Ask for More Work
Taking on more responsibility shows that you are taking an active interest in the hospital and outgrowing your current position. It also makes your boss look good and eases the workload off somebody else. Making others happy brings you one step closer to making yourself happy! One thing to note: When you ask for more work, you’d better be able to handle it. There’s nothing worse than not completing your charts on time or backing out because you didn’t realize how difficult a patient would be.
Network, Network, Network
Unfortunately, the reality of life is that it’s not what you know, but who you know. That means you should make networking a priority. It should be a natural habit, part of your daily routine. Make small talk with different nurses and check in with past colleagues and other professional connections via email once in awhile. Attend hospitalÂ happy hours and special events to get to know the higher ups in a less formal environment. Conferences are a great place to network outside of yourÂ healthcare organizationÂ and connect with experts in your field. Networking doesn’t have to be in person — get a LinkedIn profile and keep track of all your professional contacts. You’d be surprised at how many new connections you can make! Just be careful about coming off as a brown-noser. Nobody likes a suck up.
Find a few reputable healthcare trade magazines that professionals in your line of business read. Once you’ve got a feel for their editorial tone and content, try pitching out a few article ideas. Getting published in a trade magazine sets you apart from the crowd and makes you into a reliable nursing expert in your field. Who knows, maybe your boss will start taking advice from you!
Start a Blog
If print publication isn’t your thing, go online! Pick a blogging platform like Blogspot or WordPress (we use WordPress here at Scrubs magazine!) and have at it. Find a theme or niche subject that you have some experience in and begin writing about it. If you do it right and do it well, you’ll find your audience growing. But be careful — beware of badmouthing fellow nurses, patients, or your hospital. A professional blog shouldn’t turn into your personal rant.
The bottom line? You have to take control of your nursing career. No amount of networking, LinkedIn connections, or mentors is going to get you anywhere if you take the back seat. By showing initiative, taking responsibility, and being innovative, you are guaranteed to be noticed by the Powers That Be. Take the first step. Don’t be afraid! If you wait to get acknowledged, hope you’ll be praised, and wonder if you’re up to the task then you’re wasting your time. A little confidence goes a long way. Now, go forth and kick butt! You’re ready to see beyond the end of your shift to the life of your nursing career.