Deciding to become a Nurse (Nursing Career) means embarking upon an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling career path. The ability to make a true difference in the lives of patients is one of the most appealing aspects of a career in nursing, and the challenging road that you must take in order to become a nurse is well worth it in the end.
Even though your primary aim in becoming a nurse is to work directly with patients to bring about positive outcomes, there are numerous other draws to this career path. For instance, nurses have many opportunities to take their careers even further and to branch out into other areas of medicine.
While there’s much to be said for choosing to remain a registered nurse (RN) working in a hospital setting, those nurses who do wish to take their careers even further have ample ways of doing so. Here are just a few tips that can help you to take your own career in nursing to the next level.
Earn an Advanced Degree
As with many other professions, one of the best ways to take your nursing career further is to earn an advanced degree of some sort. Whether you wish to specialize in a particular area of medicine or if you would like to rise in the ranks of the medical community, the best place to start is with an advanced degree.
There are many such degrees to choose from depending on what it is you want to achieve in your career. There are master’s degree programs as well as doctoral programs to choose from that will equip you with the knowledge and skills that you’ll need in order to advance your career.
For example, many people consider the level of nurse practitioner (NP) to be one of the highest levels of practice that a nurse can aspire to. In some instances, NPs are even able to practice without having to be under the supervision of a physician. If this is something that you aspire to, you can opt to earn a degree that will qualify you to practice as an NP or even a pediatric nurse practitioner if that is your calling.
With the right degree in hand, you can achieve a great deal in your career as a nurse.
Join a Mentorship Program
Another way in which you can expand your horizons and take your nursing career further is to join a mentorship program. Medical professionals in particular are acutely aware of how important it is to share knowledge and experience among peers. This is one of the key ways in which the world of medicine progresses and develops.
When you become part of a mentorship program, you are connected with a medical professional who has achieved many of the things that you would like to achieve in your own career. Such a person can provide you with guidance and advice that can help you to take your career to the next level.
In some cases, you might find that it is not possible or practical to join an actual mentorship program. For example, perhaps your place of employment does not have such a program in place, or maybe there is not a mentorship program at all in your area. This does not mean, though, that you have to despair of finding a mentor.
There are more informal types of mentorships that can be just as, if not more valuable to a nurse who aspires to take their career further. Choosing a mentor from your professional network might even be more practical for your situation.
When choosing a mentor, you want to select an individual who has achieved a great deal in their career. It needs to be someone who you feel comfortable coming to for advice. From a practical standpoint, they should also be someone who is willing and able to offer guidance and constructive criticism in a productive manner.
With the right person serving as your mentor, you can find yourself in a position where you can grow and develop by leaps and bounds in your professional life.
Expand Your Professional Network
Nothing can help you further your career and expand your professional horizons when it comes to a career in medicine, quite like a strong professional network. The medical community has always thrived on the concept of working professionals taking the time to share knowledge and personal experiences with one another.
It might even be said that one of the key components involved in advancing the field of medicine as a whole is the sharing of such information among professional colleagues. Such a concept is so vital to medicine that professional organizations have been formed to help facilitate the sharing of knowledge between medical professionals.
As far as nursing is concerned, there are many professional organizations to choose from when looking to expand your own professional network. While some, like the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing, are designed so that nurses of all specialties can join, others are more specific to the specialty that you practice.
For instance, nurses who work specifically in pediatrics can opt to join the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. There is even an organization designed particularly for nursing students called the National Student Nurses’ Association. Any nursing student who hopes to set themselves up for success in their future career should consider joining such an organization.
Other ways of expanding your professional network include connecting with other nurses at your place of work. Take the time to go beyond simple coworker pleasantries to get to know your peers on a professional level. You might very well be able to connect with other nurses who have similar goals as you.
The options for taking a nursing career forward are myriad – and as with many things in life, the first step consists of some research.