Nursing is a profession that, much like other healthcare jobs, demands life-long learning. Once you land your first job as a nurse practitioner, there is still a long way to go regarding career progression. The potential for career advancement is high, and the competition is also tough.
Career advancement in any profession is highly beneficial, and in nursing, it will open doors to new job opportunities with better salaries and a potential for higher job satisfaction. Nurses who enter the field with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) usually seek stepping into leadership positions or different specializations.
To step up on this career ladder, you need better qualifications and greater experience to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and tools you need for these more demanding professions.
As with any profession, looking ahead is one highly valued trait in nursing professionals. With that said, here are some of the many ways you can advance your nursing career.
1. Pursue higher education
With a BSN under your belt and a new graduate degree in your memory, you might feel unwilling to continue your education. However, the benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks.
Many healthcare professions demand a BSN, but an MSN, DNP, or Ph.D. will help you be more competitive in the workforce and take on executive positions. When you consider getting a higher degree while hired part-time, one common concern is time management; it isn’t easy to juggle these simultaneously.
Fortunately, many educational institutions consider this dilemma and offer online alternatives like fnp online programs or an MSN to DNP program online. These programs are very flexible, and you can complete most in as many years as you need.
2. Get certified
Compared with many other professions, one plus point of nursing is that there is always an opportunity to change your specialization. You can specialize in a particular field and narrow your focus; this helps boost your expertise in one specific area and work on advancing in the field you like best.
You can clinically specialize in different settings, from adult critical care, pediatric critical care, and progressive care, to gastroenterology and cardiac surgery. You can also get certification in nursing administration, management, and other executive posts.
Healthcare institutions usually demand ACLS, PALS, or BLS certification for nurses hired in critical or emergency care units and in adult care. Again, it indeed seems challenging to fit a certificate into your busy schedule, but luckily, many certification courses can be completed online.
3. Join a professional nursing organization
Networking is an indispensable part of any profession and a great way to move up the career ladder. When you have a network of professionals who know you well, you will likely land new and better job opportunities and have a higher chance of getting hired here.
You can join professional nursing organizations like the American Nurses Association, the International Council of Nurses, or the National League for Nursing to network.
These organizations help in networking, open new educational opportunities, and allow for professional growth and development.
Contact with other professionals and regular participation in activities by these organizations helps you stay up-to-date and current about the latest technological developments in the healthcare sector. Many organizations also give their members’ student scholarships and grants for research so you can open doors to many new career advancement opportunities.
4. Follow nursing blogs
Wise people learn from the experience of others; one great way to benefit from the experience of other nurses is to follow nursing blogs. Yes! As strange as this source of learning sounds, it will surely help.
On this platform, seasoned and experienced nurses share their first-hand experiences. You will likely get insight into the latest cutting-edge ideas and new strategies you can incorporate into your practice.
You can find thousands of helpful blogs online with new ideas, information about the latest trends, and insight into the operations of the healthcare sector.
5. Seek mentorship
This profession isn’t always easy, especially for new registered nurses; there will be ups and downs, and you face challenges that people from other fields will not understand. It is always helpful to have someone with first-hand experience in this to guide you.
Experienced nurses can help you through the emotional and professional challenges you will inevitably face here. A good nurse mentor will help you resolve day-to-day problems, offer emotional support, boost confidence, and offer career counseling.
In addition to providing good practical guidance, a mentor can also give a professional reference when you apply for a new job or to a graduate program. They can also polish your leadership skills, provide you with support for your career advancement, and open new networking opportunities.
You can find a good mentor in numerous places, and a professional nursing organization is a great place to begin your search. Look for a mentor who works in your area of specialization.
6. Get experience in diverse units
Get as much experience as possible in different nursing units; experience always helps. It helps you gain new skills, knowledge, and expertise under your belt and enhance your resume. You will also be more competitive in the market with a resume rich with experience in different settings.
Cultural awareness, good problem-solving, and adaptability, are all important qualities in nurses. Experience in different settings will help you polish these skills. Nurses with diverse expertise are also more appealing for management roles.
Volunteer work looks great on the resume, helps develop new skills, and fills out gaps in experience or knowledge. Volunteering allows you to get free training with less investment of time.
Suppose you don’t have direct experience in any specific area of interest and don’t want to get certified formally. In that case, you can volunteer at a local hospital and fill this gap. By participating in volunteer work in different settings, you can get experience in several new areas and build your resume.
There are many opportunities for advancement in nursing if only you avail them. Nurses who step into the nursing profession anew often search for ways to enhance their skills and push for higher-level jobs.
You can pursue higher education degrees, get certified, specialize, find a mentor, gain experience in different centers, and volunteer. In the long run, your effort will pay off in the form of better-paying and higher-level jobs.