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7 Career Progression Tips for a Nurse

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Nursing cannot only provide a rewarding working life and exceptional job security, but there is much room for advancement throughout your career. If you are a registered nurse or training to become one, you might be unsure about the right path for you.

While you might be more than happy to gain knowledge and experience at present, you may want to take your career to the next level in a few years. If you are looking for ways to flourish in the role, read the following seven career progression tips for a nurse.

1. Improve Your Education

Building on your education throughout the years will help you to advance in your career. Every degree you earn and certificate you receive will provide more opportunities, which can provide greater job flexibility, specialized fields, more independence, and a larger annual salary.

For example, you could become a nurse practitioner by gaining a Master of Science in Nursing degree, and you will then need to take a national FNP licensure exam. FNP certification is ideal for those who want to advance in their career, have a bigger impact on the patient experience, and enjoy a more rewarding working life.

2. Find the Right Mentor

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It can take time to find the right mentor. Look for an experienced professional who not only makes you feel comfortable but who you view as a role model. You could kickstart the relationship by asking them for career advice, guidance, or recommendations.

Once you have built up a rapport, ask if he or she would be willing to mentor you. They might feel flattered by the request and could be more than happy to provide advice and coaching to help you reach your professional goals.

3. Work on Your Soft Skills

Every nurse will have strengths and weaknesses. While you might have many certificates, you might not possess good time management, communication, or listening skills, which are essential in the role.

Unfortunately, poor soft skills could hinder your career or prevent you from reaching your professional goals at a fast rate. You must take the time to work on your soft skills, such as:

Look for ways to improve your soft skills. For instance, rather than notifying a senior healthcare professional of a potential problem, aim to find a solution before bringing an issue to their attention, if possible. It will help you to establish yourself as a proactive, hard-working employee who aims to solve problems immediately, which are essential traits in healthcare.

4. Watch the Experts in Action

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Become the best nurse you can be by learning from the experts. For example, observe how senior healthcare professionals handle difficult patients, come to an agreement with colleagues, interact with physicians and patients, etc. You will likely learn how to improve your communication skills, or you could identify the character traits you would like to avoid throughout your career.

5. Master Self-Promotion

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn when an opportunity arises, as it could help you to get noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager. Identify your strengths and transferable skills, which will allow you to articulate your experience and best-selling points with ease. It could help you to impress a hiring manager during an interview and convince them that you are the right nurse for a vacancy.

6. Build a Strong Network

Networking isn’t just for entrepreneurs and office workers. Jumpstart your career by aiming to build many strong relationships in your field. It could help you to identify different paths and job vacancies, and you could learn from others’ knowledge and experience.

Make it your mission to connect with professionals across the industry online and in-person. For example, you could reach out to other nurses and healthcare practitioners via LinkedIn, mix with professionals at industry events, or join a professional association.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Break

Nursing might be your calling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t switch off from the job occasionally. Despite being eager to help as many patients as possible and advance in your career, you must not be afraid to take a break. If you don’t, you could burn out, struggle with a mental health issue, or lose all passion for the healthcare sector. Setting time aside to de-stress and recharge your batteries will make you a better nurse, and it could help you to advance in your career at a quicker rate.

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