Being a nurse, your primary goal is to always give the utmost care to your patients and improve their quality of life. However, while doing this, you’ll come to realize that to further take care of them you need to gain new skills and advance your knowledge in the different aspects of your field of profession.
Moreover, advancing your nursing career is also an advantage to your career goals, such as a new position, a promotion, higher pay, and additional knowledge to help care for more people.
Whether you’re a nursing veteran wanting to change things up or a newly licensed nurse wanting to stand out, there are always things you can do to further your progress in your profession.
If you’ve been contemplating how to take your nursing career a notch higher, here are some viable options to try:
1. Obtain a Specialization Certification
As a nurse, you have the option to change your specialization throughout your nursing career, unlike other healthcare professionals.
Narrowing your career focus can be a great way to boost your level of expertise and thrive on the aspects of your job that you want best. Becoming certified in your desired specialty can help build your career, particularly if it is through a reputable organization.
Here are some specializations to choose from if you’re in the nursing profession:
- Pediatric care
- Cardiac nurse
- Nurse anesthetist
- Critical care nurse
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Family nurse
- ER nurse
- Surgical or Operating room nurse
- Nurse Midwife
- Nursing administrator
- Obstetrics Nurse
Each specialization will have different studies or certification courses to take. For instance, those wanting to work in obstetrics will need specialized studies on women’s health and childbirth. They may also have to take an ultrasound course for nurses for pregnancy examinations and peripheral IV insertions.
2. Learn From A Professional Mentor In Your Field
Day in, day out, nurses experience tough situations that the average 9-5 employees won’t understand. And having someone you can seek advice from and learn from is invaluable in navigating and progressing your career.
A professional mentor can be someone who can help you realize new career options that you can choose from. A mentor can vary from a manager, bedside expert, educator, veteran, or senior nurse. They can also help you connect with their established network or provide a professional reference for your graduate program applications or next job.
If you want a mentor to guide you, you can look for formal mentoring programs run by professional nursing organizations, local professional nursing groups, or your employer.
As a nursing professional, it may be challenging to find the time to volunteer. However, it does bring you great benefits for advancing your career.
In general, volunteering can help you:
- Improve confidence and self-esteem
- Enhance the overall quality of life
- Boost social skills and integration
- Provides you with a sense of purpose
Aside from the list mentioned, documenting your volunteer activities is good for your professional development, showcasing employers that you have a well-rounded nursing career. It also helps you expand your network while allowing you to earn new skills and knowledge of the real world.
It allows you to work on different specialties and roles without making a long-term commitment. This allows you to explore your options and make a better decision on possible career choices in the future.
4. Pursue Continuing Education
The healthcare industry is always evolving. Staying current and up to date is an important part of any healthcare profession including nurses.
In general, continuing education for nurses that highlights new practices, techniques, and advancements is mandatory. Most states have strict continuing education requirements for nurses upon renewing their license.
That said, you don’t have to limit yourself to the bare minimum. You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and go the extra mile if you want to be taken more seriously. If you want to advance your nursing career, you need to get the right skill set and knowledge under your belt, particularly in leadership positions.
5. Join a Nursing Organization
Professional nursing organizations exist to help nurses advance their careers, gain opportunities for networking and the promotion of best practices.
Joining a professional nursing association opens you to a whole new connection outside your former nursing school contacts and current co-workers. Furthermore, the type of connection you get from these organizations can help you bring endless opportunities for career advancement and specializations.
Some nursing organizations also offer programs to their members such as invitations to exclusive nursing conferences or discount help for continuing education courses. They also provide employment assistance to newbie nurses and other career resources.
Advancing your nursing career can be both exciting and overwhelming. It definitely takes courage to make a change. That said, if the above options seem too much, don’t fret, as you don’t have to take all of them in one go. Advancing your nursing job is a long process that can span your entire career. Taking it one step at a time is the way to go in achieving your goals through a systematic approach that can lead you to your dreams.
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