You might have started a career in nursing because you have a caring soul and attain happiness by helping others. Caring for your patients is at the forefront of a career in nursing, but also important is to think about your career development.
Nursing is a dynamic career, and changes are happening every day. New research and technological breakthroughs constantly modify how patient care is undertaken. Nurses must update their knowledge and skills and develop their careers to stay relevant, enhance their professional standing, and increase their earning potential.
Whether you are a rookie trying to navigate the nursing career ladder or a veteran nurse ready to shake things up, there is certainly a way to upgrade your profession. The only thing required is your willingness to paddle through unknown waters and embrace the challenges of change.
If you are prepared to leap forward in your nursing, some ways are mentioned below. These ways suit everyone, from a soon-to-be to an established nurse.
1. Higher education
Advancing your educational qualification is one of the surefire ways to advance your nursing career. A higher degree in nursing translates into a better salary, more career opportunities, and better knowledge and patient outcomes. Some educational opportunities available to you for upgrading your career are the following:
If you are considering progressing your nursing career through higher education, consider getting an online BSN. It is nothing new anymore that a BSN opens doors for new career opportunities. Many hospitals have also made it mandatory for their current and new nurses to have a BSN degree.
Those with a BSN can go for online masters of Science in nursing programs offered by prestigious universities such as Norwich University.
Online programs are preferred over on-campus ones because they allow you to plan your coursework according to your busy schedule.
Some universities also offer programs that bypass the requirement of a BSN. They allow you to opt for an RN-to-MSN program (if you are already an RN).
An MSN degree is a great option to gain higher clinical skills and knowledge, specialize in a specific nursing area, and even start your practice.
DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) is the last and final official degree in nursing. It offers an alternate path to nurses seeking a deviation from a research-based doctoral program. It helps growth-oriented nurses to gain advanced level skills and knowledge.
The curriculum of a DNP degree is designed to develop future leaders who can identify structural and patient care problems and enhance patient care standards. Hence, DNP nurses can act as change-makers by implementing their theoretical knowledge and bringing about organizational changes.
Once you have a DNP degree, many leadership and management-level career opportunities will open. Nurses with a DNP degree have a competitive advantage over nurses with a BSN or MSN regarding growth opportunities and earning a higher salary.
2. Work in different nursing units
Soak up all the information and skills about nursing by working in many units across a healthcare facility. Multi-department experience helps you acquire a taste of everything that this field offers. Working in various nursing units will also make you more marketable by making you a jack of all trades.
According to professionals in this field, nurses who have worked in various departments in a hospital are considered more valuable as they have been through the complicated work requirements of each one. They can tackle unusual situations more expertly and wisely than those with only limited experience in one nursing area.
Plus, you will know what you like and don’t like about this field, which helps a lot when making a higher education decision.
3. Discuss your ambitions
You might have lofty goals of making a change in your career or bringing improvements to your organization. But no one will know what you think unless you talk about them. Therefore, talk about your ambitions and career goals, especially with your supervisors and those in decision-making positions. Telling your supervisor what you can do if you get promoted to a higher post is one of the ways to stick out among other prospective candidates considered for the post.
You can also make an effort to work in committees where nurses from different departments come together to fulfill certain organizational goals. This way, you can acquaint yourself with people from other departments and the roles that might interest you.
4. Read nursing blogs and journals
Google is a vast resource for learning skills and knowledge of a particular field of work. An extensive amount of blogs and reading material from other nursing organizations is available online and is just a click away from you. These blogs present a hoard of ideas.
Also, nursing blogs help you keep a tab on what is happening in the industry. You will know what experts in your field are doing, understand the changes in the healthcare system, and even have a lighthearted movement by reading entertaining posts about the field.
Besides nursing blogs, research articles about nursing are another way to know about cutting-edge research. Literature helps you locate evidence helping you change your care delivery.
Sometimes demonstrating what you know about your field becomes a way to stand out and show your capability. Therefore, make it your habit to spend a few minutes every day reading about your profession.
Nursing is certainly challenging, and taking a leap forward to upgrade your career is not without uncertainties. Deciding what to do on top of everything you have been doing to advance your career can be overwhelming and, at times, stressful. Therefore, getting some assistance in this regard is always helpful. Some ideas to upgrade your nursing career are mentioned in the article above. You can continue your struggle to be the best in your field by following these ideas. Even if these steps seem a bit overpowering, don’t fear! Take your career advancement as a continuous process that can span over several years.