Top Tips For Advancing Your Nursing Career

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No matter which industry you work in, there comes a time when it can feel like things have stalled a bit. Maybe you find you’re not as enthusiastic in your role, or perhaps you catch yourself clock-watching far more than you used to – did the days used to fly by and now all they seem to do is drag? This can be particularly true in the nursing and healthcare sector, where the work might be rewarding, but is also extremely hard. If you think this describes your current situation, then don’t hand your notice in just yet - we’ve got some great tips to help you advance your nursing career.


Network, Network, Network

They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and this is especially true when it comes to work issues; nothing makes you relax more than finding people who are in the same situation. Start by reaching out to colleagues, and organizing meetups at local coffee shops - just sitting and chatting can immediately make you feel better, and enable you to think more positively.


You could also plan to attend professional networking events and conferences together, hold reading groups, and share journal articles. Another great way to network is to join one of the many professional nursing organizations, such as Sigma Theta Tau or the American Nurses Association. Membership brings several advantages, from access to experts and the opportunity to connect with leaders in the same field to copies of professional journals and discounts on further education.


Take Part In Work Experience

If you feel like you’ve outgrown your current position, but you don’t have the experience under your belt to apply for the role you really want, then get in touch with your manager or shift leader and inquire about shadowing another a member of staff in a different department. As well as giving you the vital experience for your CV, it’s also a good opportunity for you to get an insight into what the work would be like - it could be that you decide to stick with your current role after all.

Alternatively, you could take a sabbatical and explore volunteering and work experience options outside of your current employment. Think about contacting different settings that are in line with the role you want to pursue - for example, if you currently work in emergency medicine, but you’d like to move into palliative care, you could look for work experience in a local hospice or nursing home. If you’re more interested in midwifery, you could ask to spend time at the neonatal unit or birth center.


Return To Studying

The best way to advance your nursing career is by returning to study; investing in your education is beneficial in so many ways, and with every certificate you earn, more doors open for you. If you arrange your studies through your employer, you’ll be allocated time to attend lectures, courses, and classes, although you’ll have to complete any coursework in your own time.


Another option is to enroll in an online course, such as the Spring Arbor MSN; designed specifically for working nurses, you’ll gather all the skills necessary to advance your career, have access to dedicated educators and be allocated a Student Success Coach, who will support you every step of the way. Education is also a great way to meet other people in your industry; you’ll be able to share information and study with others on a similar path to you, and you’ll also have the opportunity to make some great professional connections. Additionally, you will be learning from leaders at the top of their game.


Volunteer For Extra Duties

As well as clinical experience and relevant professional certificates, a positive attitude, and approach go a long way in helping you advance within your nursing career. Volunteering for extra shifts, offering to stay late or start early to cover staff shortages and assisting with tasks outside your role will all show you’re a willing and able member of staff, and a team player.


It might sound like this is simply offering to work for free but remember that at the end of the day, it’ll add vital skills to your CV and show you in a favorable light. You could also offer to assist with any administrative duties that might be outstanding in your department. Although you might not relish the idea of paperwork, it will show that as well as performing well in a clinical setting, and also organized enough to take control of record-keeping and desk work.