Nursing isn't a career that, once you enter, you can sit back and make do without any advancement. Unlike some other professions, nursing constantly evolves.
The ever-advancing nature of nursing is one of the main reasons why many people select this profession in the first place.
For most nurses, stepping into the profession of a nurse practitioner with a BSN degree doesn't end there. Once you gain some experience, you likely experience the urge to take the next step in your career path. This thirst for knowledge and career progression is a great sign.
Fortunately, it isn't always an additional educational degree that you need for career advancement. There are many other interesting ways to go about it. With that in mind, the following tips will answer most of your questions about career advancement in nursing.
1. Seek further education
Of course, the first and most apparent career advancement tool is education. Most registered nurses only have a BSN degree when they enter the industry and have a long way to go in education.
It is a big commitment to go back to studying while continuing your professional life, but the decision can make a tremendous difference in your career. It depends on how many years of your life you are willing to devote to education; for some, four years is more than enough.
Most nurses are interested in an NP program. If you are wondering how long is an NP program, it depends on whether you complete it part-time or full-time. With a regular BSN degree, you would need about four years before you become a registered nurse. Another two to three years are required for an MSN or DNP.
Either way, further education is a great stepping stone for higher-level jobs like nurse administration.
2. Associate yourself with a nurse mentor
Mentorship is a great way to get first-hand insights into real-life challenges nurse practitioners face and gain practical assistance in overcoming these hurdles. Find someone higher up the ladder who can give you the necessary advice and consultation.
You can do so by joining a nurse mentorship program where you can get help in career direction, develop your skills, work on improving patient outcomes, build your leadership skills, and influence change.
You should look for a formal mentorship program to find a nurse mentor. Many organizations offer nurses such opportunities. The internet is also a popular networking tool today where you can find mentors from various industries.
3. Earn a specialization
One thing that makes nursing unique is the endless opportunity to change specializations at any point during the career. Specialization allows you to narrow your focus, improve your expertise in a specific arena, and advance your career.
In fact, a reputable online journal for Nursing states that 86% of nursing managers prefer hiring specialized nurses, and 90% of nurses believe that it improves credibility.
You can consider several different clinical specializations, from adult critical care, geriatric care, pediatric critical care, family nurse practice, and more; the options are unlimited.
In addition to specialization, you can also specialize as a nurse manager, an executive, and an administrator. In each advanced role, you have greater responsibilities, potentially better salary packages, and a better opportunity for growth and advancement.
4. Do volunteer work
Volunteer work looks great on your resume and gives you a unique, competitive edge. In healthcare, the competition is intense, and only educational qualification and specialization aren't enough to stand out. To progress further, you must also do some volunteer work.
There are numerous such opportunities today because of the shortage of nursing staff and increased demand in the healthcare sector with the outbreak of COVID-19. While unpaid volunteer work does sound like a put-off, remember that in the long run, it can broaden your horizon and open doors to higher-paid nursing jobs.
In addition to enhancing your resume, volunteer work is also a great way to polish your skills, get practical experience, and earn the satisfaction of contributing to your society. Volunteer work is a great stepping stone before entering the professional world.
5. Get a membership in a professional organization
Networking is an excellent asset for career advancement in any profession, and one way you can achieve this is by joining a professional nursing organization 1https://academicpartnerships.uta.edu/articles/healthcare/benefits-of-professional-nursing-organizations.aspx. You can develop connections and collaborate with nurses from other organizations, peers from other nursing schools, and experienced leaders.
This is also an excellent platform for looking for a nurse mentor and getting information on new career opportunities. Most organizations also have career centers where you can learn about job openings, get advice on the job search process, and learn about typical salary trends.
You may even get invited to nursing conferences and receive discounts on nursing education courses. Some organizations will also provide employment assistance and career development resources.
Membership in such an organization will allow you to stay up-to-date about the latest developments in nursing.
6. Subscribe to nursing blogs
Today's world is highly digitalized; one way to benefit from the many online resources is to access nursing blogs. Many experienced and highly trained nurses use online blogging to communicate their experiences and daily practice with the masses. By subscribing to these, you can get an insight into the practical experience of trained professionals.
You will often come across details about some facility or specialty you haven't heard of before; these present a great starting point for innovative ideas and new techniques in career advancement. On this platform, you can polish existing knowledge in ways you cannot otherwise.
7. Look after yourself
All this is not possible if you aren't in good health. For nurses, it is common to lose track of time and forget self-care amidst the burden of work and career progression, but remember that this will only slow you down and hinder your progress.
Give yourself frequent breaks, stay on top of your physical and mental health, ensure you eat well, and don't compromise on sleep. you're
Once you're hired as a registered nurse, don't stop there because it provides numerous opportunities for career advancement if only you avail them. Pursue higher education, associate yourself with a nurse mentor, do volunteer work, specialize, join a professional organization, and don't forget to look after yourself. Let your ambitions carry you further down the path to success.
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