Nursing is one of those careers that is very much a vocation. When you are introduced to the concept of what it means to be a nurse, you learn that it is a job that is completely geared towards acquiring as much knowledge as possible that can be used in the service of those who are struggling with their mental, physical, or emotional health.
Nurses are considered to be the backbone of the healthcare system and are thus expected to spend their careers in a continuous state of learning and growing professionally. Thankfully, there are no shortage of ways in which professional growth and development can be obtained for someone who is planning to work as a nurse or who is already experienced in the field.
Ultimately, such methods of professional development, while a crucial part of the job, can also serve to help a nurse to take their career farther. There are ample ways in which a nurse can choose to direct their career and a number of excellent options in regard to assuming positions of leadership and advancing a career.
While your decided goal as a nurse should always be to seek out opportunities to serve your patients better, it is also important to look out for your own interests in your career and allow yourself to pursue those chances that will place you in a position to have the most positive impact.
Thinking along those lines, here are a few ways in which you might take your own career in nursing further so that you can achieve your full potential as a healthcare professional.
Further Your Education
There are a variety of ways in which someone can become qualified to enter the nursing field at an entry-level. You might have earned a two-year associate degree and then obtained a license as a registered nurse (RN). Other nurses looking to enter the profession as quickly as possible might have obtained qualifications as either licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses.
Even though these options are viable for anyone looking to qualify as a nurse in the shortest amount of time, those looking to take their careers further will need to first further their education. This is because most positions of leadership and the ability to specialize fully in a specific area of medicine are only open to those with more advanced degrees.
This is one reason why so many nurses choose to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree right off the bat to become a fully qualified RN. Not only does such a degree drastically increase your chances of finding good employment after graduation, but it is also a prerequisite for many other advanced degrees that will allow you to take your career further.
On a positive note, even those that feel the pressure of time don’t have to shy away from earning their BSN. There are some excellent accelerated nursing programs online to choose from that will allow you to earn this valuable degree so that you can use it as a stepping stone to get even more out of your career down the line.
Know Your Goals
As with any type of career that offers opportunities for advancement, it is important to know your own mind and ambitions regarding your nursing career. The fact of the matter is that there are a large number of options awaiting nurses in this day and age that range from entry-level positions to even opportunities to manage your own practice as a family nurse practitioner (FNP).
Whether you are drawn to a particular specialty or if you aspire to become a true leader in healthcare, there are going to be certain steps that you will need to take in the right direction. From professional development and experience to advanced degrees, you will need to know precisely what steps you should be taking to achieve your own goals. This will be difficult if you only have a vague idea in your mind about your future success.
Take the time to research your options and consider what you wish to gain from your career. It is also a good idea to write out your goals on a piece of paper so that you can give yourself a tangible target to shoot for as you make professional decisions throughout your career.
One you know exactly what it is you would like to become in the field of nursing, you can start making more informed decisions about your professional development.
Find a Mentor
When it comes to professional development within the world of healthcare, there is perhaps no resource that is quite as helpful on a personal level than that of a mentor. Mentorships are a long-standing tradition within the medical community and for a good reason.
Mentors allow those who have experienced a great deal throughout their careers to pass along their knowledge and expertise to the next generation of medical leaders. Such professional relationships also offer the opportunity to ask questions of someone who has been where you are now and to seek guidance regarding matters concerning one’s career.
If you are interested in finding a mentor so that you can get more from your nursing career, the first thing you should do is inquire with the hospital or health system that you work for to see if there are any mentorship programs in place that you might enroll in. If no such program exists at your place of employment, there are other options to consider as well.
For instance, you could look into third-party programs that offer mentorship opportunities. There is also a less formal way of finding a professional mentor. You could simply consider those within your professional network who have achieved many of the things that you hope to one day achieve yourself. If you already have a working relationship with such a person, chances are they would be more than happy to take you under their wing as a mentor.