Easy Ways to Advance Your Nursing Career 

One of the careers that provide the highest level of personal satisfaction is nursing. It is a vital job that involves helping people who are in need. However, just because you are a nurse, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t also ambitious. Some people want to squeeze every last drop out of a job. So, if you are looking to push your career to the next level, the following blog post is going to outline just a few of the ways that you can achieve this aim. 

Pursue Additional Qualifications

One of the most obvious ways that you can advance your nursing career is by pursuing additional qualifications. For example, you could DNP degree that brings you to a higher level of nursing. When you embark upon a structured course, there are clear skills that you are learning, as well as advancements that you are making. The courses have been tailored to create the nursing leaders of tomorrow. When you are choosing a course to take, make sure that you select the one that matches your desires most closely. You should also choose a learning institution that is highly respected. This way, you know that you are going to get a good level of education. Speak to your current employers to see if you could get the course sponsored. You can also enquire as to whether they are flexible with fitting the course around your regular working hours. 

Create a Plan 

Additional qualifications like a DNP degree are great, but you need to have a clear idea where you are heading in your career. Otherwise, you won’t be able to choose a course that suits you perfectly. It seems like a cliched question, but where do you see yourself in five years? How would you like to contribute further to the medical field? Once you have answered these questions, you can start to break down your goals into smaller targets. You should also have a rough timeframe of when you can expect to accomplish each of them. This way, you can tick off your goals one-by-one. There is an immense feeling of personal satisfaction to be gained as you achieve your ambitions. 

Attend Nursing Conferences 

Nursing conferences are highly useful for a couple of main reasons. First of all, you have the opportunity to learn from experts in their field. They represent an excellent learning opportunity and often occur as part of your regular working contract. However, there may be others that require you to learn in your own time. Beyond this, they also provide an invaluable networking opportunity that allows you to meet other people in your field, which can potentially result in new job chances opening up. As well as the larger events, it is also worth getting involved in smaller seminars like you would find as part of a DNP degree. This way, you can build up your confidence in speaking as well as listening. If you work hard enough, you may even find yourself up on the stage delivering some of the speeches and seminars!

Volunteer to Take on New Opportunities 

While you can learn all the theory in the world from a DNP degree or similar, the practical application of your nursing abilities can end up teaching you so much more. So, if you are able to take on additional responsibilities at work, this is certainly going to be worthwhile in all sorts of different ways. First, you will make yourself look good at your current place of employment, which makes it more likely that you are going to obtain promotions that come up. Beyond this, you will have new skills that you can add to your resume. Further down the line, these may help you to obtain new positions if you are on the lookout for a promotion elsewhere. 

Take Continuing Education Courses

We have already talked about the usefulness of courses such as a DNP degree, and there is no doubt that there are other ways of continuing in education while you are in a nursing job. After all, this is the kind of career path that requires continuous learning, and not one on which you can expect to be done from the moment you get your degree certificate. So, when there is the opportunity to take one of these courses on, it is certainly worth saying yes. In fact, an openness to new pursuits is always going to be worthwhile in any career path. 

Try Being a Travel Nurse 

Another possible course of action you could take is to become a travel nurse. There are several natural advantages that this course of action affords. Not only do you have the opportunity to visit a wide range of different locations, but you also get the chance to meet new people and have experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise have had. If you stay with a single employer all the time, you are not really opening yourself up to the world of possibility out there. The other main advantage of travel nursing is that it can be a lucrative profession that may even give you the chance to take part in continuing educational programs. 

Join Professional Organizations 

Just like other professions, the field of nursing is one that comes along with a whole host of professional organizations. Not only do these have an attractive appearance on your resume, but they can also present new learning opportunities, the chance to build connections, and gain highly valuable experience along the way. As well as being able to join general nursing organizations, you can also take part in those that are much more specialized. 

