Nursing, undeniably, is one of the immensely gratifying and honorable careers. The field has always been about taking care of patients and bringing a real difference in their lives.
Nurses remain on their toes and work grueling long hours to provide the best quality services and ensure the safety of patients.
The professionals in this field make up the largest workforce in the healthcare sector. From clinical facilities and healthcare organizations to rehabilitation centers and ambulatory services, the demand for nurses is at an all-time high.
As medical science evolves and exciting career advancement opportunities emerge for professionals, nursing positions will grow by 9% by 2030. And while career progression is a thrilling process. It can also be an overwhelming experience.
It takes a great deal of effort and courage to make a great leap. From where should you begin? And what should you add to your already full nursing plate to intensify career satisfaction?
Whether you are an aspirant nurse or nursing veteran, career advancement mainly hinges on taking a pragmatic stance – putting yourself out there. So, let’s dive into some of the ways that reinforce your nursing career and ensure you get the most out of this rewarding profession:
Pursue further education
The nursing field is competitive; the pace at which it evolves seems relentless. And this gives all the more reasons for nurses to stay updated with the latest medical practices and industry trends.
However, earning basic certifications alone isn’t enough to fortify your career foundation. Education is critical, and thus, increasing your educational credentials is the next natural step to consider, along with practical experience to accelerate your nursing career.
A BSN degree not only equips you with hard skills. It also hones the soft skills and expands the knowledge spectrum to become eligible for advanced nursing roles.
Therefore, consider an online RN to BSN program to develop the principles that urged you to sink your feet in the healthcare industry.
Plus, of all the benefits of an online degree program, the main advantage is the convenience of learning at own pace. Thus, making it easy for professionals to attain a healthy work-life balance.
Invest time in volunteer work
Extreme pressures in the workplace such as lack of resources and time, nursing shortage, or service demands present learning and development opportunities for you.
Instead, volunteering provides you with the golden opportunity to bridge experience and education gaps that would otherwise be challenging to fill. By investing time in volunteer work, not only can you develop and refine your skillset.
While it may be pretty hard to squeeze in time for volunteer work as a full-time nurse; however, there are numerous benefits you could receive through it. Along with enhanced social integration, volunteering also gives a sense of purpose to life.
If you are unsure of where to start, look out for external opportunities in the nursing sector. For instance, you may lack palliative care experience and have always wanted to polish your end-of-life-care skills. In that case, you can volunteer work in a local charity or hospice facility.
By stepping out of your comfort zone and rendering services, you can earn respect and appreciation from the management. At the same time, you can help people and provide care to those who need them the most.
As with any other field, nursing is about who you know rather than what you know.
Networking is one of the best approaches to kickstart your career and keep it accelerating. Through networking, you can meet with experienced professionals who can open doors for you and explore various career pathways that pique your interest.
And while networking within the healthcare environment is crucial for career progression; however, expand your horizons and build relationships with people outside of the industry. When it comes to making new connections, there are various avenues you can explore.
For instance, you can join professional associations or attend conferences, workshops, and webinars. You can interact with like-minded individuals, exchange new ideas and concepts, and stay updated with the latest industry trends.
Other ways of growing your professional network include actively participating in nursing events, community work, and joining workplace governance committees.
Search for a mentor
An exemplary role model or just someone who can pass on words of wisdom is beneficial to expedite your career growth. A mentor not only renders assistance in developing career goals and objectives.
They can also bolster your confidence and spread good words as you advance in your career journey. Therefore, find a mentor who’s competent in the job role you wish to pursue in the future and also possesses critical leadership qualities.
There’s no better than an experienced nurse from whom you can learn the ropes and some workarounds for typical problems in the career. Some healthcare organizations already have mentorship programs in place.
However, it’s relevant to note there exist two types of mentorship – formal and informal. The former is more like a structured program such as a residency program or teachers.
These programs provide full training to nursing veterans to ensure they possess the necessary expertise to steer the new talent in the right direction. However, the latter is more like social relationships than professional ones. You can seek career guidance through simple one-on-one conversations.
Become a travel nurse
Besides the apparent advantage of career progression, being a traveling nurse allows you to explore different corners of the world and meet people from various spheres of life. That way, you can broaden your perspective and gain a new outlook on life.
Working in multiple locations gives you the liberty to develop skills and earn experience, which wouldn’t have been possible when working with a single employer. Also, travel nursing is an excellent way to unearth the different nursing roles you love the most. You can learn valuable life skills too while spending time as a travel nurse.
What’s more? As a travel nurse, you have the chance to get yourself engrossed in different cultures while still getting a paycheck. Depending on your time as a travel nurse, you can also tick off places from your bucket list and explore new cities.
Nursing is a constantly-evolving field that offers heaps of specialties for its professionals. However, as with any other profession, nursing career advancement starts with knowing what you wish to be and where you want to end up in the future.
Therefore, appraise your personal goals and conduct a thorough research about the roles you would feel comfortable working in the forthcoming years, if not decades.
If the advancing options discussed above feel a bit overwhelming, never fret. Career progression is an ongoing process that can extend throughout your career journey. Merely implementing one option or a variant can give you a leg up in your career.