How to Succeed in a Nursing Career

How to Succeed in a Nursing Career
Photo: Shutterstock

Nursing is a very well-respected career because not only are you playing a vital role in caring for members of society, but you will be taking on so many different challenges each day. Not everybody can handle the pressures of being a nurse, and it takes somebody who has a lot of passion for what they do, resilient and empathetic. While nursing can be tough, numerous benefits go beyond feeling proud about what you do, including job stability, good salaries, and the opportunity to progress. You will also get the opportunity to work in a range of environments, so finding the right workplace shouldn’t be too difficult.

If you have decided that you want to pursue a career in nursing, below are a few tips on what you will need to get started and how you can succeed in your career.


How to Succeed in a Nursing Career
Photo: Shutterstock

If you want to be a nurse, you must have a college nursing degree to get your foot in the door. These degree programs will teach you all of the medical and clinical knowledge that you’ll need to apply in your daily duties as a nurse, as well as offering your work placements for hands-on experience. You can attend nursing school in the traditional way if you want to, but for those who need a more flexible approach to their studies, you can always enroll in a course online instead. If you already have a nursing degree but would like to further your studies so you can progress in your career, there are online graduate nursing programs you can take to fit it around your work.

Once you have completed your nursing degree, you’ll then have to take your RN (Registered Nurse) license examinations so that you can legally work as a nurse. Without this, you’ll only be able to work as a nursing assistant at best, so it’s better to get this done as soon as possible once you graduate so you can start your career properly.

Consider Different Career Paths in Nursing

If you want to make the most out of your career as a nurse, you should start thinking about what career paths are available to you within this field. A lot of RNs move on to specialize in certain areas, such as pediatric care, nutrition management, working in mental health, lecturing, working with the elderly, occupational health, management, and much, much more. Although you don’t have to decide where you’d like your nursing career to go right now, it never hurts to look into your options and start thinking about what you might like to do in the future.

Further Training

If you want to progress in your career as a nurse, asking for further training at work will make you stand out and help you with this. Whether you have decided on a particular career path, you’d like to follow, or you just want to take on a bit more responsibility within the role you’re already in, putting in the extra effort to learn more about the job is key. Ask your manager if there is any in-house training you can get involved in or if they can recommend external courses for you to take to achieve your goals. If you do want to pursue a particular role, you may have to return to college to get another degree, depending on what it is.

Personal Skills

How to Succeed in a Nursing Career
Photo: Shutterstock

While getting the right education and training is imperative to getting into nursing and furthering your career, there are other qualities you will need to have and develop if you want to succeed as a nurse. This is where your interpersonal skills will come into play, such as being well-organized, having good time management, being able to keep a clear record of your patient information and other administrative work. You must also be an individual who can communicate effectively with others and have an excellent bedside manner. It won’t always be easy, there will be very difficult circumstances you will have to face as a nurse, but this is why it’s important to be able to be sympathetic and patient with people you are treating and their loved ones.

Be a Team Player

As mentioned above, being a nurse can be tough, which is why it’s important for all the nursing staff and other healthcare professionals you work with come together as a team. You need to be able to support each other, not just with your workloads but keeping up morale to make even the hardest days a little bit more bearable. If you want to succeed in your nursing career, you must be an active team player at the very least because people will notice if you’re not pulling your weight or making life harder for other staff members.


If you want to get ahead in your career, whatever industry you work in, networking will play a big part in this. Getting along with your team members and managerial staff is one thing, but see if there are any other networking events you can take part in for nurses. Making these connections could help you learn about different courses you can take to help your career, job opportunities in different establishments, and even the chance to make some new friends as well. You never know what opportunities can come out of networking, so even though sometimes it feels like an effort to do this, it will be worth your while.

Practice Self-care

Finally, doing all the above will help you advance your nursing career, but this will only set you back in the long term if you’re feeling burned out. Nurses must practice good self-care to manage the intensity of their jobs and look after their mental and physical health. If you need a break, ask to book some vacation time off so you can reset. Make sure you’re eating well, try to get into a good sleeping pattern, and spend time with loved ones to blow of steam when you can.

Being a nurse can be an incredible career choice with plenty of opportunities. If you want to succeed in your nursing career, consider the points above and see how they can help you achieve your goals.

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