How to Advance Your Nursing Career

A career in nursing is one that provides a great deal of variety depending on where you want to take your career. There are many career options for nurses these days that range in both the responsibility you are given, as well as the nature of the work you do on the whole. Some nurses opt to earn an associate degree and enter the field as a registered nurse (RN) after only two years in school. However, others look for opportunities to take their careers further.

Advancing your nursing career is something that takes time and clear vision. That being said, as the shortage of qualified physicians appears to persist, there is a void in the world of healthcare that certain types of nurses are being called to fill. This has presented a great deal of opportunity for nurses who do in fact wish to take their careers farther.

If you are a nurse who is looking for advanced career opportunities, there are a few things you should consider doing in order to give yourself the best chances of success in your endeavors.

Define Your Goals

Before you can start on your path to career advancement, you need to discover and define your specific goals. It is not enough to say that you simply want to take your career further; rather, you need to have a definitive idea as to how far and what career advancement even means to you.

As far as career in nursing are concerned, this generally starts by identifying what type of nurse you would like to become. This will start with a fair amount of research on your part as you seek to discern what type of nursing you wish to practice and what it will take in order for you to do so. For instance, if you would like to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP), you will need to answer the question what is an FNP specifically. Once you have the particular information at your disposal, you can begin looking into degree programs and state requirements for the job.

By clearly defining your goals, you can draw out a road map for yourself that will help guide you where you need to go. You can also continuously reference your goals during those times on your journey when you feel your motivation is flagging and your perseverance is declining. Knowing your goals will help you to overcome such times and continue to keep your eye on the prize.

Find a Mentor

The field of healthcare as a whole has long since promoted the value of taking on a mentor. This is because so much of learning about healthcare involves learning form the experiences and knowledge of others who have come before you. When you have a mentor, you have a point of reference whenever your way becomes confused or cloudy. This should be a person who you feel comfortable asking questions to and who can help clarify any confusion in your own path.

Some hospitals and healthcare settings have mentorship programs in place. If your place of employment has such a program, inquire to see if you might be able to take advantage of it. However, if your place of work doesn’t offer such a program, you can still find a mentor for yourself in a more informal manner.

Start by looking to nurses who have succeeded in advancing their careers to where you hope to take your own one day. Once you have such a person in mind, don’t be shy in asking that person to become your mentor. They will surely be honest about whether or not they have the time to be a mentor, but ultimately, most nurses in advanced positions are more than happy to help the next generation of nurses to find their own success.

Join a Professional Network

One of the most valuable tools that healthcare professionals have at their disposal is that of professional organizations. These are organizations that are designed to bring professionals of particular types and specialties together to share experiences and stay current on the latest developments.

The networking opportunities that are available to you through such organizations are valuable in that they can come in handy down the line. Moreover, they provide the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, the value of which cannot be overstated in the world of medicine. Furthermore, you are able to participate in events that provide important learning opportunities about the latest advancements in your specialty.

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