4 Ways to Expand Your Nursing Career
You don’t have to work in a hospital or do bedside tasks to have a successful nursing or expand your nursing career. In fact, an article on ‘Lifelong Learning and Nurses’ Continuing Professional Development’ showed that nurses are becoming more interested in their professional development to update their skills and deliver better healthcare services. More importantly, these professional development opportunities allow nurses to acquire skills and knowledge that will help them get closer to their career goals.
Indeed, these professional development activities are important because they can widen your career horizons. The good news is that there are plenty of learning opportunities that nurses can take part in. So if you’re interested in advancing and expanding your career as a nurse, you should try doing the following strategies:
Involve yourself in research efforts
Nurse researchers design and implement studies, which is why they often start their careers as research assistants, clinical data coordinators, or clinical research monitors. To become a nurse researcher, you need to earn a master’s or even a doctorate degree before obtaining at least two years of experience in conducting clinical research. Once they have two years of full-time experience, they’ll need to get a research certification from The Society for Clinical Research Associates or The Association of Clinical Research Professionals.
This is one of the Career Alternatives for Nurses that have stricter qualifications because nurse researchers study diseases, treatments, and medications. These professionals often work in laboratories or universities where they learn and share new insights that could benefit the field of medicine.
Develop your soft skills to become a qualified leader
You can positively change the current organization you work for by becoming a nurse leader. Educational qualifications are not necessary for this role, but the American Nurses Association recommends that you develop your foundational leadership competencies to adapt to external pressures and crises. These competencies are primarily soft skills, such as good decision-making, team-building, diplomacy, and adaptability. These soft skills can be developed through experience, but you can also learn them through online courses or professional development classes.
Nurse leaders need these soft skills because they manage nursing teams and serve as knowledge resources in clinical settings. Nurse leaders also fulfill human resource and administrative functions, making it crucial to learn how to run a team with empathy and authority.
Earn a specialization to become a practitioner
If you want to work independently of healthcare organizations, one career path you can consider is becoming a nurse practitioner. Our article on the ‘Highest Paying Nursing Careers’ notes that you have to earn an additional Master of Science in Nursing degree or even pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree to pursue this path. You must also obtain national certification and state APRN licensure to qualify as a nurse practitioner.
However, all that effort will be worth it because nurse practitioners earn a good salary. Aside from being a high-paying career path, there are remote opportunities for nurse practitioners in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and other states with nursing shortages. Through these opportunities, nurse practitioners can pursue specializations in pediatrics, behavioral health, and women’s health while enjoying the perks that come with working from home. Nurse practitioners can even provide care to patients throughout their lifespan, guaranteeing more career security.
Seek a mentor that can hone your entrepreneurial skills
You can also be your own boss by becoming a nurse entrepreneur. Nurse entrepreneurs simply need to complete their bachelor’s degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to run a qualified nurse business. However, researchers from Chicago and Maryland emphasize that nurse entrepreneurs can experience more tremendous success through formal and informal mentorship programs. Mentors can teach entrepreneurial skills and broaden the business network of nurses, which is why nurse entrepreneurs rank them as the most critical ingredient for success.
So if you’re aspiring to sell health products or services, you can find a business mentor by joining professional networking events or industry meetups. You can also join mentorship platforms like MentorCruise or Clarity to work with professionals who can develop your entrepreneurial skills.
You can expand your nursing career to new heights, especially if you’re willing to invest in your own skills development. Whether you plan to get formal or informal training, you can ensure that your new competencies and knowledge can greatly contribute to your new career path.