Advancing your nursing career is like any other- It takes considerable contemplation because it’s going to be a big change. You’ll be stepping outside of your comfort zone by engaging in new things, be it a new field, new facility, or new country. Like any other career change, it would be wise to implement a plan of action to help you decide what is best for your change of choice.
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing industries across the globe. Alongside this, nurses are in great demand and is a fulfilling and secure career choice, so it is sensible that it would be one that one would want to advance.
Rasmussen University has reached out to experienced nurses about their suggestions for nurses who wish to embark on a new challenge or advance their careers. Here are a few tips that can help you on your journey:
1. Find a mentor
It is an invaluable asset to have people in your corner who can provide you with a professional reference or put you in touch with resources. Catherine Burger, BSN, says that “The mentors provide insight and help me professionally grow and mature while the sponsors are my cheerleaders behind the closed doors of the executive suite”. Finding someone with experience to help guide you can give you a lot of insight.
2. Consider specializing
The nursing profession offers a wide range of options for specialization. Maybe the next step in your career is to focus on a specialty of particular interest? Different specialties will likely require different qualifications, level of education, or experience. However, this does not mean that it’s impossible for you to achieve- all it takes is to learn about different specialties and pick one that you feel would be a good fit.
3. Follow nursing blogs
Experience from other nurses can provide much more insight than you may have initially thought. They could provide details about a certain specialty or facility with which you were previously unaware. There are thousands of blogs out there and that means thousands of new ideas that can be brought forth. You could gain awareness about certain fields, learn about the newest ideas and trends in nursing practice from seasoned experts, and have a deeper understanding of how healthcare systems operate.
4. Experience different fields
One sure way of gaining a deeper understanding of what your future choice(s) might look like is to dip your toes into it. In nursing, one way to do this is by working in as many nursing units as possible. It can help you to learn about what you like and dislike before making a commitment. It also helps you regardless of your final choice because nurses who have experience in more than one unit are considered more valuable to hospitals, for example, because they can fulfill needs as the daily goals change. This diverse experience can also make you more attractive as a candidate for management positions.
5. Explore continuing education
It is a certainty that the healthcare industry is constantly evolving due to the advent of new experiences, research, and technology and that means that staying up to date with this information is part of a nursing career, whatever your specialty. Sometimes it might be mandatory to keep abreast with new advancements, practices, and techniques. Nicole Nash-Arnold, founder of Nurse Manager HQ, notes that “A high level of clinical expertise will help you stand out, but decision-makers are looking for nurses who can transition their mindset and are ready to hold new challenges with vigor… Completing some professional development around non-clinical areas (for example, leadership, education skills, communication, conflict management) will really send that message that you’re ready for the challenge of this new frontier”.
Whatever your next step of choice may be, think about it carefully so that your actions can reflect (and help you reach) your goal. If your goal is not yet defined, do your research, and try to focus on a specific task that can help guide you.
Should you have defined your goal and are looking for something specific, take a look at our vacancies to see if there’s a match. Don't know what the next step should be? Visit our contact page or send us an email at email@example.com and we'll do our best to advise you.