Nurses take care of patients and go the extra mile to ensure their comfort and safety. The profession is well-regarded and is experiencing rapid growth today.
However, nurses must strive to advance their careers and find growth opportunities on both a professional and personal level. This is because of the rapidly changing demands in patient care as the population ages. Regardless of where you are in your career, you can still learn new skills or hone existing ones to improve your practice. So, be sure you make the most out of this profession. The following are a few ways nurses can grow professionally and personally.
Find a mentor
Spend time with people who can teach you something new. There is always someone who has walked in your shoes and can guide you through challenging times in a more effective manner. Consider a mentor as a professional and personal tour guide, whether you’re exploring career options or looking to accelerate your career success.
Get in touch with others in your chosen nursing niche. Many people enjoy talking about themselves. You can inquire what they like about their job and what they do not like. You can also ask them how they manage and what they do differently to make them successful as healthcare providers. Their answers will inspire you to do better.
Make a plan for future growth
Decide what resources you will need to achieve your goals. Are there any additional educational requirements? Experience with different clinical settings? What do you need to go forward?
For example, if your goal is to become a family nurse practitioner, you will need to obtain a master’s degree, complete a specific number of hours of clinical practice, pass the FNP National Certification Exam and obtain state licensure before becoming a family nurse practitioner. Defining your goals and creating a timeline will help you stay on track.
Earn more credentials
Nurses strive to improve their skills daily, and higher education degrees are the key to many career advancements.
If you are an RN who does not hold a bachelor’s degree, pursue a BSN. You will gain expertise in leadership, evidence-based practice, and communication during this program. Similarly, if you have a BSN, you can advance your nursing career by enrolling in an MSN program. Through an MSN program, you’ll gain expert-level nursing skills in a field that interests you.
The more education you earn, the closer you reach your goals. Nursing graduates gain advanced knowledge, receive a higher salary, and are highly regarded and respected.
Learn through experience
Nursing experience refers to a nurse’s clinical expertise. Those with hands-on experience of a particular situation and an understanding of the on-site challenges are likely to be more knowledgeable.
However, certain factors prevent every experienced nurse from earning the clinical expertise they seek. A typical explanation is that the job is monotonous, meaning they are prompt and efficient but aren’t critical thinkers. Even if they have expert knowledge of a particular situation, clinical competence requires a wide range of skills to handle a wide range of situations.
Learn new skills
Despite being assigned to specific specialties, nurses should not limit their potential to routines and procedures confined to their field. Learning new skills can give you an edge over others and help you stand out in a competitive job market.
Earn continuing education units (CEUs)
While higher education is good, nurses must remain up-to-date on the latest trends in healthcare and nursing throughout their careers. Taking CEUs can help them achieve this.
Practical nurses must attend two hours of continuing education every five years. Renewal of a license issued within three years requires 24 contact hours (2.4 CEUs). These CE programmes are also convenient for nurses as they can be completed online.
Improve your teamwork skills
Nurses work in a collaborative environment. Collaborating with the healthcare team is essential for them, as they are responsible for addressing patient needs and concerns. Nurses can play an active role in patient care management activities, such as audits while serving as team members. So hone your teamwork skills to be able to thrive in a dynamic environment involving multiple teams working on the same goal.
Mentor or teach someone
There was a time when nurses were students and novices. It shows professional competence and dedication to helping others grow when guiding or supervising students, new nurses, or new employees. The more you help others, the more respect and admiration you will receive. Plus, you will be able to brush up on things you’ve previously learned.
Contributing to nursing knowledge is an important duty for nurses. An ideal way to accomplish this is by researching and making its findings widely available. Nursing research enriches our understanding of health care practices and improves outcomes when applied practically.
The key to getting ahead is networking. Build relationships with others and connect with them. A student’s network begins in school when they exchange phone numbers with staff nurses assigned to them in clinical and introduce themselves to the management.
Your nurse preceptor in your first semester might become your nurse manager later on. Promotions in nursing are most often based on your connections.
Being seen is interlinked with networking. You can increase your visibility by attending conferences, meetings, and events where you can easily approach important healthcare leaders and introduce yourself. You also get the opportunity to build a social connection with recruiters. Be sure to let them know what positions you are interested in so they can keep you on their radar. Positive thinking and constructive communication are important.
You can also participate in unit-based councils and projects to improve unit performance. Help with in-services on new equipment, or you can assist with glucometer training.
Always intend to do well
Being a nurse, it seems natural to have good intentions. However, when you work long hours and don’t get enough rest, you’re likely to experience burnout anxiety, leading to poor performance and resentment towards patients and staff.
If you are pursuing success, pay attention to your demeanour. It plays a huge role in climbing the ladder. Maintain a positive attitude at all times – your demeanour influences your patients directly.
The healthcare industry is undergoing unfathomable changes. And since nurses play an important role in the healthcare sector, nursing services are also expanding. Nurses must adapt their careers to changing circumstances. Professional growth involves committing to oneself, patients, and the profession. You can expand your career by following the suggestions above. When everything is well-planned, it works well and ends well.
David Radar did his degree in psychology at the University of Kansas. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.