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6 Tips for Nurses Who Want to Advance their Careers

by Henry
6 Tips for Nurses Who Want to Advance their Careers

There’s a moment in every nurse’s life when they start to contemplate other career options. This is often the case with nurses that have worked in the same position for the same organization for years. The beautiful thing about the healthcare field is that it’s so incredibly vast and there are tons of opportunities for advancement. You could decide to stay where you are right now but move to a higher position, or you could get out of a hospital setting completely. You could even decide to start your own business. However, you should first be aware of the challenges that come with advancing your career while you’re still working. You also have to make sure that this is the right option for you right now. Let’s look at a few tips for nurses who want to advance their careers.

Look at the Different Options
Wanting to advance your career is one thing, but there are so many different paths that you can take and, without a plan, you’ll be very unfocused and might become discouraged. This is why you first need to look at what direction you should take and what it will take to get there. There are three main paths that you can take. You can decide to continue working as a nurse but in a greater role or specialization, branch off into another field like consulting or academics, or work as an administrator.

Working as an administrator is usually one of the first options people look at, and it does have many benefits. If you’re the type of nurse who likes to delve deep into problems and has always felt like you could run your department better, then you could make for a great administrator. Getting your credentials isn’t that complicated either. The University of Ottawa has one of the best online MHA programs you can find, and this will give you all the qualifications needed to work as an administrator in either your organization or another one. You could decide to study part-time or work on a part-time schedule so you can dedicate yourself fully to your degree.

If you want to branch out to another field or specialization, then you have to speak with people who’ve been there and done that. Only they will be able to tell you which type of challenges you might have to face.

Find a Mentor
We also suggest that you find someone who can mentor you. A mentor with lots of experience in the field will be able to tell you which career options would be the best for you. They might also present some opportunities you may have not considered before and sit down with you to see if this is something you actually want. A mentor may be able to put in a good word for you if you want to move up the ranks in your organization as well.

Work In Another Department or Facility
In your mind, you may think that you want to move to a bigger role when, in reality, all you may need is a change of air. This is why you should consider working in a different department where you are before you embark on a path to a specialization or something else.

If your goal is to specialize yourself, then you could ask to work in the related department first to see what the job is really like firsthand. You’ll get to interact with nurses who are filling the roles you want to fill and ask them questions. Sometimes, this is all that it takes to push you toward a direction or discourage you from choosing a specialty.

You should also consider working in another institution or working as a travel nurse. Being a travel nurse would allow you to see how nurses work in different parts of the country. You might feel like your role disconnects you from patients where you are, but things might be much more different in a rural setting, for instance. So, before you assume that your role is the problem, try working in different institutions and see if yours might be the problem.

Take Initiative
If you want to advance in your organization, you have to do things that will make you stand out. If you want to move to a leadership role, then demonstrating leadership qualities in your everyday work will make a big difference.

Being a leader doesn’t mean bossing people around, however. Great leaders are always there to help and are ready to go the extra mile. They aren’t afraid to take on more responsibilities than they should, and they work overtime. They take responsibility for their actions, but they also make sure that everyone else is held accountable. But, more importantly, leaders are great team players, and if you feel like you’ve been doing your own thing in your corner for a long while, you’ll need to adopt more of a team mindset.

Join Organizations
Networking is also very important for any nurse who wants to advance their career. Nurse organizations are a great place to find a mentor if you can’t find one where you’re working. Being around other nurses opens the door to more opportunities. Members could notify you of openings in their organizations and then vouch for you. Others could direct you toward resources that could help you reach your goals. Being helpful in these organizations will also pay dividends. This is why we would suggest that you start looking at nursing organizations where you are right away. You could choose anyone, but if you have a specialty, you should pick an organization that is centered around it for better results.

Go to Conferences
Attending conferences is another great opportunity to meet other nurses. You’ll get the chance to listen to experts in the field and learn about some of the coming trends as well. This would allow you to find new fields that could interest you and position yourself so you can fill crucial roles in the future.

These are all things that every nurse who wants to advance their career should consider. The most important tip is to ask for help from people who have more experience than you and have a solid plan from the get-go.

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