A nursing career is full of growth and expansion opportunities if you are ready to grab them. It is one of those careers that never get stagnant unless you are too passive to take any steps. But it is seldom the case with most nurses ambitious enough to take the right steps.
There can be many ways to develop your career as a nurse. But it is always a good idea to have a few choices to choose from. If you have been rationalizing the need to change your career domain or upgrade the current one, some steps you can take are mentioned below.
- Take your education to the next level
- Earn your RN license
- Master’s in nursing (MSN)
- MSN to DNP
- Find a mentor
- Earn a new specialization
- Read industry blogs
- Associate with a professional nursing organization
One of the surefire ways to upgrade your career is to take your professional education to the next level. With a higher degree, you learn new skills, work on more complicated assignments, and prepare yourself for intricate roles in the field. A new degree adds new knowledge to what you already have.
When you get a higher nursing degree, your chances of promotion, earning a better salary, and working in senior positions increase tremendously. Some educational pathways you can choose as a nurse are mentioned below.
If you are an LNP (licensed practical nurse), you can upgrade your nursing status by preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). However, you need a four-year BSN or ADN to appear in the exam.
Now you have two options. Either go for an LPN-to-ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) or an LPN-to-BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) bridge program. The demand for BSN degree-holder nurses is increasing, so going for the latter might be more profitable for you.
If you already have a BSN, go for MSN. You have many masters in nursing career pathways with an MSN that ensures professional development. Also, you get the chance to choose the specialization of your choice.
A master’s in nursing is the minimum qualification you need to become a nurse practitioner (NP). When you are an NP, you can diagnose and treat patients and perform many responsibilities of a doctor. Apart from that, it is also your chance to hone your leadership skills to transition to management positions and other non-clinical careers in the future. You can go for nurse educator, researcher, and manager roles.
Those who already have an MSN degree also have the option to upgrade their educational qualification with a DNP degree. DNP or Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal degree in nursing.
With a DNP degree, you get advanced clinical and non-clinical knowledge and skills related to the nursing field. Nurses with a DNP degree become well-versed in providing safe and effective patient care and implementing evidence-based practices.
A mentor is someone with extensive knowledge and experience in their field. A mentor has already gone through tough and tricky situations during their career. They can help you make wiser decisions and improve your service. Therefore, getting help from someone familiar with the ins and out of your career is valuable for your career development.
You can prevent yourself from making silly mistakes by associating with a mentor. You can also get expert guidance and help in making choices for career progression. And you can grow professionally and mature in your problem-solving and situation-handling.
Mentors help you develop your connections and network with industry experts, including employers looking for potential candidates. So having people in your circle who can provide critical guidance and connect you with the right resource is an asset.
Maybe over the years, you have fallen prey to professional monotony. You don’t seem to experience or work on anything new in your day. So, your career requires some fresh air. You can revamp your stagnating career by earning a new specialization.
It is pretty standard for nurses to work in one nursing area for a few years and then move to the next. So probably, it is time for you to do the same too. If you have worked in the cardiology department for a few years now, consider getting a family nurse practitioner certification. With this certification, you can attend to patients from a range of age groups.
Sometimes career development starts collecting more knowledge about your career. And what is better for getting career-related knowledge than reading industry-related blogs?
The Internet is a huge source ready to provide you with more information about your industry and profession. So, put this resource to use to know what is happening around you.
Nursing blogs are a great source of knowing the career development journey of successful nurses. Many blog posts focus on older nurses and the problems they face and solve during their careers. Their experience can help new nurses a lot.
Frequently you come across topics such as “Important tips about skills needed to excel in nursing career” or “Ways to get essential nursing skills.” Reading such topics can help you upgrade your knowledge and polish your skills.
Professional nursing organizations are an excellent resource for veterans and new nurses. Older nurses can transfer their knowledge to up-and-coming ones. In comparison, new nurses can avail this opportunity to thrive in their careers.
Professional nursing organizations help you make connections, meet industry experts, and gain awareness about industry news and cutting-edge research in this field. Moreover, you can be identified by prospective employers and get yourself picked for your dream job.
Nurses affiliated with a nursing organization often get invitations for industry-related events, seminars, conferences, etc. They also get a chance to receive scholarships for higher education and training programs. In sum, membership in a nursing organization exposes you to countless career and personal development opportunities.
You can survive in nursing if you strive to excel and upgrade your career. The pace of changes in this profession will let more ambitious ones take your spot. Therefore, start upgrading your skills and abilities by following one or many above-mentioned ways.