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  • 7 Ways to Advance a Nursing Career

    Author: HealthTimes

You love working as a nurse, but you have ambitions to rise quickly to earn high pay and higher status. Fortunately, there are many ways to elevate yourself within the nursing field. Here are multiple strategies that you can use separately or together to climb the nursing career ladder and achieve your dreams.

Return to School

By far the most straightforward way to improve your knowledge and skills and to qualify for better positions within nursing is to return to school for more advanced credentials. It is possible to begin a nursing career with only 12 months of training, which will earn you a certificate to work as a nursing assistant or a licensed practical nurse. However, if you enroll in an associate nursing degree program or earn a BSN degree, you can work as a registered nurse, which will increase your earning potential and put you on a more lucrative career path.

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With a BSN, you can advance your education even further. You might train to become a nurse practitioner, which allows you to treat patients almost like physicians and even run your own private practice. You could also pursue a master’s or doctorate in nursing, qualifying you for high-level administration positions or allowing you to contribute to the nursing field with academic research. Returning to school allows you to take big steps to achieve your career goals.

Find a Mentor

Mentors are more experienced nurses who can provide career and personal guidance, motivation and emotional support. Research has found that a relationship with a mentor provides outstanding opportunities for professionals, who are more often promoted and often feel more valued at work. You might explore mentorship opportunities from your current employer, connect with mentorship programs in your area or plumb your professional network to find a nursing mentor who can help you advance your career.

Find Leadership Opportunities

Even if you do not have a title that designates you as a leader, you can find opportunities to practice your leadership skills in your current role. You might take initiative to complete jobs that no one else wants or keep up the morale of your team, or you might offer to assume tasks from your overburdened boss. As you practice leadership skills in the workplace, not only will you become prepared to act in leadership roles but you will also demonstrate to your peers and superiors that you are ready for more advanced responsibilities.

Represent the Nursing Profession

When one nurse behaves badly, every nurse suffers the consequences. You can help maintain and improve the reputation of all nurses everywhere by behaving with the utmost decorum on and off the clock. Especially when you are in your nursing scrubs, you should speak and act professionally to your peers, superiors and patients. However, you may also want to curtail any wanton behavior when you are outside the workplace, as rumors about ill-discipline can harm your professional reputation and reduce your chances of receiving a promotion.

Ask More Questions

You want to demonstrate that you are proficient in essential nursing tasks, but you shouldn’t miss opportunities to gain more knowledge and skill. When you are working with a more experienced nurse or physician to treat a patient, you should ask them questions about their process, their plans, their techniques and more — ideally, away from the patient or their family and when the provider has time to talk with you at length. By asking questions, you can demonstrate your curiosity, which is an important skill for high-level leaders to have in any field.

Explore Multiple Specialties

There are almost uncountable types of nurses. While you might struggle in one nursing field, you might thrive in another, so it behooves you to explore many different specialties to find the ones you find most enjoyable and easiest to achieve success. You might ask to shadow nurses in different specialties, take shifts in different hospital departments or use your clinical requirements during your degree program to explore areas of nursing you haven’t yet experienced.

Maintain Good Intentions

You want to get ahead in your nursing career to increase your income and earn prestige — but you should also want to advance in nursing to accomplish more good for your patients. Nursing is a caring profession, and the more you care about the outcome of your efforts, the better you will be as a nurse.
No two nurses are exactly alike, but many have dreams of doing great things with their careers. You can take steps up your career ladder today through any of the above tips and tricks.

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