Nursing is a fulfilling, challenging and rewarding career. It is full of ups and downs and requires strength of character. But one thing is certain, you will probably never have a dull moment on the job. There are always things to do, patients to care for, families to explain things to, and doctors, administrators and technicians to work with. A typical medical facility is a beehive of activity day and night, and as nurses, you’ll usually find yourself in the middle of the action.
If you are already a practicing nurse, you will have experienced all of this and a whole lot more. But you may be asking yourself, what’s next? Where can my career go from here? It may be time to think about how to advance your nursing career. What are the nursing options you can consider that will help you elevate your career to the next level?
Advancing Your Nursing Career – Key Steps:
- Never Stop Learning: This a valuable lesson, not just for advancing your nursing career but for life in general. Whether it’s building on your formal education or taking small certificate courses or workshops, every additional feather in your cap can help you climb the career ladder. If you currently hold an associate degree or diploma, one way to prepare yourself for nursing career advancement is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In as little as 39 months, you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and gain additional knowledge to help you grow in your chosen Nursing field. Evening and weekend options are also available on some West Coast University campuses so that your education doesn’t interfere with your day job. If you are already a Registered Nurse, you can also opt for our RN to BSN program online and attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in as little as 12 months.
- Shadow a Veteran: There’s no better tutor than experience, and while it may take a while to gain this experience, there will usually be someone in the nursing setup at your medical institution whose many years in the field can provide you with additional insight and learnings. Finding the right mentor can be a difficult process. They need to be open to sharing their ideas and advice with you, your motivations need to match, and you need to be able to have the right chemistry. But when you do find the perfect formula for a great relationship with your mentor, you’ll be on the right track to advancing your nursing career.
- Step Up: There are often situations at medical institutions that require leadership, additional time, and more responsibilities. Ordinarily, people shy away from volunteering for these situations because the unknown can be intimidating. However, you shouldn’t, because answering the call and taking a step forward when everyone else hesitates is one of those advancement opportunities for nurses. How? Well, the leadership at any workplace remembers those who are willing to work harder, put in the extra time and go the extra mile, and it is usually these people that are first in line when the time comes to elevate someone from within the nursing staff to a position of greater responsibility. So, when the opportunity presents itself to get noticed and appreciated by those in higher positions, take it.
- Network, Network, Network: Advancements in your nursing career don’t have to come solely from within the organization you are working for. There are opportunities available all around you, and as long as you have your ear to the ground and a solid network in place, chances are you will hear about these opportunities. Joining nursing associations, medical associations in general and other professional organizations can be a great way to network. But it isn’t just formal organizations that can help you find the next opportunity, even simple things like social media pages and groups can be valuable resources for finding out about developments and openings in the healthcare industry that will help advance your nursing career.
There was strong growth in the healthcare sector in 2018 in the United States, with 346,000 new jobs created last year, which is an increase from the 284,000 openings in 2017. This trend is expected to continue into the near future as well, and those who are well-placed and well-prepared to take advantage of it can elevate their careers in this time period. As a healthcare-focused educational institution, West Coast University can help you gain that edge and allow your nursing career to bloom and flourish in the upcoming years. If you have any questions about our programs, we are always here to help. Contact us today to take the next step.