No matter how long you have been a nurse, whether it is one year, five years, or possibly even more, you will come to a turning point. This turning point will signal that you are ready for a change. Of course, you can be happy continuing to work as a nurse, but you know that there is more out there for you and your career. You know that you can make an impact, and you are aware that you can potentially change and influence the type of care and quality of care that patients receive. However, what you don’t know just yet is how to make a tangible difference. If you want to be seen, heard, and even noticed within nursing, then your contributions need to be valued, and most importantly, they need to be seen. If you are not adding value to your patients’ care or to their lives, then you are not truly making a difference. Looking after patients, and doing it really well, is what you should now be focusing on.
A Passion for Nursing
If you want to make those positive changes, and if you want to provide supportive and tailored care, you will need to have a passion for nursing. If you see nursing as just a job, then you will not get very far. Nursing is a career that requires huge amounts of dedication, nurturing, and passion. If the passion and desire to care for others is not there, and if it is, but it is not strong, then you will never make a difference, and you will never push forwards with your career. It is important to remember that nursing is not simply a job. Nobody ever enters into the nursing profession believing or thinking that it is just a job. Nursing is all about passion and nurturing, and when you have plentiful amounts of each of these areas, you will find progression and development in your career will be much more natural and rapid.
Improving the Care Patients Receive
As a nursing professional that cares, you want to improve the quality of care that patients receive. You have the potential as a nurse to stand out and to change the standards of care that patients receive. When it comes to improving or enhancing the level of care given and received, you need to look and listen. Patients are in the best place to tell you what they need and want. Listening to patients and making changes at grassroots level will ensure that you make changes and improvements that matter and that make an impact. Setting out to improve levels of care and quality of care is what all nurses intend to do; however, sometimes, paperwork and other commitments get in the way. Ensuring that you focus on improving and maintaining the care that all patients across the board receive is crucial to success.
Being a Better Performing Nurse
Improving how you nurse and advancing your skills, knowledge, and awareness is crucial. To make a difference each and every day to the lives of your patients, you have to ensure that you offer and provide the best levels of care at all times. If you do not focus on your performance, both as an individual and also as a team player, then you will find patient care will struggle as a result. Consistency within care will not be achieved, and this will then lead to patient dissatisfaction. When you focus on self-improvement and self-enhancement, you can ensure that you are giving the most that you can to each and every patient. All patients within your care deserve to receive the best treatment at all times, so ensuring that consistency is both met and maintained across the board is crucial. Without consistency within care, you will struggle to monitor your performance, and you will find it difficult to improve any areas of weakness.
Advancing Your Nursing Career
When you feel that you are ready for a change and you have given everything you can to your patients, it is time for a change. Leaving nursing is not an option, and never has been, simply because you love knowing that you did the best you could at the end of each day, caring for patients of all ages. So, now you know that leaving is not on the cards, it is time to look at advancing and developing your career instead to ensure that it is diverse and varied.
The first step to take after deciding to advance your career is deciding what you want to do and why. It can be hard to establish what you want to do next, especially if you have only been a nursing professional for a few years. However, if you take time to take a step back, and if you take time to establish what your strengths are, you will begin to see what opportunities are right for you to proceed with and why!
Looking at New Roles
Now you are aware of where your strengths lie, it is time to start looking at new roles. So, before you go any further, you need to establish if there is anything that you want to do? For example, do you want to have further training to become a specialist nursing professional, or do you want to focus on one area of care? Or, would you perhaps like to change how you nurse and where? For example, if you have always carried out your nursing work within a hospital setting, why not consider switching to a more personal setting?
New roles can bring you revitalized hope, and they can help you to redefine and reimagine what you want to get out of nursing and why. When it comes to analyzing and weighing up your career options, it is time to look at other opportunities. Look at opportunities that exist within smaller nursing practices, and even look at ones that perhaps focus less on physical care and more on overall care and well-being.
Deciding to Become an FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner)
If you want to focus more on a patient’s overall care and well-being, then you will want to look at becoming an FNP. Family nurse practitioners will usually take on the care and well-being of several families, either within their local area or community. An FNP will quite often see a family’s care go through several life stages. For example, a family might have new family members over the years, and instead of experiencing or seeing this from the sidelines, you would see this directly, and you would be involved, both in a hands-on and a hands-off role. As an FNP, you will be similar to a doctor; you will be able to complete checkups, and you will be able to see how the family unit grows and develops over time.
Studying to Become an FNP
Now that you have decided to progress with your career plans, it is time to start looking at where to study and why. Studying to become an FNP can be done within as little as three years, and it can be done online. Looking at Texas Woman’s University’s Online Nursing Programs and looking at specialist providers is always the best approach to take. Studying with just anyone is not going to get you the results you require. You need good results to get you to the next level of your career. When it comes to looking at studying, it is vital that you focus on online learning. A course based physically on campus is less flexible than an online course, and you need flexibility. After all, this course has to fit in around your work, your home life, and your personal life! Studying online is flexible to suit you, and it is enjoyable too, as you do not have to spend time traveling to get to campus; you just log in from the comfort of your own home or the place you choose to study.
It may have been a while since you last studied, and sometimes it can be a real shock to the system. Getting back into a way of studying that suits you is difficult enough, but now, you have to add some extra things into the mix, such as family and work. Juggling all of your commitments and splitting your time can sound more difficult than it is. Compromising will not last indefinitely, and if you complete all the units required within an FNP program according to the schedule, you will be qualified in around three years. To be successful at studying and balancing all of your commitments, you need to create a workspace within your home, and you need to practice time management. Trying to study in a chaotic or busy area around friends or family will not work. Having a dedicated study space is ideal, even if this is only created using room dividers. To study online and from home successfully, you need to have your own space to work from.
Remember, when you are studying, try not to be too hard on yourself. You are busy, you already have a stressful job, and at this moment in time, you are increasing stress levels by studying and working simultaneously. Speaking to loved ones, friends, and family will be beneficial for you, as you get the opportunity to talk freely about any issues or problems you may be having.
Brushing Up Your Resume
Towards the end of your studies, it is time to start looking at applying for FNP roles. Of course, unless you are going for an internal promotion within your existing place of work, you will be applying at new locations and establishments. An important part of the application process is having a resume that reads well and that sells you as the nursing professional that you are. If your resume is a little lackluster, this will reflect on you and your personality. A poorly created and produced resume will put potential employers off. So, take time to edit and rewrite your resume if necessary. Get family and friends, and even work colleagues, to look over it to ensure that it reads well and targets the audience it is intended to.
Securing a Position
Once you have your qualifications behind you and you have your new shiny resume in hand (or on your laptop), it is now time to start searching for and securing a position. Your search will predominantly happen online and even through existing nursing networks, although speaking to colleagues at your current place of work and former place of work may lead to new opportunities. Finding a new position as an FNP is only half of the work done. Next, you have to secure the position you are interested in. Practicing your interview skills and brushing up on your skills, strengths, and weaknesses is positive and something you can do when you have five minutes of free time.
When you are looking for an FNP role, and you are in the process of applying, it is important that you are open to compromise. There are lots of roles for FNPs being created over the next few years, and even if there aren’t any opportunities close to you at this point in time, it does not mean that there will not be a few years down the line. As a result of this, you may have to compromise on the location of your work.
What the Future Holds
You now have more options and choices open to you than ever before. As an FNP, you may choose to remain working with families within your local community, or you may choose to move up again and get into leadership. Now that you have an advanced qualification in nursing, you have increased opportunities available to you, and you have open doors that were perhaps once locked. Maintaining focus, remaining dedicated, and remembering to stay caring and nurturing are all qualities of a good FNP.