When you have qualified as a nurse and put in so much hard work and effort in your studies, you’ll want to get as far in your career as possible when you start working; you’ll want to succeed. This is perfectly natural and it’s something that isn’t just related to nursing either – many people are ambitious in all kinds of careers. Working up the career ladder isn’t for everyone, of course, and there are some who prefer to stay in a certain position because it makes them happy. However, if your happiness is to be found through career progression, it’s important to know how to get where you want to go and what you need to do to have a successful nursing career. This article has pulled together some useful tips on what you need to do to see your nursing career dreams come true.
If you only follow one piece of advice on this list to help you advance your career and be a highly successful nurse, it should be this one; keep learning. Don’t assume that just because you have finished your nursing school studies and received your qualifications to be an RN that you can simply move up through the different positions and be a great nurse. This might have been how it was in the past, but nursing is a difficult job, and rather than simply promoting someone because of the length of time they have worked, it’s now about their knowledge and skills – and that’s how it should be.
This is why it’s so important to keep learning. You will be able to put that information to good use and be the best nurse you can be. Your patients will benefit and so too will your colleagues, who will be able to rely on your knowledge and expertise. Continuous learning will demonstrate your commitment to your job and your patients and help you move up your career path.
The learning you do will depend on what you want from your nursing career. You might be content with simply keeping up with new ideas and techniques regarding patient treatment as well as the rules and laws that constantly change around nursing and healthcare. Perhaps you want something more formal when it comes to your education, so you look at joining hybrid nursing programs to obtain specific qualifications that will help you in the next step – and future steps – of your nursing career. No matter what you choose, make sure it’s the right thing for you and something that will get you where you want to go and ensure your nursing career is a successful one.
Acknowledge Informal Leaders
It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do, there will always be leaders within any kind of work environment. It’s crucial that you find these leaders and pay attention to them. They are the ones who will give you jobs to do and who will assess you, whether they say they are doing so or not. They are the ones who, when you look for a promotion or want more responsibility, will determine whether you are ready for that step. Therefore, it’s vital to not only be aware of them but to talk to them about your plans for the future and glean as much advice and information from them to help you as you can.
Yet interestingly, these are not the only leaders you should be watching out for. These are the ‘formal’ leaders, the ones who have specifically been given that role, but there will be others, who might be termed ‘informal’ leaders. These are the ones who are not leaders in terms of their job title, but who work as though they are. They are the ones who are most in control even in highly charged and difficult situations. They will always know what to do. They will be confident, and they will want to help not only their patients but their colleagues too.
Despite the fact that they might not be leaders in an official capacity, these people will certainly have some form of influence, and they will definitely be good people to learn from. This is especially true if you feel you are lacking in terms of your confidence and abilities – look to these people and see what you can do to emulate them – or even better, ask them for advice.
Another excellent thing to remember if you want to be a successful nurse is that you will need to be organized. It’s not that you can’t be a nurse if you are disorganized – many nurses are – but if you want to be as successful as possible and make a positive impact on everyone you meet (as well as your own career) being organized will help you. The truth is that if you are a disorganized nurse, you might even find that you are holding yourself back without realizing it.
Nursing requires plenty of teamwork and the ability to prioritize tasks. You need to be able to multitask as well, but rather than doing a lot of things poorly (which is what multitasking usually leads to in other career areas), you need to do a lot of things very well. This is not easy in the best of circumstances, but when you have so much to do and when every task is just as important as the next, it can feel overwhelming when you’re not organized.
If you’re a disorganized person and you’re worried that you won’t be able to be a successful nurse, don’t let this put you off the idea. If you have passion and an interesting in learning, and if you ensure you put as much effort as possible into your studies and do the best you can when you’re helping patients, this goes a long way. When you learn how to be more organized (and this is certainly possible), you can add this to the mix and become even better and more successful.
Get To Know Your Co-Workers
Another useful tip for becoming a successful nurse is to get to know your co-workers well. We’ve already mentioned about getting to know your leaders better, but it’s actually important to know everyone – and to be there for them when needed.
The reason for this is teamwork. Teamwork is such a big part of being a nurse, and the best teams can get to work right away without having to discuss anything; they’re so close-knit that they instinctively know what to do and how to get the job done, whatever it might be. This kind of closeness is hard to obtain if you are aloof or a private person.
This is true in all hospital departments and healthcare sectors; teamwork is always going to be important. Therefore, you should make it a priority to get to know your colleagues as well as you can, and to let them get to know you too. In this way, you can all work together to create the best healing environment for your patients.
Handle Setbacks Professionally
One thing you should know if you haven’t discovered it already is that you will have to deal with setbacks. These can happen to everyone, and even if things seem to be going smoothly for the most part, problems and challenges can occur all the time and for many different reasons. What these setbacks are is much less important than how you deal with them. It’s crucial that you handle them in the most professional way and that you are able to get past them and move on as quickly as possible, taking any lessons that you might have learned forward.
When you are a nurse, you are sure to encounter such setbacks. You might, for example, have a bad day and lose a patient, or perhaps your studies have hit a particularly hard area. Maybe you are tired and this has an effect on your work, making everything seem much harder and worse than it really is. No matter how big or small the setback might be, take it as it comes and stay professional. This is not necessarily easy; you might instinctively get angry or blame someone for the problem. However, if you want to be a successful nurse, you need to stay professional in all circumstances, and these setbacks are just one example.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should hold all your feelings inside as this is bad for you. It can cause mental health issues such as depression and stress, and this can lead to burnout. It can even cause physical problems such as migraines and heart disease. Having someone to talk things through with is important and being able to let your feelings out is crucial – just don’t do it in the workplace as you’ll need to maintain your professionalism at all times.
Be A Critical Thinker
To be a successful nurse you must be a great critical thinker, and this is another skill that you can learn if you don’t already have it. Critical thinking is often called ‘thinking outside the box’ and it essentially means that you can come up with solutions to problems quickly and effectively.
When you can think critically, you’ll make the workplace a much smoother one, and you’ll be able to enjoy your work much more. Not only that, but your colleagues and patients will certainly appreciate the effort you’ve put in. This means that you will be looked on more favorably and this will add to your successes as a nurse and your future career path.