One of the best things about choosing a career in nursing is the sheer number of opportunities for progression and advancement. Once you’ve graduated nursing school and become a registered nurse, then gone on to gain some first-hand work experience in your chosen industry, you will be able to study further, take exams, train to teach nursing, specialize in a certain area of healthcare, and much more.
But, with so many different options to choose from, it’s not always easy for newly qualified nurses to decide which direction they want their career to take. So, we’ve put together some of the best progression routes to go down if you want to move through the ranks, gaining more responsibility and income as a nurse.
#1. Try New Things:
First of all, the time you have after graduating is best put to use by getting as much experience as you can in the different areas of nursing. Whether it’s taking shifts in the emergency room, on a children’s ward, or working for a nursing agency so that you can try a number of new things each week, it’s a great time to get as much experience as you can, so that it’s easier for you to determine both what you enjoy and what you are good at within your job. Bear in mind that the nursing career is a vast and varied one, with some nurses being better at different aspects of the job than others. Finding your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes in nursing now will stand you in good stead for choosing your progression pathway in the future.
#2. Invest in Your Education:
If you’re a nurse who is looking to progress and move up the ranks, then you’ll need to be prepared to invest in further education in order to meet your career goals. If you’d like to work in a nursing management position, you will usually need to go back to college and study for an RN to MSN program or similar. Teaching roles will typically require a doctorate, and if you want to become a nurse practitioner, there are specialized programs available to help you practice in your field of choice, such as this online FNP program, which qualifies you as a family nurse practitioner. Of course, there are several smaller programs that you can take which won’t require returning to college, for instance, if you wish to become a nurse anesthetist or work as a theatre nurse. Bear in mind that today, the wide range of online programs available for nurses has made it easier than ever to fit furthering your education around your full-time career work.
#3. Get a Mentor:
At the early stages of your career, you can greatly benefit from having a more experienced nurse or healthcare professional who can act as your mentor and provide advice that will help you make the best decisions for furthering your career. As a nurse, you have the advantage of working with several people who can mentor you as you progress, providing you with valuable tips and support that will help you reach your goals. But, developing a mentor-mentee relationship can take time, so bear in mind that it’s vital that you take steps to actively search for and identify people who you consider to be a good role model for you in their career. This should be somebody who you feel comfortable talking to and asking for advice.
#4. Focus On Self-Improvement:
Since nursing is a very demanding profession where you are working on the front-line of the healthcare industry, continuous self-improvement is crucial in order for nurses to not only progress but also to be able to cope with the day-to-day demands of their career. Throughout your studies, you may have also been encouraged to keep a personal reflective journal; it’s a great idea to stick to this as you continue building your career since looking back on decisions and choices that you’ve made in the past can be extremely useful for shaping and improving those that you make in the future. And, being able to demonstrate active self-improvement and reflectiveness will make a good impression on your superiors when it comes to promotions.
Today, nursing is a great career choice for anybody who wants to progress, with several pathways to choose from in this highly in-demand position. With the demand for good nurses only set to rise in the near future, there’s a position for anybody who enjoys helping others and works well under pressure.
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