What You Need to Know to Further Your Nursing Career

There are a lot of opportunities for growth and development within the healthcare and nursing industry, and being ready for change and growth is important. When you are ready for growth, you are then ready to further your career. However, how can you successfully push yourself forwards, and what route should you be taking. Making the right career moves is important, and when you make the right moves, you can be sure you get a sustainable career. So, what should you be taking into account when furthering your career, and how can you start to make your plans actionable?

The Right Time for Career Progression

To begin with, you have to decide when the right time for career progression is. If you are itching for a move, or if you feel that you are stagnant in your current role, you may feel the time for change is now. If you are not ready for career progression, you may struggle to settle into a promotion, and you may not get the most out of it. Your mindset and your approach have to be ready for career progression to make it work. So, ask yourself – are you ready for more responsibility? Are you ready for a bigger workload and perhaps even responsibility for staff and other colleagues? When you have asked these key questions, you will be able to establish if the time is right for your next move.

What Job or Role Are You Aiming For?

After establishing your readiness for career growth and development, you then have to establish just what role or position you are aiming for. It is important to establish what you want to achieve because this will allow you to set goals and targets. So, are you looking to get into nursing leadership? Or, are you looking at getting more involved with your local community – perhaps within a role as a family nurse practitioner? Where do you see yourself in the next 5- years, and within what role? Weighing up the pros and cons for roles you are interested in will prove beneficial. When you take time to establish what roles are right for you, then you will have more focus. Being certain about what job or role you wish to aim for will make sure that you can then start working on improving your professional offering. If you find that you are struggling to decide between two or three options for your future, then way up the potential with each opportunity and see how that aligns with your thinking, mentality, and approach – this should make the decision-making process a little easier.

Have You Got What it Takes?

To take your nursing career to the next level, you must give more, and you must do more. Expectations within your next role will be higher, and it is important that you can live up to these heightened expectations. So, have you truly got what it takes to make the next move a successful one? Are you dedicated to improving yourself, and are you ready to take critique and criticism on board to improve? If you do not have what it takes to further your career, then you may end up landing a promotion – but will you end up being able to succeed in the role? Being prepared to step up, increase your accountability, and even make changes to yourself and your approach is essential for successful and sustainable growth.

Maintaining Your Passion and Drive

Drive and passion are required to successfully further and elevate your nursing career, and if you lack either of these, you will find the process consuming and overwhelming. You must have passion and drive to make a change within your future role, and you must have passion and drive to keep pushing yourself. If you do not sustain a certain level of drive and passion, then you will struggle to land and fulfill the roles that you wish to. Within nursing and healthcare, you must be passionate to make a change, and you must have the drive to make a tangible difference. If you do not have the driving force, then you will find that your plans will quickly derail, and you will lose sight of what you want to achieve. To ensure that you can maintain a good level of passion and drive, you need to focus on what you want, and you have to build a support network. Leaning on others, delegating, and not taking on too much will ensure that high levels of passion and drive are maintained.

An Action Strategy

Landing your next nursing role or getting into nursing leadership is not just going to happen. Nobody is going to give you an opportunity unless you are willing to put yourself in a position to receive it. An action strategy or plan for action will help you formulate how you will get the promotion you deserve. It will give you direction, and it will help break down the process of promotion and growth to make it tangible and easy to process. If you do not have an action strategy that features actionable steps or stages, you may find that you take longer to further your career and get that promotion or development that you want. When you are formulating an action strategy, you need to focus on the next 1-5 years. Look at what areas you want to improve, look at the skills you want to improve and enhance, and look at what programs you wish to study (and perhaps need to study).

Investing in Yourself

To further your career, it is essential that you invest in yourself. If you are not prepared to invest in yourself, then how can you expect others to? When it comes to investing in yourself, you need to focus on fiscal and physical improvement. Investing in study programs will be beneficial, and so too will programs of self-development and skill development. When you are prepared to invest in yourself, you see that you are a work in progress. You cannot pursue career advancement if you are not prepared to work on yourself. To ensure that you invest in the areas that matter and that make an impact, you must look at what you currently have to offer. Evaluate where the weaknesses lie, and then evaluate what you need for success in your new role or position.

