4 Steps to Advance Your Nursing Career

05/17/2018

4 Steps to Advance Your Nursing Career

By Alana Luna, contributor

Are you happy with your nursing career? If you’re yearning for a promotion, a chance to advance your nursing career or just a change, these four steps are just what you need to broaden your horizons and renew your focus.  

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Nursing Career Options and Advancement Opportunities

1. Invest in yourself through education. If you want to elevate your position as a nurse, career experts suggest investing in continuing education.

When completing the state-mandated continuing education units (CECs) that are part of licensing requirements, you can often take a combination of set coursework and “electives.” There are also opportunities for specialty certifications in everything from critical care to neonatal nursing. 

Take advantage of any incentives your current employer may offer as well – or turn to professional nursing organizations and associations to reap the benefits of membership. 

2. Network outside your circle. Christopher K. Lee, the Clinical Solutions Marketing Manager for Family Health Centers of San Diego, is a big fan of networking outside the day-to-day hospital environment.

“This may seem obvious, but after a 12-hour shift, the prospect of meeting people often isn't the most attractive,” says Lee. “Still, if you want to build your network, establish the discipline to show up.”

Lee recommends attending nursing events as well as those that aren’t nursing-specific, so you can open up avenues of communication with professionals from other disciplines.

3. Use social networking sites to keep updated on hot topics. About half of nurses surveyed say they regularly hop on social media sites to check out healthcare topics while they’re at work, and nurses in supervisory positions are far more likely than staff nurses to log in and read up. 

Go online and find efficient ways to keep in the loop. For instance, Lee runs a Facebook group called “Healthcare Insights & Networking” that offers members access to a wealth of knowledge about the healthcare industry, as well as a chance to forge new professional relationships that could lead to opportunities for advancement.

4. Talk with your nurse manager or nursing mentor. Knowing the key characteristics nurse managers look for in applicants and working to embody those traits could be the differentiator that helps you stand out when compared to other candidates.

Take on leadership roles that prove you can capably serve in a supervisory role. Consider getting broad clinical experience so you’re not limited to hours in a single specialty. Be willing to relocate to a new area, especially if you’re considering a stint as a travel nurse as one of your nursing career options

Opting for a nursing career is a choice that’s equally challenging and rewarding, and deciding to pursue the next level is even more so, but follow the four steps above and your dream occupation could become reality — in less time than you think.

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