How to Improve Your Nursing Career

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( — March 9, 2022) — When you work hard at any career, it’s likely you’ll want to do all you can to enhance it and get as far as possible – or as far as you choose to go. It’s a terrible feeling to have ambitions and not to achieve them. This is why it’s always a good idea to ensure you are looking out for any opportunities that might come your way and give yourself the chance to boost your career in any way that makes sense to you. 

If you are a nurse, you might feel as though you have already got as far as you can go. However, the reality is that you can always push yourself that little bit further, and there are plenty of opportunities just waiting for you to seize them. Nurses are extremely hard working, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enhance their careers if they want to, and they can often do it without detriment to their jobs, their colleagues, or their patients. If you are a nurse and you want to reach the next level – and beyond – of your career, keep reading; here is some advice about how to improve your nursing career and be all you want to be. 

Work With Your Instincts 

All nurses will have had a lot of training and, as they begin working (and before, in their studies), they will have gained plenty of experience. This will certainly help you become a great nurse, and it will allow you to first see and then take advantage of the many opportunities that lay in front of you. However, there is something else you should remember when you are a nurse; you must always trust your instincts. This might sound like a strange thing to say because there are rules to follow and specific medical work to be done, but the fact is that sometimes, no matter what, it’s your gut feeling that will help you the most. So it’s crucial to work with your instincts. This doesn’t mean overriding colleagues or doing something dangerous; it simply means giving yourself an extra level of information to consider before acting. If you think something is wrong, take the time to do something about it.

Your patients will certainly benefit from this, but so will you. If you are just beginning your nursing career and you’ve not yet learned to trust your gut, you might push yourself too hard – you might not take enough breaks or allow yourself a chance to decompress, for example. As you become more experienced, your instincts will help you take care of yourself, and that will help you become a better nurse and therefore improve your nursing career. 

Keep Learning

As we’ve said, nursing means a lot of hard work, not just in the job itself but in the learning leading up to becoming qualified. Most nurses will be excited to finish their training so they can get straight into the business of helping their patients. Many will continue to do that until the day they retire, slowly working their way through the levels of nursing that they can experience alone. 

However, all great nurses will want to keep learning, and the ones who want to truly improve their careers will do so through official channels, ensuring they obtain a new qualification to help them in the most useful way. For example, if you’re a nurse and you want to specifically help patients with acute conditions, it’s wise to go back to school to obtain your AGACNP certification. In fact, no matter what you want to do, there will be an advanced nursing course to help you achieve your goals. In most cases, you won’t even have to take any time off work or sacrifice time with your family since you’ll be able to learn and study online. 

Even if you don’t want to get a specific qualification to help you get further and improve your nursing career, it’s still important to keep learning. Nursing changes as time goes on, and the techniques you learned when you were studying to become a nurse might have changed. This is why it’s important to stay abreast of what is happening in the nursing profession in general, as well as in your specific niche. If you want to improve your nursing career, you should join forums and groups, read journals, and attend conferences. In that way, you can be sure you’re giving your patients the very best care. 

Be Honest 

Honesty is another train that is sure to improve your nursing career. It’s a skill that should be part of everyone’s general life, but it’s actually something that can be very hard to bring into the workplace when we’re all trying so hard to impress colleagues and managers and, in the case of nurses, patients too. Yet nurses are dealing with people’s health and can often be in life or death situations. Therefore, honesty is perhaps more important than anything else. 

When you are a nurse, honesty can mean a variety of different things, but the one that you should focus on is that it means you should admit to any mistakes you make. Once you have done this, you can start to put things right, but until you own up to what happened, this will be impossible. The longer it takes for you to speak up, the worse the situation can become. 

Remember, everyone makes mistakes. Nurses are no different. Even if you have a lot of experience and many qualifications, the sheer fact that you are a human being means you can make a mistake. It’s what you do afterward that makes all the difference and can truly improve your nursing career. 

Be A Leader 

Some people are leaders, and some are followers. There is no shame in being either one; we need both in the world, and we need both in nursing. However, if you want to improve your nursing career, it’s best to be a leader – in that way, you can really get ahead and make a big, positive difference. If you are a follower, it’s less likely that you’ll make your way to the top of your career path; someone else with leadership qualities will get there first. 

Therefore, if you can be a leader, you’ll get where you want to be more easily and more quickly. Although the same opportunities will be available to you when you are a leader, you won’t have to wait for someone to tell you what to do and when to do it; you’ll take the initiative and just go for it. This will ensure you stand out, but it will also mean you can advance more smoothly and effectively, giving you the nursing career you really want and improving it in all ways. 

It’s not necessarily easy to become a leader if you’re not naturally someone who takes the lead. However, it is a skill that can be learned. You might take classes, you might read books or listen to podcasts, you might speak to others who are leaders and learn directly from them. It will be hard work, but if you want to make the most of your nursing career, it’s something you’ll definitely need to do. 

Ask Questions 

As we’ve said, learning is crucial if you want to improve your nursing career, and there are a number of ways to do it. However, no matter what path you decide to take, whether you want to obtain an official qualification through an online course or you want to do things in a different way (even if this might take longer), you will need to be prepared to ask questions. If there is something you don’t understand, ask for more information. If there is something, you want to do as if you can do it. If there is a direction you feel a patient’s treatment should be heading in, ask about that too. Ask as many questions as you can as much of the time. This is not something that will look bad for you; it will go in your favor as it will show that you are interested and willing to learn. Plus, it means you can do the best job possible as a nurse, as you’ll have all the information you might need. 

Some people might think that asking questions shows they have weaknesses in their knowledge or experience. However, it is the opposite. Asking questions means you have confidence in yourself because you know what information you still need to get, and you want to make sure you are doing the best job. Never be afraid to enhance your knowledge or check that you’re doing the right thing; no one knows everything. 

Find A Mentor 

One of the best ways to improve your nursing career is to have a nursing mentor to whom you can go when you need advice and information. This mentor should be someone who has experience in nursing and who can impart their knowledge to you, helping you when you need help and guiding you otherwise. Without a mentor, it can be hard to get through the challenges that are a part of nursing, and you might not be able to improve your career in the way you want to. 

It might not be easy to find someone to be your mentor initially, especially when you are just starting out and don’t know people. However, bear in mind that you don’t have to see the person in real life to gain assistance from them; you might find them online, for example. So keep looking, and you should be able to find someone who can offer you the advice you are looking for.