How to Advance Your Nursing Career in 7 Steps
Nursing is one of the most rewarding fields anyone can enter, and one of the reasons why it is so is because of how versatile it is. You can work in virtually any setting that you want, get a technical or more of a hands-on role, and move into all sorts of different paths, some of which are not directly related to nursing.
For nurses who’ve spent a lot of years on the floor or those who might be more ambitious, the idea of advancement usually comes to mind at a certain point. The good news is that advancing your career is not only doable but often encouraged due to the growing need for highly specialized help. Here’s how talented nurses can advance their nursing career in seven steps.
Look a Mentorship Opportunities
This is the first thing you should do if you are serious about advancing, want to know what to expect and get it right the first time. Mentors will also be able to show you some of the challenges of advancing and see if you’re ready to make the jump. A mentor could convince you that you still have a lot to accomplish where you are and will want to make sure that you’re in the proper head space.
In addition to mentors, you also want to find higher-ups who will sponsor and champion for you. These are the people who will be in your corner and encourage you while you take the next step. There are also those who will be vouching for you when the time comes, and could also show you some opportunities you may not be aware of.
Choose Your Direction
The next thing you want to do is assess what your needs and aspirations are. Do you simply want to work in a different setting? In some cases, just your current experience and a short formation could be enough to allow you to work in a setting that would be more exciting for you. Or you may want to move on to an administrative role.
Then you have the specialization route. You may want to work in obstetrics, family nursing, or as a nurse anesthetist. These are all very lucrative specializations, with very different characteristics and work atmospheres.
You also have to consider fields like research, advocacy, public office, or academia. Some of these fields are in dire need of fresh talent with actual experience, and yours, coupled with the right credentials, could make you a prime candidate.
Check out A Few Blogs
Nursing blogs can also be a wealth of information for any nurse thinking of going to the next level. No one but another nurse can really understand you, and with blogs, you have tons of free information from nurses just like you right at your fingertips.
This is why you should take advantage of them and read up on the transition process, learn more about different specializations, and what it’s really like working there, hear accounts from other nurses, or unwind by hearing fun stories about the field. Either way, you’ll be better informed when the time comes to take that next step.
Look at Professional Orders
Another good idea would be to look for a professional organization in your area. If you haven’t joined a nursing association or organization, you might be missing out on all sorts of perks. You will not only have the chance to rub shoulders with highly dedicated and ambitious nurses just like you, but you’ll also be able to make tons of valuable connections, which could eventually open you up to all sorts of opportunities.
Even if it doesn’t lead to getting you a job, joining an organization could be a great way to build not only bonds but also a support system. Again, only a fellow nurse can understand the daily challenges, struggles, and stress you might have to deal with. So, the more people you can find who can support you and you can confide in, the better you’ll be.
One thing you can’t do if you want to advance your career is be timid. You have to let people know that you’re interested. Closed mouths don’t get fed, and unless you make the people around you know that you’d like to move to a better role, then you might get overlooked for something that might be available right now. By letting people know, you’ll also increase the chances of someone telling you of some opportunity that just opened or is about to.
Consider Online Classes
Online classes should also be strongly considered if you are looking to advance your career. The most beautiful part is that you’ll be able to get your course either full or part-time on your own hours and while you keep your current position.
This means that you could get something like your DNP either after shifts and on the weekends, and end up working in academia, research, or as an advanced practice registered nurse. You could also decide to work as a neonatal nurse, executive, or a family nurse, depending on the specialization.
There are tons of online DNP programs and nursing schools that will allow you to get your formation in the fraction of the time it would usually take through a traditional program. Many of these also have a fast track program for those with a BSN, so that could be a great option for those who thought a DNP was too out of reach for them.
Work in Other Departments
Another thing we would suggest would be to ask to work on other units if possible. You might stumble upon something you like and add it to your possible choice of specialization. Not only that, but this will diversify your experience even more, and make you a more desired and well-rounded candidate for possible roles.
If you follow these seven steps, you should be able to increase your chances of moving up the ladder or moving in a field where you will be able to use your specialized skills. Nursing offers a quasi-infinite number of opportunities, specializations, roles, and settings, so take advantage of them.