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6 Ways to Grow Your Nursing Career

by Rahul
Nursing

A career in nursing is not only very rewarding, but it comes with many opportunities for advancement and growth. Although you may not think of nursing as a career field where you can grow and expand your career in any direction, it is a truly versatile field and a near endless amount of possibilities.

When it comes to growing your career as a nurse, there are a few ways you can go about doing some. Some are academic while others are more experience-based. Whichever your preference is, here are some ways to grow your nursing career.

#1. Find a Mentor

In any industry, having a mentor is one of the best ways to grow and advance your career. Nursing is no exception. With the help of a senior nurse, you can learn more about your career and gain insight that you may not have otherwise learned. A mentor can also help guide you in the direction you want to go and offer you advice when you need it.

Mentors that have been in the industry for several years may have valuable connections that you can benefit from. By working with a mentor, you may just come into contact with the perfect person to help you get your career to where you want it.

#2. Choose a Specialty

You don’t need to pick a specialty in order to become a nurse, but it can help you advance and grow your career in a direction that interests you. With dozens of nursing specialties to choose from, there’s something for everyone and their interests.

Choosing a specialty also comes with the possibility to increase your salary. For example, aesthetic nurse practitioners earn an average of $85,000 a year according to PayScale. Compared to the average registered nurse’s salary of $68,000 a year, this is quite an increase.

Different specialties may pay more than others, but it’s more important to choose a specialty that interests you and that you want to pursue. Nursing is a difficult job and staying passionate about your work will help you provide better patient care and be a better nurse.

#3. Take Advantage of Learning Opportunities

Some hospitals or healthcare centers may offer training courses or additional certification opportunities. Even if you don’t see the need for these courses or certifications in your career now, they may be just the thing to help you get where you want to go. 

It’s vital that you have all the required ACLS, BLS, and PALS certifications for your field, but holding additional certifications can improve your career prospects and help you determine where you want to take your career. You may not realize that you’re interested in aesthetic nursing until after you complete a basic training or trial course. Same with pediatrics or any other specialty.

#4. Join a Professional Organization

Joining one of the many professional nursing organizations can give you a foot in where you need it. You can even join multiple depending on your interests and the organizations provide a great platform for you to network amongst fellow nurses. 

When you join these organizations, you may get offers for discounted or free training and certification courses through the organization. While many of them will require you to pay a fee to join, they provide a lot of valuable information and resources for new and practicing nurses no matter where you’re located in the country.

#5. Continue Your Education

Nursing

6 Ways to Grow Your Nursing Career

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Most nurses only need a bachelor’s degree (BSN) before they can begin their practice. While a BSN will provide a great starting platform for your career, continuing your education and pursuing a master’s degree or even a doctorate will open up more doors for you and likely increase your salary. 

If you’re interested in a certain area of nursing, you may need to continue your education and pursue higher education.

Nurse midwives, nurse anesthesiologists, and clinical nurse specialists are often required to hold a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP). This is also true for nurse practitioners no matter what your specialty is. For those interested in leadership or management positions as well as educational positions, you’ll typically need to hold a masters of science in nursing (MSN). 

In some cases, paying for your education is a hurdle in and of itself. Fortunately, there are multiple nursing scholarship and grant programs that you can apply to for help with tuition costs. Some hospitals or employment offices may even offer tuition reimbursement programs, so if you’re currently employed, this is worth looking into as well. 

#6. Improve Your Soft Skills

As a nurse, there are many soft skills that will be vital to your work. From communication to compassion, it’s important that you demonstrate proficiency in many soft skills throughout your work day.

Some of the most important soft skills for nurses to master include communication, compassion, critical thinking, teamwork, stress and time management, and resilience. While many of these skills will need to be honed and practiced over time after you start working, you can start improving them during your time as a student.

There may be courses for developing certain soft skills that can be helpful. Much of the work will need to be done on your own, but taking a course will help you know where you need to improve and how to do so. As we aren’t born knowing these things, it’s difficult to improve without direction or guidance.

Take Charge and Advance Your Career

Growing your nursing career takes time and effort. It won’t just happen overnight and you’ll need to work in order to see any changes. Despite how difficult it may look or feel, growing your career is possible and can be done step by step. Don’t expect to see huge changes in a snap, though.

When it comes to growing your career, it’s up to you to take the first step and move in the direction you want to go. If you want to see growth and change, you’ll have to be the one to start it.

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