For new nurses, focusing on getting better and making sure you have a comfortable handle on your daily responsibilities is critical for success. Years of education is valuable, but putting a price on real, tangible experience is next to impossible.
Once you've mastered your domain, however, advancing in your career is a way to continue to get better, improve your professional prospects and challenge yourself. There are a number of ways to achieve new goals and become a stronger nurse as well. By taking steps to improve now, you can set yourself up for better options five, ten or even twenty years into the future. Here are a few ideas for how to advance your career as a nurse:
1. Find ways to stand out
According to Nurse Zone, the best way to separate yourself from your peers is to become trusted and well-respected within your current job title. Being professional, reliable and proficient by working hard and staying focused is a way to earn recognition from your superiors and become a leading candidate should new opportunities arise. In any job, individuals that represent the company's values, provide excellent customer service and are consistent are the most sought after.
2. Try and adopt a mentor
Another way to advance your skills and future career options is to find an older, more experienced nurse that can help you grow and learn. The website Nursing Jobs found that although these relationships generally happen organically, some organizations pair young nurses with seasoned team members, a testament as to just how important such a relationship can be for a new employee.
A mentor is someone who can give you real-life information and advice, which again is much more valuable than what you can find in a textbook. This person will not only help you develop the skills you need, but can also be a major ally when applying for a new position.
3. Utilize your network
Beyond a single mentor, nurses looking to advance their careers should build as many positive relationships as possible. Nursing Jobs reported that not only should these be forged within your hospital or care facility, but that there are many community or national groups designed to connect nurses.
The American Nurses Association and other such organizations are places where young nurses can go to build a professional or social network. Being amiable and friendly is a way to make a good first impression, but true networking is a focused and sometimes difficult pursuit.
4. Look into certification options
Nurse Zone stated that organizations such as The American Nurses Credentialing Center offer nurses an opportunity to specialize in certain fields. In fact, there are 26 different nursing certification exams available.
"There are 26 different nursing certification exams available."
This is a way to add to a resume but also build a level of expertise for treatment plans and other practices. For young nurses, this can be a way to hone in on a career path, as well as stand out from the crowd when it comes time for professional reviews and other events.
Seeking out a certification can also be a way to refresh yourself on certain skills as well as re-ignite a passion for learning more and getting better. Getting certified may be a long process, but the rewards can be immense.
5. Go back to school
For anyone seriously interested in advancing their nursing career, going back to school and pursuing a master's degree may be worth the commitment, according to Peterson's. This can be a way to stay ahead of the curve for state requirements related to certain jobs and will give you the tools and credentials necessary for taking on new challenges.