
4. Pursue specializations
Nursing is unlike any other medical profession due to its flexibility, allowing you to switch specialties as you see fit at any point in your career. Specializations narrow the scope of your job, help you be more proficient at what you do, and allow you to devote more time to the aspects of your role that you like.
Furthermore, getting certification in your desired specialization by a respected institution can open doors to better career opportunities and is an excellent asset for landing your desired role.
Pursuing higher specializations can bolster your skills and increase your knowledge and breadth of leadership capabilities in your desired specialty. Furthermore, it improves your marketability to employers, job satisfaction, and earning potential.
For practicing RNs, some of the clinical specializations include Pediatric critical care (CCRN), Progressive care (PCCN), and Nurse anesthetist (CRNA), among others. Nurses in leadership or managerial roles can also benefit from specializations and increase their value, enhance their competencies, and land better opportunities.
The Bottom Line
Healthcare is an evolving and ever-changing industry and keeping up with rapid changes is essential to staying relevant. Growing your professional network, pursuing advanced education and specializations, and developing new skills, are all necessary to stay up to date with the best practices in the industry.
If you’re a nurse looking to further your career, follow these four tips to unlock valuable career and growth opportunities.