Working as a nurse is a challenging career, but one that also offers many rewards. Not only do you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re making a difference in people’s lives, but there are many career paths to choose from within the healthcare sector for a nurse. If you’re currently working as an RN and are wondering about how you can get ahead in your career, below are some useful tips that can help to get you started.
Ask for More Responsibility
When you have your next appraisal with your manager, listen to their feedback to understand how you can improve your performance. You should also take this as an opportunity to ask for more responsibility in your role, whether it’s taking on more administration tasks, becoming a supervisor, or anything else that your team might need extra help with. This will show that you’re serious about moving up in your career and help to develop your skillset.
As well as asking for more responsibility, find out what additional training options are available to you in your role. There might be short courses you can take to up your skillset or to focus on a certain area in nursing that will be beneficial to your role.
While short-term training courses will help you in your career, more intensive learning to obtain a master’s degree or a doctorate of nursing if you already have a masters is a great idea. Many of these courses can be flexible around your current job, some of which are based online so you can complete a lot of your work at home. Speak to your manager at work to discuss how you can fit your studies around your shifts to help you manage your time better. If there is a particular area of nursing you’re interested in pursuing, such as elderly care, find a course that focuses on this.
Knowing the right people is beneficial in any career, and nursing is no different. Making contacts within the healthcare environment, you work in and beyond will help open more doors for your career. Your connections might be able to recommend you for a job vacancy or let you know when one is going to become available in advance, so you have more time to prepare your application. They could also help to give you feedback on your application to give you the best chance of standing out from other candidates. You can attend networking events and healthcare conferences as a way to network, or simply socializing with your colleagues outside of work is another way to allow them to get to know you better.
As an RN you will already know a lot about the healthcare industry and what options are available to you, but with so many career paths to choose from, some additional research will always work in your favor. Before you make any decisions about what direction you want your nursing career to go in, take the time to ask other professionals in your area of interest about the role, and what an average day might look like. Doing some additional research will also help you identify any transferable skills you might have for the job, as well as learning what other qualifications and training you will need to take to make the transition into your chosen role.
As mentioned above, speaking to a healthcare professional who is already working in a role you’re interested in is a good way to find out more about the job. However, if they are willing to let you shadow them for a few days while they work, this might give you a better understanding of the job. You will see first-hand what they do each day, and you’ll be able to ask any questions then and there to clarify your understanding of the role. Just make sure you have cleared this with your manager so they’re aware you will be shadowing someone else for a few days and can arrange cover for you, or alter your shifts to work around this.
Finally, mentorships are great for anyone who is looking to develop their skills and who would like some more support in their role. This is something you may have done when your first become an RN, but if you haven’t had this opportunity ask a trusted colleague if they’re willing to be your mentor, or find out if there are any mentoring programs set up at your place of work.
If you want to get ahead in your nursing career, use the tips above to help you make your dreams a reality.