It is a remarkable journey to become a nurse. The process of entering nursing school, securing an internship, and sitting for professional tests might take a large chunk of your time before you reach the home stretch. However, that is not the final step.
The field of nursing is constantly evolving. You might already have a sufficient income and stable employment as a nurse. But once you have worked in your field for a while, you should be ready to advance your career and strive to make an even more significant impact. Here are some simple yet effective tips to improve your nursing career prospects:
1. Upgrade Your Education
Nurses must stay current on the most recent medical advancements and continuously expand their knowledge and skill set to remain competitive. You can accomplish this objective by upgrading your education.
You will find that pursuing higher education opens doors to lucrative administrative positions in government, academia, and the private sector. Gaining these positions leads to financial benefits and gives you more leeway in how you conduct yourself at work.
In the past, it was difficult for nurses to continue their education after starting a career. However, times have changed since the emergence of online classes. From online RN to BSN programs, many reputable universities now provide almost all levels of online nursing education.
The freedom to study at your own pace is arguably the most significant benefit of online learning. Most coursework can be done online, with a few exceptions that might emphasize your physical presence in the classroom. This facilitates better time management as you juggle work, family, and other commitments throughout the day.
2. Expand Your Nursing Network
Undoubtedly, nurses have a slew of reasons to be grateful. But, at the same time, they also undergo many dark physical and mental challenges along the way. If you have had a rough day at work, venting to your buddies about it might help you to get some sympathy. But only those who are associated with nursing can truly understand what it is like to be in your shoes.
That is why fostering a network of nursing professionals is a must. When you have a support system of nurses around you, it is much easier to push through challenging times. In addition to providing an emotional cushion, developing a strong network is essential for your professional advancement.
Expand your sphere of influence by becoming a part of a professional organization. You might also find long-lasting connections at local nursing events like award ceremonies, class reunions, and fairs. Before you follow up with new acquaintances, do not let too much time pass. An easy approach to make someone’s day is to send them a quick text message expressing your appreciation for the time you spent together.
3. Show Empathy
Nurses often provide much-needed comfort to help their patients through unpleasant medical procedures. Whether a patient is coping with a life-threatening infection like the coronavirus or just undergoing a routine diagnostic, practicing empathy can improve outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Empathy is all about perceiving, comprehending, and sharing the views of patients. It requires nurses to connect with their patients at deeper levels, develop meaningful relationships with them, and use their insights to enhance the quality of patient care.
Various studies demonstrate that compassionate treatment patients are less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and hostility. In fact, even patients with diseases as severe as diabetes and cancer benefit from nursing care that strongly emphasizes empathy.
4. Hone Communication Skills
Communication is a crucial aspect of the nursing profession. Solid communication skills mean you will not have difficulty understanding and meeting your patient’s needs. Factor in the emergencies and communication becomes even more critical for nurses. Active listening is one of the most effective techniques to guarantee effective communication.
Avoid making direct eye contact if the patient is from a culture where doing so is considered disrespectful or rude. It entails narrowing down your attention on the patients while they are speaking and removing any potential distractions that may be present in the immediate environment. Ask questions to ensure you fully grasp their perspective.
Patience is another key factor that paves the way for ideal nurse-patient communication. Poor communication skills and medical conditions can often make it difficult for patients to convey their thoughts properly. The interactions with patients may not always be as engaging. Thus, you should maintain composure and allow patients to take their time while expressing themselves.
5. Find A Mentor
Having a trusted confidant who you can look up to for support and encouragement goes a long way. Enter nurse mentor! Apart from the much-needed guidance and motivation to go about everyday duties, a nurse mentor could serve as a credible professional reference for lucrative future employment. You can find a mentor through various channels, such as online nursing forums and company-sponsored mentorship schemes.
When hunting for a mentor, be sure to put convenience at the top of your list. As with any profession, nursing is not without its obligations, especially for those with years of experience in the field. Therefore, you must determine whether or not a potential nurse mentor has enough time to respond to your queries or schedule a get-together every once in a while.
6. Leverage Volunteering Opportunities
As a nurse, volunteering allows you to fill knowledge and experience gaps while refining your existing skills. You will almost always not have to pay anything to get trained, and the time commitment can be as modest as an hour every two weeks.
You may, for instance, have a strong interest in palliative care but lack relevant professional experience. Volunteering at a local hospice or charity is a good way to bridge this gap. It is also a terrific strategy to determine whether you feel comfortable in a specific setting.
Nursing professionals often exhibit the trait of “going the extra mile” for their patients. To advance your career, however, you must also undertake other deliberate measures such as those outlined above. The sooner you take these steps, the faster your growth trajectory will be!