4 Ways to Expand Your Nursing Career
You don’t have to do bedside tasks or work in a hospital to expand your nursing career. An article on ‘Lifelong Learning and Nurses’ Continuing Professional Development’ states that nurses are becoming more interested in their professional development to update their skills and provide better healthcare services. These professional development opportunities allow many nurses to obtain knowledge and skills to help them reach their career goals.
These development activities are vital because they can broaden your career opportunities. The good news is there are plenty of opportunities for nurses to join in and learn. To expand and advance your career path, you must try these strategies.
Consider a Specialization
A specialization in a specific field increases your expertise, improves your job prospects, and leads to more fulfilling work. The types of clinical specializations for practicing nurses include, but are not limited to:
- Adult critical care (CCRN)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Pediatric critical care (CCRN)
- Perioperative Nurse (Surgical/OR Nurse)
- Progressive care (PCCN)
To be part of these leadership roles, obtain certifications geared toward nursing managers, administrators, and executives through organizations like the American Organization for Nurse Leadership (AONL) and the American College of Healthcare Executives Nurses.
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 must earn an additional Master of Science in Nursing degree to enjoy it. You can 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 working from home. Nurse practitioners can even provide care to patients throughout their lifespan, guaranteeing more career security.
Find a Mentor to Help You
Finding a mentor is an option you should consider when you’re looking to advance your career. Like an experienced nurse, a mentor can provide guidance that will help you manage the emotional and professional aspects of the healthcare industry. It also offers new nurses a safe space to learn and grow in their nursing careers.
Being able to find a mentor to help advance your career, give you the support you need, and develop your leadership skills are vital. A good mentor can provide networking opportunities, professional references, and many resources that will be helpful in your career.
You can be your boss by becoming a nurse entrepreneur. To run a qualified nurse business, you must complete a bachelor’s degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Researchers from Chicago and Maryland emphasize that nurse entrepreneurs can experience tremendous success through formal 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.
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 skills development. Whether you plan to get formal or informal training, you can ensure that your new competencies and knowledge can significantly contribute to your new career path.
Network Through Professional Organizations
A nursing career will only flourish with a network of professional organizations. It is essential for landing new job opportunities and networking. Not only that, but it will also help advance your career and gives you access to the latest techniques and practices in your nursing career. Among the most popular nursing organizations are:
- American Nurses Association
- National Student Nurses Association
- National League for Nursing
- National Black Nurses Association
- National Associations of Hispanic Nurses
- International Council of Nurses
A member of professional organizations are often invited to events and even have discounts on healthcare conventions. It also gives members continuing education courses and other employment assistance or resources.
Get Your Certifications
It will help you pursue specialized fields and high-paying positions as a nurse. Many health professionals require ACLS, PALS, and BLS certifications. It includes nurses working in emergency, urgent, and critical care units.
- ACLS Certification is Advanced Cardiac Life Support training. It helps healthcare providers the training to enhance life support skills, team dynamics, and basic drug therapy.
- BLS Certification or Basic Life Support training helps individuals recognize life-threatening emergencies, use an AED, and provide CPR.
- PALS Certification is Pediatric Advanced Life Support training that teaches medical professionals to provide life-saving care to children and infants.
The healthcare industry is time-intensive by nature, and many healthcare professionals need help finding the time to earn their certifications. Finding options like online certification classes offers them a convenient and efficient way to earn the needed certifications and recertifications at their own pace.
Besides earning your certifications, you must join organizations to develop foundational leadership competencies to help you adapt to external pressure and crises. These include soft skill development like good decision-making, diplomacy, team-building, and adaptability. These can be developed through experience and learned through online courses or professional development classes.
Nurse leaders need these soft skills to manage nursing teams and serve as knowledge resources in clinical settings. They also fulfill human resource and administrative functions, making it crucial to learn how to run a team with empathy and authority.