Nursing is a rewarding career financially and emotionally. The demand in the healthcare industry is booming, so you can imagine the growth prospects ahead. In fact, statistics show that registered nursing sits at the fourth spot on the list of in-demand professions in the US workforce today. That’s an inspiring reason to consider a career in the field.
Right now, there are 2.83 million nurses in the country. But there are chances of acute shortage in the future as almost half of the professionals are over 50. These numbers spell opportunities, but you may end up struggling with immense work pressure. The more the workload, the less likely you are to focus on career development.
However, you must focus on professional growth from the outset to take your career to the next level. Everything boils down to creating realistic career goals, finding your niche, and planning a roadmap. It may seem like a lot of work to a beginner and even a seasoned professional. The right guidance and advice can help you achieve your goals.
Let us share some actionable career development strategies for new nursing professionals.
Earn an Advanced Degree
You can start your nursing career after getting a diploma or associate degree. But earning a bachelor’s degree first can give you a head start. Ongoing education is even better if you want to seek promotions or specialize in a niche.
For example, you can enroll in a doctorate FNP program to specialize in primary care to individuals, families, and entire communities. The program has a broad curriculum, covering areas such as organizational leadership, healthcare policy, research and analytical methods, and population health. It sets you up for better career prospects. The good thing is that you can pursue such FNP programs online without a career break.
Before applying for FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) programs, you must ensure that you are a registered nurse, as this is typically one of the primary requirements for such programs. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing will provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge that can greatly assist you in understanding online materials, preparing for the NCLEX exam, and ultimately becoming a registered nurse.
In many nursing schools, the HESI exam evaluates students’ readiness to pass the NCLEX exam as they approach graduation. Taking the HESI exam before applying for the NCLEX can help you gauge your preparedness and ensure you possess the necessary knowledge and skills to pass the licensure exam.
To prepare for the HESI exam, you can engage in an individual study using Career Employer‘s practice tests specifically designed for the HESI exam. You may also consider seeking the guidance of a professional or utilizing other resources to enhance your preparation efforts. Remember, thorough preparation and a strong understanding of the exam content will increase your chances of success.
Aspiring nurses can check the Baylor University website to explore a broad range of advanced courses, including a BNP doctorate. It also offers a comprehensive overview of these online courses, from admission requirements to eligibility, program features, accreditations, and placement support. One can understand the process and make an informed decision about balancing their career with ongoing education as a new professional.
Choose a Specialization
Nursing is a broad career field with fields such as family, neonatal, pediatric, and senior care. Specializing in a specific field can set you apart and help you advance your career. When a professional finds a niche, they are in a better place to refine their skills and enhance their performance. Choosing a specialization may take some effort and research, but it is worthwhile.
Being a niche specialist means you have less competition. Additionally, it qualifies you for advanced positions within the area. You can expect new opportunities for learning and income growth potential. The best part is that you can do something you are passionate about.
Upgrade Your Communication Skills
Nursing professionals need more than skills, experience, and education to advance their careers. Of course, these factors make a difference, but you cannot undermine the value of good communication skills in the field. Good communication enables you to provide better care and treatment to your patients. It also helps build a rapport and foster a personal connection with them.
The skill also enhances interactions with doctors, nursing assistants, and lab technicians, which goes a long way in improving overall patient satisfaction and experience. You can work on your communication skills with self-practice, mentorship, and on-the-job experience.
Take Ownership of Your Career
Like any other professional, you may find yourself stuck in a rut at some point. In such situations, one feels under challenges and craves change. The best way to move ahead is by taking ownership of your career. Steer clear of thinking that things will resolve by themselves because they will not.
You will have to be more proactive about career progression. Here are a few steps that can help:
- Be ready to step out of your comfort zone, whether by advancing your education or switching jobs
- Always be on the lookout for new opportunities in different roles, niches, organizations, and locations
- Do your research on nursing programs, degrees, and advanced certifications
- Ask for what you want, such as a raise, an additional responsibility, or training
- Network, find mentors, and approach people you don’t know
- Invest in self-care and stay motivated
- Prioritize a good work-life balance
A Final Word
Nursing is both rewarding and challenging as a career option, but finding the right direction gives you a head start as a newbie. You can follow these strategies to keep your career on track and get the best growth opportunities along the way. Most importantly, ensure an optimal balance between personal and professional life because job satisfaction fosters long-term growth.