One of the best things about being a nurse is how diverse the field is. If you feel stuck in your position or like you’re ready for a change, then you can always try something new. Nothing is stopping you from seeking a better specialization or looking at administrative roles. All you have to do is know what’s needed to get to the positions you want and the challenges you’ll have to face along the way. Here are some tips for nurses who want to advance their nursing careers.
Map Things Out
Before you make the next jump in your nursing career, you have to start by mapping everything out, so you’ll be more focused. Some questions will need to be answered first. Ask yourself things like what you want from your next position, what type of setting you’d like to work in, what type of hours and salary you’d like, etc. You need to know how much responsibility you are willing to take and how much freedom you want as well.
Once you have figured out what you want from your career, you will start getting an idea of what type of position would be better for you.
Consider Becoming a Nurse Practitioner
If you still want to be close to patients but have a more important role and the opportunity to run your own practice, then you should consider becoming a nurse practitioner. NPs don’t only enjoy more autonomy, but much better salaries as well. It’s not uncommon for NPs to earn more than six figures.
The biggest difference between a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner is that a nurse practitioner is allowed to diagnose patients, order tests, and prescribe treatments, among other things. You’ll practically do everything a physician can minus a few things and will be able to run a practice without having a physician present in almost half the states in the country.
You could become a general nurse practitioner, or specialize and become a family nurse practitioner, for instance. You’ll get the chance to follow patients from the time they’re young up until adulthood and focus more on preemptive care than acute care.
If this is something that would interest you, we suggest that you look at online MSN-FNP degrees. These will allow you to get your credentials much faster and often won’t require you to relocate. They may help you juggle work and school much more easily as well.
Look at Administrative Roles
It would also be a good idea if you looked at administrative and nurse leader roles. This is a good option for nurses who always felt like they were ready to lead or have an impact on what’s going on being the scenes.
Becoming a nurse administrator could be a good option if you’re tired of running the floor and you have great management, organization, and analytical skills. You will need math skills, be good with technology, and have great attention to detail.
If you want to become a nurse leader, you need to have great communication skills and be good with people. You also need to multitask very well and be willing to pick up the slack when other people are missing or underperforming. You must be assertive enough to hold people accountable and be able to accept responsibility when needed. Very few people have this set of qualities, so make sure that you are fit for the job before you start taking steps towards getting your credentials.
Look at Non-Bedside Roles
You could also look at non-bedside roles. You could work as a rescue nurse, for instance, or work as a school nurse. Or maybe you’d like to work in academia? This isn’t an option all nurses consider, but this could be the perfect transition for you if you have years of experience and feel like you’ve given the floor your all.
Faculties around the country are also desperate for new talent, and you’d be doing the profession a huge service by becoming a nurse educator.
If you have a bachelor’s, you’ll need to get either a master’s in nursing or a doctorate. You also need to have three years of clinical experience at the very least. Note that you don’t have to become certified as an academic nurse educator or as an academic clinical nurse educator, but it’s usually a good choice since many employers will require it.
Get a Mentor or a Career Coach
You should also speak with one or a few nurses you know about what you want to do and ask if they give you some advice. Now would also be a great time to look for a nurse mentor.
A mentor will be able to look at your situation, your skillset and qualifications, and preferences, and see what position would be the best for you. You could also look at a nurse career coach, though they are less common. But, if you can find one, a nurse career coach will be able to tell you exactly what you’ll need to do to get to the position you want and will teach you skills that will make you more employable.
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Look for Advancement Opportunities where You are
You should also look at advancement opportunities in your current place of work. Maybe there’s an opening in another department, or you could volunteer to fill leadership positions?
You may not be able to fill these positions full-time, but you could put people around you on notice. If there’s an opening and you’ve prepared yourself to be qualifiable, then you may be the first person they think of.
These are all tips you can follow if you want to take your nursing career to the next level. There are so many different choices available to you, so keep an open mind and get as much advice as you can before you make the jump.