Seven Simple ways to take a Nursing Career to the Next Level

Nursing is one of the most honorable and noble professions that someone can do and has been ranked the most trusted profession in America for nineteen years in a row so check out these Seven Simple ways to take a Nursing Career to the Next Level.

Nevertheless, it is still a career and a means of earning a living to support a lifestyle and family.

For this reason, it is also ironic that nurses stay in their jobs for longer than any other profession; it seems that there is generally no thought among nurses of moving up into management or looking for ways to earn more, as many of them are in the job to care for people.

The argument presented for this is because the intrinsic driving force for most nurses is the aim to help others. Furthermore, many in the professional seldom think about think about going beyond the front-line nursing into a more senior role and what that might look like.

This article is for those who are currently in a nursing career or thinking of starting a career in nursing and want to think about where that career trajectory might lead them as they progress in experience, qualifications, and skills.

Here are Seven Simple ways to take a Nursing Career to the Next Level:

Seven Simple ways to take a Nursing Career to the Next Level

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Continued Professional Development

While this might seem daunting if you think of it as getting more qualifications or further education. However, professional development can be as simple as focusing on and trying to improve key skills such as communication skills, active listening skills, effective writing, and leadership skills, then being able to demonstrate that you have used these improved skills.

With 22% of current nurses considering leaving their position and with pressure on the healthcare industry because of COVID, there are things that you can do as a nurse to not only promote your career development but make sure you enjoy your work on a day to day basis.

In addition, as demands for better workplace environments are being heard, many employers are giving those looking for professional development the time and resources to develop themselves and improve skills, qualifications, and personal attributes in many different forms.

If you can concentrate on improving the key skills, there are also possibilities for more intensive professional development in the healthcare and nursing sectors. Whether you are considering moving into a healthcare management, administration, or research position, there are many options to pursue a professional career.

Set goals for your Career Advancement

Create realistic but ambitious goals and will push you to challenge yourself out of your comfort zone. You might want to consider thinking about SMART goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

This means that you do not only think about what you want to do, but also when, how, and whether it actually suits your current context. For example, if you know that you are a working single mom, moving from a nursing position to a management position in a year might not be realistic.

Without clear goals, you may lose sight of what you are aiming for and why. With four million registered nurses in the US, there are many who have come before you and many who will follow in your footsteps.

If you can leave a positive legacy during your time as a nurse and through your progression in the career, you will add to the largest healthcare profession in the sector. But, to ensure that impact is positive, you need to set clear goals and then ensure you can implement those goals.

Establish a Mentoring Relationship

With 89% of nurses being female, one would expect that leadership in the healthcare and nursing sectors would be equally representative. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and research shows that 78% of executive committees of the top 20 American companies are male. This makes it even more important for nurses to have good mentors who can nurture their talents and skills into leadership positions.

While this relationship between the mentor and mentee does take time to build and nurture, you can take a number of steps to get the process started and then take it to the next level.

The first thing to do is to identify someone who you think will be a good role model, who will be able to dedicate some time to this relationship, and who has valuable career advice to give. The second thing to do is find out whether your organization, workplace, or institute has any kind of mentoring program that you could join.

Mentoring is not only a means to ensure your own success but having gone through your own mentor-mentee relationship when you do achieve a leadership position, you can then play your own mentoring role in the future.

Mentoring is becoming increasingly popular across many sectors, and approximately 70% of Fortune 500 companies have a mentoring program. Establishing a successful mentoring relationship is an excellent way to promote your career, leading to better pay and more efficient promotion. Research shows that mentees who are part of a mentoring program were promoted five times more than those who are not.

Invest in your Education

This may mean having to compromise in other areas of your social or private life but thinking about career development should be a long-term concern for anyone looking to advance their career. Nursing remains one of the most rewarding careers in the US, and more than 80% of nurses in a recent study said they would still become nurses if they had to do it all over again.

If you are considering advancing your career through education, it is important to think about higher degrees and doing short courses and certificates. However, the key to investing in your education is not only committing to courses but choosing the right education to pursue.

For example, if you are looking to advance towards management, then pursuing further education in clinical certifications is not the right path to choose. Instead, you should look at certificates and qualifications that are tailored specifically to management or administration positions.