Maintain Your Sense of Professionalism 

While you may think that it goes without saying, maintaining a sense of professionalism is a vital part of being a great nurse. No matter whether you are at the bottom or the top of your profession, if you keep a similar attitude throughout, this will certainly stand you in good stead. A big part of this involves putting the needs of your patients first, as well as continually demonstrating a willingness to job your job to the highest standard. Soft skills such as communication and a good bedside manner are vital components of the job. When you work in a job for a long time, it is easy for your professionalism to start to dip. However, if you can keep this going on a daily basis, this will help you to stand out from the crowd. 

Boost Your Soft Skills 

While there are plenty of medical and technical skills that you can develop with courses such as a DNP degree, you also need to think about your soft skills and the ways that you can improve them. There are plenty of these that can have a big impact on your nursing career. First of all, there is communication. As well as being able to explain treatment options and procedures to patients, it is also bound to help a great deal to listen to their concerns as well. After all, good communication is a two-way street. Collaboration and teamwork are obviously essential when you work in any type of medical profession. Problem-solving is another area that can boost your nursing career significantly. Also, good organization is invaluable as it allows you to prioritize during the day. 

While some soft skills will come to you naturally, there are going to be plenty more that won’t come so easily. It is these ones that require the most work. Bear in mind that it is going to take a sustained effort to get them right, and it may not be something that comes overnight. Asking your colleagues and friends for help can help you out enormously. For example, you could improve your communication by pretending that your friend is a patient and by explaining a complicated medical procedure to them in the simplest language possible. Not only this, but you also need to work out how you are going to comfort them as well.

Research the Job Market 

Even if you are not actively seeking a new position at the moment, there is no harm in looking at the job market from time to time and getting a clearer picture of exactly what is on offer. This way, when it does come the time that you would like to apply for a new position, you have a better idea of what is out there. Check out the different roles that are in-demand and whether or not you need any additional qualifications such as a DNP degree to get them. Some of these accreditations are likely to take time to get, so you need to know about them at the earliest possible opportunity. It is also a good idea to keep your resume continually updated with your latest skills and achievements. Remember, you also need to remove items from your resume from time to time as they become less relevant. 

Prepare for Interviews Thoroughly 

When you do decide to take on a new opportunity and you manage to get to the interview stage, you need to take the time to properly prepare for it. So, research a few of the most common questions and work out how to answer them. Employers are often on the lookout for specific responses rather than answers that are too generalized, so this is worth bearing in mind when you are coming up with your responses. If you know somebody who is adept at giving interviews, they can help to drill your answers. Of course, you don’t want everything to sound over-rehearsed, so when the interview day comes, try to relax and allow some of your natural personality traits to shine through. 

Consider Taking a Sabbatical or a Secondment 

You may think that it is counterintuitive to become a better nurse by doing something else, but a period away from the working world can actually go a long way towards giving your career a boost in the right direction. You can gain additional skills and qualifications that will benefit your job role and your organization as a whole. This time spent out could be used for a number of different purposes. For example, you could use it to take on a DNP degree. Alternatively, it may be used for a specific project or research opportunity. Your sabbatical or secondment period could last for anywhere between a few weeks to a few years. Make sure that you check the policy of your organization as to whether they accept this time out from the working world. 

Take Note of Your Appraisals

A lot of people don’t get on well with appraisals as they find it difficult to hear criticism. However, rather than taking this as a personal attack, you should instead treat it as a learning opportunity. Try to set your ego to one side when you are listening to what your boss has to say. During this process, it is also likely that your boss will ask you to assess your own progress. In this situation, you should be as honest as possible – without being too hard on yourself. When you walk away from your appraisal meeting, you should have a clear idea of exactly what you need to do and the next steps that you should take. This way, you should come along the next meeting having made huge progress and strides in the right direction.

Think About Your Career 

During the day-to-day hubbub of a nursing job, it is all too easy to forget to make time to think about your career. However, if you don’t have a clear idea of where you are going, you will never get there. Taking this time can prove to be invaluable, so now is the opportunity to schedule it into your diary. 

Hopefully, you have found some useful ways of taking your nursing career to the next level. Ultimately, by using a combination of the strategies above, you can really move your working life in the right direction.

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