Stepping into the healthcare field as a nurse is one of the most rewarding career choices. With the rising need for frontline healthcare workers, nurses enjoy job security, satisfaction, and considerably high salaries.
However, as much as it’s rewarding, nursing can be incredibly tough as well, especially when it comes to career advancement.
In order to progress in the nursing field, it’s essential to stand out from the competition. But handling a multitude of responsibilities while distinguishing yourself from others to gain access to higher job positions is no easy feat. As a result, many aspiring nurses often struggle with progress beyond entry-level jobs and suffer from burnout. However, you can avoid such a situation by availing growth opportunities and planning effectively.
To help you with this purpose, here are five tips to help you advance in your nursing career.
1. Continue your education
Healthcare is an ever-evolving field. With research occurring at an exponential rate, new work practices and concepts emerge each year to improve patient outcomes. However, this also means your nursing knowledge and skills can become outdated sooner than expected. Therefore, as a nurse, you must embrace lifelong learning and keep updated with new developments in the dynamic nursing field. Doing so will allow you to acquire new skills and knowledge to handle your career effectively. More importantly, with better qualifications, you can easily access higher job positions for career advancement.
Even with a BSN and MSN in hand, nurses have opportunities for growth through various certifications. While it’s true that pursuing advanced courses while being a nurse can be a hard task, you can always opt for an online program and learn at your own pace. You can find plenty of post MSN certificate programs online that offer a chance to pursue your next specialization and add more dimension to your CV.
2. Seek mentorship
Nursing can be tough, and advancing your career alone can make things far more challenging. So, don’t hesitate to seek help and support from other nurses. In particular, it’s a good idea to establish a mentorship relationship with an experienced nurse or healthcare professional. Based on years of healthcare work, a mentor can pass on exceptional skills and knowledge that you won’t learn in a classroom. Using your relationship with a mentor, you can also gain important advice and guidance for success in your career. In addition, mentors help inexperienced nurses settle into the hectic work environment and kick-start their careers.
Healthcare facilities often offer mentorship programs to help out nurses seeking career advancement. Keep an eye out for such opportunities and use your mentor’s guidance for effective career progression.
3. Join professional organizations
One of the main goals of professional nursing organizations is to help nurses advance in their careers. So, it’s essential to avail this opportunity if you want access to higher job positions. Becoming a member of professional organizations will allow you to interact with countless other talented healthcare professionals. Social interaction will help you establish valuable professional connections and a large network of experts that will help you with career advancement. Up to 80% of occupations are filled through professional connections. So, it’s safe to say you will gain access to countless job opportunities with a strong professional network.
Professional organizations for nurses are often affiliated with healthcare facilities. So, one of the ways you can join them is through your workplace. However, you can also look for networking opportunities and interact with individuals that can grant you access.
Once you have become a member, participate in events, webinars, and conferences. Doing so will help you engage with other members and gain guidance and career opportunities.
4. Practice self-care
Nursing can be an emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding job. Without proper care for yourself, it’s easy to develop serious health issues such as musculoskeletal disorders and depression. It’s not surprising that as many as 2.7 million nurses in the US alone have experienced burnout. Declining health harms you, your career, and those you care for as a nurse. With poor mental and physical health, you will be unable to fulfill your work responsibilities and will be more likely to make mistakes that can damage your career.
So, practicing self-care and maintaining your overall well-being is crucial to take care of your patients effectively and advancing in your career. For this purpose, it’s essential to reserve some time of your day for exercise to boost your energy levels and strengthen your body. More importantly, you must take breaks throughout the day and ensure you get a good night’s rest each day. Additionally, engaging in hobbies and spending time with family is a good way to combat emotional stress and stay motivated to advance in your career.
5. Develop strong communication skills
Nurses have to interact with several individuals, such as colleagues, patients, families, and other healthcare professionals, throughout the day. So, communication plays a vital role in the career of a nurse. It ensures patient safety, allows accurate information exchange, and helps to maintain professional relations. Poor communication can be damaging to your career and act as an obstacle to your progression. Miscommunication is often the cause of incidents that put patient safety at risk.
So, to advance your career, focus on developing strong communication skills. To do so, it’s a good idea to practice by interacting as much as you can with patients. Active listening is a crucial aspect of strong communication skills. So, make sure to listen to your patients as well. In addition, you can interact with coworkers and engage in teamwork to further enhance your communication skills.
Undoubtedly, nursing is one of the most rewarding careers out there. However, it can also be equally challenging when it comes to career advancement. Taking care of physically and mentally draining tasks while setting yourself apart from others can be difficult. But with the right planning and strategies, preparing yourself for career progression is possible. So, follow the tips mentioned above and secure your future as a nurse.