What is it you want to achieve in your nursing career? How far do you want to do, and what do you want to do? Initially, this might seem like an easy question, one that you can answer in moments. However, when you really think about it, it’s not easy at all – there are so many different choices a nurse can make once they have qualified as an RN, and it will depend on your likes and dislikes, your personality, and what additional qualifications you can achieve among other things as to where your next steps will be.
The interesting thing about nursing, and the thing that makes it such a great career choice in general, is that there is an option for just about everyone. No matter who you are or what you want, nursing will offer you an opportunity to do whatever it is that makes you happiest and interests you the most. That’s because there are many different ways to be a nurse and many different branches of nursing to explore. So, of course, if you want to progress your nursing career, the opportunities are there for you. Once you know you want to move forward, you’ll need to find out how to do it; read on for some advice.
Is Nursing The Right Choice?
Before you can decide how you want to progress your career, it’s vital you decide whether you’re in the right career. There is no point in pushing forward doing something you don’t like when there are so many other options open to you in life. Think carefully about how you feel when you go to work each day; are you excited? Happy? Depressed? Bored? Of course, there will be bad days in every job, but are there more bad days than good ones? Or vice versa? It’s important to know whether nursing really is something you want to continue with.
Once you do know, you can then decide on your next steps. If you choose to continue in your nursing career, you can start to look at which nursing avenues you might go down to progress your career. Do you want to work with certain types of people (in terms of their ages, or perhaps what conditions they have) or in specific hospital departments? Do you want to become a leader, or are you happy as a follower? Make a list of all the things you love about nursing, and you’ll soon see what direction you would be best heading in.
Take On Additional Studying
One of the most important elements of progressing your nursing career is to take on additional studying. Although gaining experience is also very important, this is something that you will do when you are working – it’s a natural part of being a nurse, and the more you work, the more experience and hands-on knowledge you will gain. However, other types of knowledge, the knowledge you can only learn during study, will need to be gained separately. This is why, if you want to progress your nursing career, you’ll need to go back to school.
This can be problematic for some people. It’s hard to find the time to attend classes when you’re working, but unless you do attend classes, you won’t get any further in your career. What can you do? The answer is simple; you can take online classes. When you study for something like an online MSN FNP, you can work at the same time. That’s because the lessons you need to attend won’t be held at specific times; you can choose when you study. This makes the situation a much more flexible one, meaning you can fit in your new learning with a full-time job and even with other responsibilities such as caring for a family or volunteering or enjoying a hobby, for example. Online learning means you can have and do everything you want and progress your career effectively.
Network Where You Can
Networking is probably the one thing on this list that you haven’t at least considered in the past. After all, networking is for business people who are growing their own companies and for those looking to find a great new job. This is true; networking is ideal for these things. However, it can also be ideal for a nurse who wants to progress their career. Networking is all about making connections and finding people who can help you in the best way but also finding people you can help (as a nurse, this is often a priority). When you know a lot of people, you’ll be able to more easily progress your nursing career more.
Perhaps you like the idea of networking, but you’re not sure where to start as a nurse. You’ll often be working with the same people all the time, so opportunities for additional networking might feel lacking. However, there are always ways to meet new people. Online forums are a good place to begin, although you must be careful not to give too much information away when you do this – you want to ensure you are talking to genuine people. Another option is to attend conferences; these are ideal places to meet like-minded people, and you can often help one another. Even if you only offer and receive advice rather than anything more concrete, this can help. Then there are your studies. When you attend a physical college,you’ll certainly come into contact with other people, but even if you are working online, which is the ideal option for nurses as we’ve said, there will often be opportunities to meet other people in your class, either in person or virtually.
Look At Your Strengths and Weaknesses
In order to progress your nursing career, you need to know where you want to go and what you want to do. You also need to have plenty of knowledge – both practical and theoretical. However, on top of all of this, you need to know a lot about yourself. Knowing what your own personal strengths and weaknesses are is crucial for a number of reasons.
When you know what your strengths are, you’ll know which areas of nursing will suit you best. If you’re a great leader, for example, you can look into a role that offers you the chance to be a manager. If you are particularly skilled at organization or communication or working with particular age groups, you can have all of that too; there will be an option just ready and waiting for you, and you’ll just need to know what the right thing is for you.
It’s just as important to look at your weaknesses as well. When you know where you are not quite so strong, you can work on those elements particularly to build up your knowledge and to ensure that you are well-rounded. Alternatively, you might simply use the information about where you are weaker in your skills to help you choose a career path for your nursing profession. Either way, unless you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can’t do any of that, and you might find it harder to progress.
Make Sure You Have A Goal
When you want to progress in any kind of career, you’re going to need a goal to work towards. If you don’t have a goal, you won’t know how to make the right decisions to get you where you want to be, and you might just find it easier to stick where you are and not move forward at all because without goals (and even with them sometimes) that will seem like the safest option.
Of course, your goal might actually be to stay where you are. Perhaps you’re completely happy doing what you’re doing right now, and you don’t want to progress any further. If so, that’s wonderful, and it’s good to have that knowledge. However, if you do have ambitions to move forward, having goals to get you there will make things a lot easier.
Your goals are always going to be personal to you, so don’t just do what other people tell you to, although getting their advice is always going to be a good thing. Once you have plenty of information, advice, and guidance, you will be in a better position to consider what the best goals for you are going to be.
This can feel like a daunting task, but if you take things slowly, it doesn’t have to be. You can either think about where you want to reach as your ultimate goal and then work backward from there, detailing the steps it will take to get there, or you can simply look at the next step ahead of you and determine smaller goals. The result should be the same, and these goals will ensure you continue to propel forwards and don’t get stuck.
Your nursing career is going to be different from everyone else’s. You’ll do different things, learn different things, and enjoy different things about it. Since your nursing career is very personal to you, you’re the only one who will know just how to progress it. Hopefully, however, the points we’ve made will help you make a good start.