When you start to research the possibility of becoming a nurse, you’ll find many things. You’ll find that there is a nursing shortage – in almost every country around the world – and therefore, nurses are needed everywhere. You’ll find that nursing is hard work but one of the most rewarding careers you could ask for. Plus, you’ll find that there is a range of different types of nurses you could be.
What you might not discover is that there is also a lot of potential for career progression when you’re a nurse. This might not be something that immediately comes to mind, and it may not be mentioned when you’re looking for reasons why nursing is such a good idea, but it’s true; nurses have plenty of career advancement opportunities. If you are interested in understanding how to progress your career as a nurse, read on for some helpful tips.
Take Your Time
To begin with, you need to understand that career progression as a nurse, as with any kind of career, won’t happen overnight. You need to have a good amount of experience, and you need to have certain qualifications, depending on what you want to do. However, that doesn’t mean the right opportunities will never present themselves; you just need to get to a point where you’re ready to spot them and take them on.
This is why it’s important to take your time. If you rush towards your goal, you might skip important elements and not have enough experience or not gain the right qualifications. If that happens, you won’t get any further ahead and might even have to take a step backward. You’ll certainly need to consider how to put the work in that you had not done before. So take your time and make a career plan. In that way, you’ll know exactly where you’re going and how to get there, so you’ll always be able to spot new ideas and opportunities for improvement and advancement.
Would it surprise you to discover that networking isn’t just something that business owners do but that it can benefit many other people, including nurses? It’s true; nurses should network as much as they can if they want to improve their chances of good career progression.
When you put effort into networking, you’ll find many different things happen, depending on your ultimate goals. You might find a mentor to help you, for example, or perhaps someone to show you what opportunities there are in terms of career advancement. You might even impress your current employer or find a new one. At the very least, you’ll learn more and be able to put those new ideas into practice in your nursing career.
Gain More Qualifications
Nursing is a different kind of career from most others. Not only is it all about being kind and caring, showing a lot of compassion and empathy to patients and their families, but it’s also rather technical, and nurses need to know a lot about medication, medical equipment, and treatment options. This means that you need to talk to patients one moment and then be much more technical when talking to doctors and other medical professionals the next. This is not easy to do.
It does become easier, however, the more experience you have. What also helps is additional qualifications. The more you know, the easier it will be to understand how to impart information and how to use that knowledge to the patient’s best advantage. Not only will further qualifications help the patient, but they will also help you in your career and with your progression. There are many opportunities for nurses to get ahead in their careers, but qualifications are going to be needed to make the most of those opportunities. If you want to specialize in mental health, for example, you won’t be able to apply for those jobs without studying for the online psychiatric nurse practitioner program.
As previously mentioned, a career plan is crucial. When you know what you want to do and where you want your career to go, you can ensure you have the right qualifications to get you there. Choosing an online course is a good idea, as it means you can work at your own pace and not have to take time off work, ensuring you can keep up to date with everything and gain more experience at the same time, which is also crucial for career progression.
Speak To Your Manager
A nurse can do one very simple thing to help improve and progress their career; they can speak to their manager. This is something that is often forgotten about entirely, especially when the idea of qualifications and experience are so prevalent. However, as much as these are important, and there is no point in discussing a promotion or department move without the relevant knowledge. Once you do have what you need, speaking to your manager should be the first thing you do, rather than starting to look around for a new job. This is especially true if you are happy where you are and don’t want to move locations.
It might be that your manager is aware of an upcoming opportunity but wouldn’t necessarily tell you about it or put you up for the chance because they just didn’t know it was something you wanted. If you speak to them and let them know where you want your career to go, they will be more likely to think of you when the time comes – as long as you have the right skills, of course.
It can be hard to speak to a manager about career goals; you don’t want to seem pushy, for example, and negative feedback, which might be offered, can be hard to hear. However, being ‘pushy’ is something you might need to do to get where you want to be, and hearing where you need to improve is crucial – you’ll be able to do much better if you take this information on board.