If you are going to pursue further education, then a key step is knowing the most recent trends in nursing technology that are changing the sector. The COVID pandemic has introduced significant changes to the way health and wellbeing are being administered and provided.

One key trend is telehealth and telemedicine, which have been introduced as a way to avoid spreading COVID. While this does not require significant technical abilities, it does connect to other technological advances such as the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence.

Data-driven practices of infectious disease surveillance are at the forefront of using technology to track real-time trends. However, healthcare managers and leaders will have to know what to do with the data to improve healthcare provision and the experience of patients and how to access data and what is the best data to track to ensure better services.

Whether it is an intelligent robot or an AI-enabled digital stethoscope, the rise of AI in the healthcare sector is a growing trend and one that healthcare and nurse leaders will have to become familiar with and adept at using.

While your future career may not require you to understand the technology behind these innovations, you will be required to know how to use them to ensure better healthcare and more effective, streamlined services in the sector.

Build and nurture your Networks

This means building or becoming parts of formal networks but also trying to build your own informal networks with supportive colleagues and friends. Your state should have a nursing association that you can join, but there are also international societies and the American Nurses Association that can offer different kinds of support and networks to suit your particular interests and requirements.

As many nurses and healthcare professionals had to deal with their mental wellbeing’s precarious nature, building a network of support is increasingly important. Being able to share your own experiences and listen to those of others is an excellent means of unburdening ourselves. In addition, networks or being part of an association is an excellent way to learn knowledge, skills, and new ideas.

This is true not only of information and experience in your own sector but also across different areas of the healthcare and nursing sectors, allowing you to widen your scope of knowledge and possibly opening avenues for your own development that you may not have considered before.

An additional advantage of being part of a society or association is that they regularly hold conferences or present their members with opportunities for development and sharing. They often also have forums, groups, blogs, or publications that can offer you opportunities to learn and spaces for you to share your own experiences and expertise.

Become a volunteer

Volunteering is rewarding and allows for the building of additional skills and experience for anyone looking to advance their career in nursing. While it can be challenging to find the time while also continuing a nursing career and pursuing further education, the advantages might outweigh the challenges.

This includes, for example, improving your confidence in different contexts, improving your communication, and listening skills, building your self-esteem, and possibly introducing you to new practical nursing skills.

Becoming a nurse volunteer abroad is also another option worth considering as it offers many advantages and possibilities. Volunteering abroad allows you to explore different skills and allow you to learn new cultures, expand your knowledge about different contexts, and consider healthcare systems and sectors from a different perspective.

This could be extremely useful when you do reach your future management position. Furthermore, nursing abroad means gaining valuable travel experience and learning how to be adaptable and flexible to the changing daily demands of different employers.

Care and communication

It may seem like an arbitrary trait, but you will not be able to progress unless you actually care about  your career and the people you help and look after as a nurse or in the organization you work for.

The profession is one where you must be driven by the need to do for others, and you will have to have shown this to those you work with and for, to be considered for a move upwards, regardless of the qualifications and career development plan that you have implemented.

Linked to the idea or trait of caring about the role is that of communication.

Of course, not everyone is a good communicator, but those involved in care and nursing need to be able to improve, practice and perfect these skills to be able to both interact with patients in a manner that elicits trust and openness as well as then being able to communicate a patient’s needs to other health professionals.

Care and communication are some of the most basic traits that a good health worker or caregiver will require. However, these are also soft skills that can be improved and practiced ensuring that you have the manner and attitude that professionals and patients alike will be able to relate to and appreciate.

Conclusions

Nursing is one of the fastest-growing, best-paid professions in the country and across the globe at the moment. This demand for professional and qualified nurses means that if you are in the sector, now is the time to look at your own qualifications, position, and career as a whole and determine whether there are other opportunities out there into which you could move.

You will have to do a skills audit, and as per this article, there are number of simple tips that you can start implementing to secure your next upward career move. Yes, you may have entered the profession to help others and may very well still need to fulfill this nurturing role, but there are a number of associated and related roles in the nursing and healthcare sector that will allow you to earn more and still enjoy the feel-good aspect of working to improve the healthcare options and lives of your patients.

We hope you benefit from these Seven Simple ways to take a Nursing Career to the Next Level.

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