Being a registered nurse is a challenging career, but also one of the most rewarding ways a person can spend their professional life. Nurses are there for people during some of the most challenging periods of their lives, providing practical care and emotional support for patients and their families. Nursing is also a career with a lot of opportunity for progression and professional development if you take the time to invest in your education and take control of your career path. If you are a registered nurse looking to take your career to the next level, here are 5 ways to boost a career in nursing.
1. Advance Your Education
Whether you want to specialize in a specific field of nursing or are looking to take on more responsibility in a leadership role, educational investment is the key. Every extra qualification you achieve will expand your professional horizons and enrich your expertise. The more specialized your skills, the more likely it is that you will end up in a position which matches your interests and talents. Some choose to pursue further education in an area such as midwifery, mental health, family nursing or adult-gerontology. Nurses who want to become practitioners or to hold leadership roles should pursue a master’s in nursing.
It can be tough to find the time to study while working, but there are some fantastic online providers which offer nursing programs that you can study for on your own schedule. Take a look at Wilkes University graduate tuition for examples of available nursing courses and fees.
2. Expand Your Professional Network
As well as being able to build a rapport and establish trust with patients, nursing involves being able to cultivate successful relationships with other healthcare professionals. You will meet many people in a nursing role and, if you network, these connections may prove invaluable when it comes to advancing your career. These relationships will enable you to exchange information and ideas and to work out new solutions to problems. You can network with professionals within your organization and with people outside of it if you join groups such as the American Nurses Association. These associations often organize networking events, workshops and webinars as well as offering articles and debate on relevant issues.
3. Find a Professional Mentor
A mentor is someone who acts as a role model and is an encouraging and supportive influence in your career. They are not necessarily someone who works in nursing or even in healthcare. In fact, a mentor with whom you work directly might not be the best choice as you may not be able to confide in them if you have worries or ambitions to communicate. A mentor who works in another industry or sector may also be able to offer new ways of thinking or working, which could be adapted to nursing. You may feel hesitant to initiate a mentor-mentee relationship, and it is unlikely to develop overnight. Still, simply asking someone, you admire for their advice is a great place to start. They are likely to be pleased that you think enough of them to ask for their guidance.
4. Always Maintain Ethical Professionalism
Your ethics and professionalism are as important as your clinical skills. This includes being an honest and trustworthy person who respects patients as individuals. A nurse should be able to build excellent relationships with patients, their families and colleagues while being professional and maintaining a high level of organization. Effective nursing is a huge part of a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing and can directly impact how quickly a person recovers. It is also worth keeping in mind, particularly if you are looking for a position of authority, that the way you present yourself in your personal life is also ethical. Your social media presence and the way you conduct yourself in your community may be taken into consideration should you seek a position with more responsibility.
5. Improve Your Soft Skills
A nurse’s personality and interpersonal skills are hugely important. Nurses should be working on improving their communication skills in a variety of ways such as active listening, conflict management and resolution, problem-solving and both verbal/written communication skills. Leadership skills are greatly valued in the nursing profession, so it is essential to show that you can use your initiative and will go the extra mile to support both patients and colleagues. If you are offered the opportunity to take on extra responsibility either within your organization or outside of it, it is an excellent idea to take the chance to improve your skills and grow professionally.