If you are a nurse, you’ll want to help people as much as possible. You’ll always know there is more you can do, and you’ll strive to do it. In other words, you’ll want to be the best so you can do your best. A good nurse will understand that there is always more to know, and they won’t just sit back and be content with their current knowledge base; they’ll keep pushing forward.
One way to ensure you move forward and don’t end up staying still in your career as a nurse is to look for good ways to enhance it. Making your career your priority is not something that everyone is comfortable with, but it really doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything else in your life – there are many ways to do it that will keep it important, but that will allow the ideal work-life balance (or at least a good one). With that in mind, here are some of the ways you can boost your nursing career that might surprise you because, for the most part, the knowledge and expertise are already in you.
Have The Best Intentions
If you want to boost your career as a nurse, you must always have the best intentions when it comes to everything you do. This might seem as though it would be easy. After all, you became a nurse and remain a nurse so that you can help your patients and make a real difference in people’s lives. If you don’t have that drive behind you, is nursing really the right option for you in terms of your career?
The fact is that although nurses will always go into the profession with the best of intentions, over time, these can wear away to a point where they don’t remember why they chose nursing in the first place. This is a bad place to be; not only is it bad for the patient, but it could also potentially lead to burnout, which is terrible for nurses, particularly their mental health.
This is why having the best intentions is a good way to boost your career. It shows you that you’re still interested, for one thing, which will show potential employers (or your current employer if you’re going for a promotion) that you care. It will also offer better patient interactions, and it will mean that burnout is far less likely. Having the best intentions means going into each shift in a positive frame of mind and being as cheerful and helpful as possible.
Go With Your Gut
As a nurse, it’s highly likely you already know that trusting your gut is a crucial part of the job. It might not be something you can easily put into words, and it might not be something you discuss with your colleagues – or anyone else – but you’ll probably admit that it’s true. Instinct plays a huge part in how a good nurse works.
Not only is this instinct important when it comes to treating your patients and understanding exactly what they need (and providing it quickly and efficiently), but it’s also about how you work with your colleagues. The more you can trust your gut about any given situation, the more smoothly your work will go, as the teamwork will be excellent, you’ll always know just what’s needed, as will everyone else in the team, and everyone will play their parts expertly.
Trusting your instinct means listening to your own body, too. When you are a nurse, you’ll be doing a lot of physical work, you’ll be working shifts, you’ll be working long hours, and some of the things you have to deal with can put a strain on your mental health as well. Add all this up, and you might find that you feel overwhelmed and, as previously mentioned, at risk of burnout. Trusting what your body is telling you means you can step back when necessary and allow yourself any time you need for yourself.
What has this got to do with advancing your nursing career? It’s because the more you can trust your instincts, the more confident you’ll be in your abilities. You’ll also know which areas you are lacking, enabling you to learn more and gain more experience. In the end, trusting your gut means your career can move forward quickly.
Advance Your Knowledge
Although the majority of the items in this article will talk about less tangible things, as you’ve already seen, there are some things you’ll need to do to boost your career that is a little different. They don’t rely on things you already know and your innate skills. In fact, they are all about the things you don’t know.
What we mean by this is that if you want to boost your nursing career, you’ll need to advance your knowledge. You can’t expect to get a better job in a specific department or even become a nurse manager or leader if you don’t have the knowledge that will ensure you can do your job well. This is why it can be absolutely vital to go back to school and learn more.
Ideally, you’ll obtain an additional degree (or more than one) in an area that will help you get further ahead. For example, if you already have a good number of qualifications and a lot of experience, the next step could be a doctor of nursing practice AGPCNP. For some positions, a qualification like this is vital, and you won’t be able to
move forward without one.
For other nursing jobs, you need to show your experience and knowledge, but you might not necessarily need a specific qualification. In this case, you can read blogs and journals, ask questions, and potentially even find a mentor who can help you gain the skills you need to take the next step.
No matter what direction you opt to go in, advancing your knowledge is a key component of advancing your career.
No one is perfect, and if you never own up to any mistakes and never ask any questions to gain more knowledge because you know you don’t know something, you won’t be able to get very far ahead. To begin with, mistakes, although upsetting, are an ideal learning tool. When you make a mistake, you can look at it as objectively as possible and determine what went wrong and how you would do things differently in the future. In this situation, you have immediately learned new skills and new ways of working that will reduce the likelihood of mistakes in the future.
Next, being honest about what you don’t know – to yourself and to others – means you can then set about learning that missing information. If you always tell yourself that you already know everything, not only are you far more likely to make mistakes, but you’re also never going to get any further in your nursing career; you have to keep learning, as we mentioned above.
Therefore, if you want to do well, you have to be honest with everyone, and that includes yourself. When something is lacking, put things in motion to improve. When you make a mistake, rectify things as quickly as possible or ask for help if you can’t do it alone. Whatever happens, learn from that mistake so as not to make it again and to make you a better nurse, enabling you to have the confidence to push yourself forward.
Be A Leader
Some people are happy to be followers. They prefer to be given instructions to follow, and they don’t like telling other people what to do. If that’s you, don’t worry; you can still have an excellent nursing career, it’s just that you might not want to become a leader.
If, however, you prefer to be the one in charge and you like to organize people and give them tasks, managing them to ensure those tasks are completed, then you are a leader, and that could stand you in good stead when you want to boost your nursing career.
Nursing is, of course, about patient care. However, as well as being hands-on with your patients, there are other ways nurses can help them, and this might be by applying for a management role. When you are a nurse manager, you will still be able to help your patients, but you’ll also be in a position to help other nurses, and this can be very rewarding. You can guide nurses in their careers, helping them to become better and move on, just like you did. You can teach them a huge amount and ensure they are confident in themselves, providing excellent nursing care to anyone who needs it.
It’s impossible to stress the importance of knowledge when it comes to nursing, and as you will already have seen, there are a number of ways you can obtain useful information that will drive your career forward and ensure you can take the best care of your patients.
One excellent way to do this is to ask questions. Don’t feel ashamed if you don’t know something; ask someone who does know, and you’ll then have the knowledge. If you need more clarification or you’re confused by something that is happening, ask – it’s the only way to find out what you need to know, and a nurse who is happy to ask questions is a nurse who can boost their career.