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5 Steps Toward Career Development In Nursing

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career that gives you the opportunity to spend your days helping others. It’s a very difficult job and the people that go into nursing do so with the expectation that they will have to make sacrifices to their own lives and deal with difficult situations in the name of helping other people. The reason that people go into this career is to affect change and part of that is simply carrying out the day to day duties of a registered nurse. However, a lot of people find that they want to progress in their career and reach more senior positions so they can make a bigger impact, but they often don’t know how to go about it.

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Nursing actually offers a lot of opportunities for career progression and development and if you work your way up the ladder, you can direct patient care at a higher level and implement wide-scale changes that improve the overall level of care for all patients. Some people enjoy interacting with patients and taking care of their needs but for others, those higher level positions are the ultimate goal. If you feel the same and you’re looking for ways to advance your nursing career, here are some important things that you should know. 

Dedication Is Key 

The first step in achieving anything is dedication to the task at hand and this is especially important if you want to get ahead in nursing. You need to be clear about your goals and make sure that you’re always focused on developing your career. This extends outside of the workplace into every aspect of your life because you need to find ways to free up time to advance your career if you’re going to be successful. If you spend all of your free time looking at social media or watching TV when you could be doing things to further your career, you won’t get anywhere. If you’re really serious about pursuing a higher level career in nursing, you need to ensure that you have clear goals and you’re dedicated to achieving them, it’s the only way to find success.  

Further Your Education 

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Education is another very important step in the process because there is only so far that you can get with experience and hard work. Certain jobs will require you to have extra qualifications on top of your standard nurse's certification so if you want to keep progressing, you’ll have to further your education at the same time. A lot of the higher level jobs require you to have a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) qualification. You can do the Baylor DNP program online in your spare time, which means that you can continue to work while you get the extra qualifications that you need. This is the way that most people will do it because it means that you don’t have to deal with the financial burden of going back into education full-time. You’re also gaining more job experience and giving yourself the opportunity to put the things that you learn into practice on a daily basis. 

Attend Conferences 

If you want to advance your career, you need to learn more about the field and get more involved with the nursing community as a whole. Attending conferences is a great way to do both of those things. If you regularly attend nursing conferences, you’ll be able to listen to presentations from experts and learn a lot of practical things that improve your job performance and better prepare you for some of the challenges that come along with more senior nursing positions. You will also meet a lot of different people in your field that will be able to give you advice on applying for new jobs and some of these connections may even help you to get your foot in the door. Networking at these conferences is so important if you’re going to advance your career in any meaningful way but a lot of people go about it the wrong way. There is a certain skill to networking effectively and you need to learn how to do it well if you’re going to make valuable connections that help your career in the future. 

Join Professional Organizations 

Being a member of a professional nursing organization is another great way to network and gain access to resources that will help you to further your career, they also look great on job applications so if you’re not already a member, you should join some. Everybody should join up with the American Nurses Association but there are also more specialist organizations that you can join depending on the specific branch of nursing that you work in. It’s worth looking into these organizations because they can be a big help when trying to find new jobs. 

Find A Mentor 

Finding a mentor and building a good relationship with them is an important part of career development in nursing. A good mentor can give you advice on improving your performance and getting noticed by your superiors and they can also help you when you’re applying for new roles so your application is always excellent. Finding the right mentor is key and there are a few things to remember. Firstly, it’s not always wise to choose somebody that you work directly under because you don’t want your professional relationship to get in the way of your mentor/mentee relationship or vice versa. It’s better to choose somebody superior that works in a different area, preferably an area that you’re hoping to move into. It’s also important to remember that they’re giving up their time to help you out and you shouldn’t push it. Always make sure that you’re respecting their time and you’re not being too demanding of them, otherwise, the relationship will break down. You need to accept the help that your mentor can give you but don’t ask too much of them. 

If you follow these basic steps, you’ll find it a lot easier to decide which direction you want your nursing career to take and it’ll be easier to meet those goals.