Advance your nursing career with these 5 important skills

Nurses have never been more in-demand. That means it may be easier to find a job than ever before. Advancing your nursing career, however, can be a little more difficult.

Head nurses and other leaders want to select individuals who exhibit a mastery of basic nursing skills and other abilities. Networking and other steps are important, but you will also need to stand out by your day-to-day abilities to take the next step after landing an entry-level position. Here are the five most in-demand nursing skills that can help you take the next step forward in your career:

1. Speaking multiple languages
According to the most recent U.S. Census, nearly 61 million Americans speak a language other than English at home, and of that group, 22.4 percent reportedly speak English “not well” or “not at all.” Spanish, Chinese and Arabic are among the most common and fastest growing languages in the U.S.

Nurses who can speak another language are crucial assets for providers treating individuals with limited English proficiency. One way for you to advance your nursing career is to master a second language. This can be done online and will not only set you apart from your peers but will also show great commitment to improving your skills.

2. Computer literacy
The American Nursing Association found that there is a growing emphasis on computer literacy among clinical professionals. Individuals who can master a new EHR platform and are comfortable using email and technology may stand out. This can be a difficult ability to add to your nursing skills, but taking the time to learn the ins and outs of industry-standard software gives you a competitive advantage that you can include on your resume.

Computer literacy is increasingly an essential nursing skill.Computer literacy is increasingly an essential nursing skill.

3. Leadership skills
Finding ways to stand out as a leader will show your superiors that you’re ready for more responsibility and greater challenges, and displaying leadership doesn’t have to be a large gesture. Try speaking up at a meeting, volunteering to take on an extra or difficult task and building a positive rapport with your co-workers.

4. A knack for critical thinking
This too can be a difficult nursing skill to polish and show off, but the ability to make sense of information and make calculated decisions is very important. More and more providers are leveraging evidence-based best practices to improve clinical outcomes, and the nurses who can best integrate new research or guidelines into daily workflows will likely stand out. Critical thinking skills can also lead to better decision making when trying to offer value-based care and this too will make an impact on your superiors.

5. Specialty knowledge
Another consideration to help advance your nursing career is to focus on a specific area. Individual specialties may offer opportunities to take on new responsibilities. Consider a few areas of focus that might be most appealing or interesting to you and work within your professional network to learn more. From there, you may want to consider taking online courses to work toward a new certification.

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