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Like all aspects of life, the nursing profession is also evolving daily. While the primary job of a nurse remains patient care, their duties and responsibilities go far beyond that. And with new technologies, scientific breakthroughs, and treatments coming to light each day, the demand for skilled nurses is increasing.
Modern medicine has also improved the quality of life for many individuals and brought forth remedies for diseases once labeled untreatable. Because of this, more people now live up to an older age, increasing the demand for nurses who can care for elderly patients or those with old age health issues.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nursing jobs will likely increase by 6% by 2031. And with so many people recognizing the importance and market demand for this profession, several new candidates are preparing for the job. Therefore, it is essential to make yourself stand out among like-minded professionals looking to advance in their careers.
More importantly, since nurses can now work in corporate and leadership positions, they must work towards career growth beyond their primary duties.
And so, once you identify your goals for this profession, try enhancing your nursing practice with these seven tips to guide you in the process.
1. Earn an advanced degree
With the healthcare industry advancing at such an unprecedented pace, healthcare professionals must be able to keep up with new knowledge and information. For this reason, employers often prefer nurses and other field professionals who continue their education. And luckily, thanks to modern technology, you no longer need to put your current job on hold to enroll in an advanced degree program. For example, colleges that offer online post masters NP certification are the perfect choice for nursing professionals who want to continue learning while working part-time.
Since online programs allow you to pick your class schedule and courses, you can do things your way. With this approach, neither your job nor your education gets compromised. More importantly, the knowledge and skills you acquire from such programs will help you stand out from your peers. They will also make you a more suitable candidate for potential jobs in the future.
2. Work in various settings
Nurses can work in various settings of their choice. Hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, intensive care units, and community health centers are a few of the options where they can work. And while it makes sense to pick a workplace that best aligns with your interests, you must also consider working in different settings to broaden your skills.
One of the greatest traits a nurse can have is adaptability, and there’s no better way to learn it than by experiencing how different healthcare settings function. By developing a versatile knowledge base and skill set, you will become an excellent nurse with a strong resume that fosters career growth.
3. Join professional organizations
As a nurse, one of the best things you can do for your career is to join a professional organization. These provide access to valuable resources and opportunities that are impossible to find anywhere else. Since they always have up-to-date information regarding the latest research and technology, joining such organizations can add value to your profession in just a few steps. Potential employers and job recruiters will also give you due importance when they see your name associated with a well-known organization. The sooner you join such associations, the better your chances of accessing resources that will be impossible to find anywhere else.
Although there are several organizations you can join, some of the top nursing organizations are:
· American Nurses Association
· American Academy of Nursing
· National League for Nursing
· Emergency Nursing Association
· International Council of Nurses
4. Advance your skills
All nursing candidates learn and receive the same theoretical knowledge and concepts. Therefore, what sets them apart is the skills acquired during their schooling or work experience. These can be both – technical and soft skills. And to enhance your nursing practice, you must keep advancing and expanding on both these skills as you progress in your career.
In the ever-evolving healthcare industry, nurses must learn to stay current with the latest clinical guidelines, technologies, and evidence-based practices. The more you master your abilities, the better you’ll be able to care for your patients. Besides making you a more skilled professional, this will also open career opportunities with better job benefits and more lucrative salaries.
Developing your soft skills, like communication, interpersonal skills, decision-making, critical thinking, etc., can also improve your chances of landing corporate-level jobs.
5. Take on leadership roles
One surefire way to enhance your nursing practice is by taking on as many leadership roles as possible in your current capacity. Even if the part seems small and futile, taking the lead on any project or case can set you apart from all other professionals in the same workplace.
Leadership roles empower nurses to influence positive changes, contribute to the advancement of their profession, and help improve patient outcomes. They allow you to advocate for your patients in a position where you can make an actual difference and impact systemic issues within a healthcare setting.
Nurses in leadership roles often have to be responsible for mentoring, teaching, and helping others on their team. Their knowledge and skills must always be up-to-date, which allows them to gain recognition and credibility in the nursing community.
6. Improve networking
Like other professions, nurses can also benefit from expanding their networking circles and improving their socialization skills with people in the healthcare industry. Regularly meeting up with other nurses, doctors, therapists, counselors, and even medical students allow you to have meaningful interactions.
Besides learning valuable information from others, you can introduce yourself to industry experts and get a good word in. Potential job recruiters are more likely to hire you for a job when they know you personally or can get an excellent recommendation from someone they know.
Networking circles of any industry are often exclusive but worth the effort of getting in. Besides learning from each other, you can find a mentor, look for collaboration opportunities, or simply work on building contacts for your practice.
7. Prioritize your health
While nursing is a gratifying profession, it’s also profoundly demanding. Long work hours, constant studying, short breaks, and insufficient holidays can cause anyone to burnout. Therefore, you must prioritize your health before anything else if you want to advance in your career. Start by taking a proper nutritious diet, hydrating, exercising regularly, and not compromising your sleep.
For any nursing professional to advance in their career, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on current information, increase knowledge, and expand on skills. With so many people joining the field, you must stand out from the crowd to ensure accelerated career growth. And with these tips above to guide you, you’ll be able to achieve all that and more.