Setting Targets and Goals for the Future

Furthering your nursing career and landing new opportunities will not just happen by chance. You need to make opportunities and roles attainable and achievable, and to ensure this happens, goals and targets must be set. When you focus on target setting and goal setting, you can see what you need to do (and by when). Breaking down long-term goals and targets by setting achievable targets will ensure that you maintain your drive and your ambition. When it comes to creating targets and goals, you must make them actionable, and you must give them a realistic end date. If you do not give your targets and goals an end date, you can find that they can be dragged out – which of course, will make that promotion or career advancement that little bit further away. When you are creating targets and goals, make them as area-specific as possible. Do not generalize, as this can defeat what you are trying to achieve.

Committing to Furthering Your Education

When you are creating and setting targets and goals, you will see just how important your education is. Furthering your education and investing in enhancing your knowledge are crucial for growth and development. If you do not commit to furthering and advancing your education, then you will find that you will remain stagnant. When you are looking at furthering your education, you may find it beneficial to look at specific programs and areas of interest. By doing this, you can be sure that you are adding skills and knowledge that are beneficial and most likely crucial to a new role. For instance, if you want to become a family nurse practitioner, you will look specifically for MSN FNP programs because these programs will give you the knowledge base and awareness that you need to make the next career move. If you do not focus on targeted programs when furthering your career, you may end up struggling to ascertain which direction you want to go in, and you may end up investing in programs that are not even beneficial or essential to your next move. 

Finding Suitable Positions and Promotions

Not all positions and promotions will be suitable for you, and not all of them will fall into place with your action strategy. Choosing and picking carefully which positions are right for you is essential. Jumping for any opportunity that comes your way may not always be the best thing to do. Moving around too much, or jumping from role to role, could be detrimental to your further growth and career advancement. Making calculated and careful moves is what you should be focusing your efforts on. To find suitable positions and promotions, you need to weigh up what is on offer and weigh up also what you will gain from a new role. If you are not gaining much, then you need to think if pursuing a role is worth your time. 

Improving Your Resume

Your resume will get you the role that you want, and it will signal to employees why you are the best candidate for a position. It is therefore important to invest time into creating a resume that sells itself. Resumes that are easy to reach and clear to follow will always be favored by employees. A resume that clearly highlights your expertise and experience is essential, and to ensure that this is what your resume looks like, you have to evaluate what is on offer. Look at your resume from the view of an employer, and see what it tells you. If your resume is full of fluff, then make it more concise. Or, if you are not highlighting your areas of expertise – then switch up the layout, and highlight key areas.

Making Use of Networking

Other nursing professionals around you matter, and the benefits of networking can be seen clearly. Networking with healthcare and nursing professionals can help you expand your reach, and help you find new opportunities, roles, and placements, that you have may have previously overlooked. Networking can help you build a list of key contacts, and it can assist you with furthering and advancing your nursing career – especially if you are networking with professionals from other areas or states. When you focus your attention and efforts on networking, you focus on widening your search and widening your reach, and this could be beneficial to opening new doors.

Self-Growth and Professional Growth

As you are focusing on furthering your career, you must not overlook how important self-growth and professional growth are. Molding yourself into a better professional, and improving your skillset at the same time, will help you to become an asset to any employer. Professional growth can be achieved by enhancing your knowledge, awareness, and education. Whereas self-growth can be achieved by focusing on improving your abilities and skillsets.

Handling Criticism and Feedback

Within a role or position, not everything will go your way, and it is important to remember that criticism and feedback are important in any role. How you handle criticism and feedback will determine how successful you are. If you take feedback too personally, you will stall, and you will struggle to achieve your goals and targets. However, if you see the positives and constructive elements in feedback (and even criticism), you will grow and you will evolve – and this is essential to continued growth and success.

Seeking Mentorship

In nursing, and in healthcare you are never on your own. You may find it beneficial to get a mentor to help you achieve success and growth. A mentor will have direct experience and knowledge that they can share and impart with you. A mentor will have seen many things, and they can often give guidance and advice that will keep you on track with your goals and targets.

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