Whether you have been a nurse for 1 year or for 5 years, you will want a change at some point in the future. Taking your nursing career to the next level is achievable if you set about it the right way. Trying to take on too much in one go is not going to be beneficial to your efforts. However, carefully laying out what you want to achieve and by when will help you succeed in advancing your career.
Having a Plan of Action – Mapping Out What You Want
To begin with it is important to have a plan of action. To achieve the career that you want,you need to have your career mapped out, and laid out in front of you. If you do not map out what you want, then how can you be sure that you will achieve it? When you layout plans for the future (both short term plans and long term plans) you can be certain that you stay on the right track at all times. Even though plans and maps for your future are not set in stone. Plans for the future are there to act as a guide and you will find this guide very useful, especially at times when you feel confused or lost in your career.
Establishing an Area You Want to Focus On
The area that you focus on within nursing is important. The specialism that you choose can help to establish and even define your career. So, what area are you in at the moment? Are you enjoying it – is it fulfilling? Most importantly what area or specialism would you like to be in? When you are working within an area that you are passionate and enthusiastic about you will find that taking your career to the next level just becomes a whole lot easier. If you are happy within the area you are working in right now, then that’s great. However, if you are not focused on one area or if you are looking for a change, then try and establish which area is right for you. To do this, you can weigh up the pros and cons associated with each and see how the area or specialism fits with you, your needs and your wants.
Laying Out Goals and Ambitions
After establishing a plan of action and an area of specialism, you then have to start laying out goals, and ambitions. Short term (and long term) goals and ambitions will help you to achieve your career goals and they will help you to achieve the success that you deserve. When you are setting goals and ambitions it is important that they are realistic. Trying to limit the amount that you set is going to be beneficial too. All goals that you set out have to be achievable and they have to be realistic. If you are trying to reach for too much at once or if you are pushing too hard, you will end up feeling overwhelmed. When you are feeling overwhelmed, you will struggle to think clearly and this will then impact how far you go, and how successful your nursing career ends up being.
Seeing Where There is Room For Improvement
As you progress within your career and look at taking things to the next level, it is important that you see where there is room for improvement. When you start focusing on areas for improvement you can be sure that you are molding yourself into a nursing professional that can handle anything. So, where do your weaknesses lie? It can be hard to accept that you have flaws and areas for improvement. However, once you accept that you are not perfect, you can then begin to move forwards. So, look at what you are doing on a daily basis and see where you can handle (or deal with) situations better or differently. If you are struggling to establish where you have room to grow, then maybe try asking your colleagues for their opinion. Sometimes, it is easier for people to spot and point out flaws and areas for development. Once you have started to focus on self-growth and self-development, you then have to focus on continuing your education.
Continuing Your Education
As a nursing professional your experience and your education are two of the most important areas to focus on. Continuing your education is crucial at any level of your nursing career, and it should be something that you continue to focus on moving forwards. For example, if you want to take your career further and become a Family Nurse Practitioner, you will need to look at focusing on postgraduate programs, and getting your NP certificate because this will enable you to achieve the growth and development you deserve. Embracing your education and seeing it as a constant feature in your professional life is crucial. At various stages of your nursing career, you will have to focus on your education and you will have to focus on certification because the industry is always changing and evolving.
Finding a New Role That is Challenging
As you look at taking your career to the next level, you must be prepared to be on the lookout for new roles. Finding new roles that are challenging is an essential part of career growth and development. Being prepared to take risks is important. If you do not challenge yourself or take on new risks, then how will you know where your full potential lies. When you are challenging yourself and taking on risks it is important that you calculate what you are up against. This way you can see if the reward on offer is worth the risk.
Maintaining Standards of Care
When you are pushing your career to the next level, and growing as a professional, it is important that you maintain high standards of care. Caring for patients and ensuring that they are receiving the best level of care possible is still your duty and your responsibility. When you are moving on with your career you may find that you have the opportunity to improve the standards of care. If this happens, you will have vital and useful first-hand experience which you can then share with others.
Embracing Support From Others
You must remember that on your career path or journey you are not alone and you should never feel like you are. Support is on hand in many guises and it is always there when you need it. Reaching out to colleagues, superiors, and even professional organizations ensures that whatever you are going through you have support (you are never doing it alone). Embracing support from others gives you the strength to push forwards and to try again. You may find it beneficial to join several nursing professional organizations because they can all offer something different.
Seeking Guidance – Using a Mentor
As you move up the career ladder, the more insight and knowledge that you can get, then the better your chances of success are. To help you along the way, you may find it beneficial to find a mentor. A mentor can help you navigate tricky waters that lie ahead or they could give you guidance and advice (about how to handle a particular scenario or situation). Mentors have a wealth of experience, and using their experience and knowledge is crucial – especially if you want to take your career to the next level, perhaps even into leadership. When you are looking at mentors it is important to make sure you have a good relationship with them. Taking your time to choose a mentor is valuable, and it is certainly not time wasted. You will become close to your mentor, and you must ensure you are always working together, towards the same end goal.
Focusing on Networking
You will find it beneficial to expand the network of people that you know, liaise with and even work with. To do this you have to focus on networking. When you network with other professionals in the nursing and healthcare industry, you focus on building lasting and useful connections. Meeting new people, gathering information, and even being able to spot new opportunities are just a few of the advantages of how networking can work for you, and for your career too. To make the most out of networking, you have to establish why you are networking. Just to make new connections is not good enough, you have to ascertain exactly what you want from those new connections. Having goals in place for each networking event that you attend will help you to ensure that all networking you undertake is as successful as possible. Networking and always being on the lookout for new opportunities is something that you should be focusing on at all points in your career. Seeing networking as an extension to your working life and role is essential. Seeing networking as an opportunity to socialize is not the right approach to take.