7 Key Factors to Consider Before Committing to Nursing Career Advancement
Nursing could easily be considered to be one of the most rewarding career paths worldwide. Whether you’re just getting started with your nursing training and already know that career advancement is a must for you in the future, or you are already working as a registered nurse and want to get more from your career, one of the best parts of nursing is that there’s a lot on offer for ambitious people. When it comes to career progression, there are tons of options to choose from when it comes to where you want your work to take you, and often you are able to train as you work. Before you enroll in an advanced nursing degree program or training course, here are some important factors to consider.
What Do You Enjoy the Most About Your Job?
If you’re trying to decide what you want to do in terms of career advancement, one of the main things to look at is what you enjoy most about your job. There really is an option for everybody in nursing, and when it comes to career advancement, you will be able to choose from various opportunities that allow you to focus more on the aspects of your job that you are the most passionate about. For example, if you prefer managing and leading over providing direct care, you could consider becoming a nurse manager or a nurse executive. On the other hand, if providing care to patients is what you love and want to continue doing, you may want to consider a career as a nurse practitioner, where you will have more autonomy over your work and lots of the responsibilities that are usually reserved for primary care physicians. Click here to learn more about the benefits of working as a nurse practitioner.
What to Study:
There are various pathways to consider when it comes to studying to advance your nursing career. Depending on your ultimate goal, you may be able to choose from professional certifications and on-the-job training, or even more advanced options such as a masters in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. If you are set on working as a nurse practitioner in the future, you can take specially designed family nurse practitioner (FNP) degree programs to prepare you for this role.
How to Study:
Once you’ve decided which qualifications or training you will need to get to where you want to be in your career, it’s worth considering the options available for how you study. Today, many nurses are not prepared to put their nursing career on hold while obtaining a degree, but the good news is that thanks to online learning programs, there is often little need for this to be an option. You can also choose between studying either full- or part-time, depending on your current circumstances, the amount of time you have available to dedicate to studying outside of work, and how quickly you want to get qualified and start working up the career ladder.
Where to Study:
Much of the time, educational institutions partner with hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations to ensure that their students are provided with the best learning experience. You may be undergoing work placements at these partnered organizations. Consider this when choosing where you want to get your advanced nursing degree – healthcare organizations that work with students will often give their students first priority when hiring, which might be helpful if you aim to work at a certain organization in the future. Before choosing a nursing school, it’s a good idea to do plenty of research and make sure that it has a good reputation among students, staff, and the healthcare industry as a whole.
Working While Learning:
Studying for an advanced nursing degree or training program while working full-time as a nurse is not always an easy ride. This is especially true if you are studying alongside working long and tiring shifts as a nurse, so it’s always worth speaking with your employer about your plans to see if there is anything that they can do to help and support you as you further your career. Advancing your nursing career through further study while working means taking time management seriously and coming up with a timetable that works well for you. Consider an online degree program that allows you to take control by providing learning materials that you can access at times that suit you best, to ensure that you take full advantage of the flexibility on offer.
Set Small Goals:
Often the journey to getting where you want to be in your nursing career is certainly not quick or easy, so it can help to break things down into smaller and more manageable goals. Taking things one step at a time is the best way to approach your career advancement. Think about all the smaller milestones and goals that you are going to have to meet along the way to achieving your ultimate career goals, and celebrate yourself each time you achieve them.
Finally, it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of if you are struggling with the workload of juggling being a nurse with full-time study. During this point in your life, you are going to need a lot of support from the people around you who care. Speak to your employer first and foremost; many healthcare employers are very supportive of nurses who are looking to advance their careers since this can be beneficial for both parties. Your employer may be able to offer you more suitable working hours while you are studying or allow you to carry out some of your learning activities while at work. You may also be able to get opportunities working in different settings and departments to improve your experience and help with achieving your career goals. But along with employer support, it is also important to surround yourself with people who care and are there to lift you up. Speak with your family, partner, and friends about your plans and let them be there for you when you need somebody.
Nurses have a wide range of career advancement opportunities available to them. But before you get started and take advantage of what’s available to you as a nurse, it’s important to keep these factors in mind and have a solid plan in place.