Why did you become a nurse? Was it so you could help people as much as possible? Was it so you could make a difference in the world? Or was it because you are ambitious, and you want to progress in your career? Although it will be more like the former ideas for most people, for some, nursing is a way for them to reach their goals and really make the most of their working lives.
Perhaps this seems strange. After all, there isn’t much career progression in nursing, is there? The reality is there is plenty; you can start as an RN and rise up to become a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) if you choose to, plus there are plenty of levels in between that you can reach if you prefer. The choice is entirely yours, but if you are the kind of person who loves pushing themselves and wants to go as far as they can in their working lives, nursing could be an excellent, if unusual, choice.
Once you become a nurse, progression is not guaranteed, however. You won’t necessarily reach a level of experience and education and automatically be given a new job title and more money and responsibility. However, there are certain things you will need to do to ensure this happens. Read on to find out how you can truly stand out in your nursing career and ensure that you get to the goals you want to reach. Whether you’ve been a nurse for years and now want to do something more with your experience and qualifications, or you’re just starting out on your journey, and you already have ambitions to do more, these ideas are sure to help you.
Find A Mentor
Nurses have a lot to do in their day to day working lives, and they have to deal with experiences – real life and death situations – that most people would never have to have anything to do with. This can be hard, not just in terms of the amount of information you have to know if you’re going to be successful, but also in terms of your emotions and your mental health. In addition, people outside the nursing profession might find it hard to understand what you have been through or why something was hard for you, but if you have a mentor who is also a nurse, you will always have someone to turn to for advice and guidance, or just to have someone to talk to when you have had a bad day.
On top of this, having a mentor on hand to help you will also give you a chance to consider your own career choices. Trying to work out the right thing to do all by yourself is all but impossible; you need someone to bounce ideas off of and ask questions. At the very least, it’s a good idea to have someone there who will listen to your plans, if nothing else. This is what a mentor will do, among other things. So rather than give up on your dreams because you don’t think you can achieve them or going ahead but moving in a direction that ultimately wouldn’t suit you, if you speak to your mentor first, you’ll get a much clearer idea of what you can do next and further into the future too.
You can find mentors in a variety of different places. Some you might meet in your job as a nurse at a hospital, clinic, or another healthcare setting. Others you might meet during your studies, or perhaps you already knew them before you decided to become a nurse. Still more can be found online.
If you want to stand out in your nursing career, having a mentor is essential. You can avoid many mistakes, move forward quickly, and always be confident in what you’re doing since you know you have someone you can talk to.
Consider A Specialization
Another good way to truly stand out in your nursing career is to have a specialization. When you start off, you will be an RN – a general nurse. These nurses are, of course, highly regarded and essential to the smooth running of a healthcare facility, but if you want to make a name for yourself, becoming a specialist might be a good way to do it and ensure you are working in an area that genuinely fascinates you.
The wonderful thing about nursing is that there are dozens of different specialties you can move into. Some will be more popular than others, so if you can choose one that not so many nurses usually study for, you will certainly stand out, and you will be in high demand. However, don’t pick a specialty just because you’ll be noticed for doing so; you need to be interested in the work you’re doing if you are going to be good at your job, which is just as important as being there in the first place.
When you are considering a specialty, you should think about:
- The age of the people you want to treat
- The kinds of diseases and conditions that interest you
- How fast-paced you want the department to be (the ER is much busier than senior care, for example)
- Whether you are interested in face-to-face care or prefer research
- Who you want to work with
Taking all of these ideas into account means you can decide on the right specialism for you. If you have a mentor, this is the ideal chance to speak to them and receive feedback on your ideas.
Get More Qualified
Experience is crucial when it comes to being noticed as a nurse and standing out in what might be a large crowd. However, experience is only part of the story, and if you want to progress and be noticed by the right people, you will also need to gain more qualifications. Education is the other part of the puzzle, and unless you have both qualifications and experience, some doors will always remain close to you, meaning you can’t reach the goals you want to achieve, and you won’t be able to stand out in your nursing career.
If you have already gained your RN qualification and you know how much hard work went into doing so, you might think it’s impossible to do any more. After all, you’re working now, and trying to fit that work around going to college and studying is not going to be easy, to say the least. But, luckily, 21st-century learning is different from anything that has gone before it, and, if you want to, you can now study and work simultaneously without neglecting either.
Think about the online family nurse practitioner program you can apply for. The important thing to think about here is that it’s online, meaning that you don’t have to attend a physical college. This will save you a lot of time, and you won’t have to sacrifice any of your working days to learn more about how to stand out as a nurse. You can work, and then, because online learning is something you can do at your own pace, you can study when you have the time to. You’ll still learn the same amount of information even if it takes a little longer, but you’ll also be gaining experience because you’ll still be working. Therefore, it’s the best option for anyone who is serious about standing out and being the best nurse, they can be.
Follow Nursing Blogs
This is possibly not something you have really thought about before, but there are thousands of different nursing blogs available online, each one offering insights into nursing education, practice, innovations, and even the emotional side of the job. So, if you want to know anything at all about what it’s like to be a nurse, how to advance your career, or what kind of positions might be open to you, then a quick search online will reveal plenty of information. Of course, much of this will be personal opinion, so it’s wise to take each story on its own merits and decide what you think about it yourself, but even so, there can be some extremely useful insights into what nursing is really like.
Reading nursing blogs is ideal before you start your nursing career and before you even apply for a nursing qualification – reading a variety of them will help you decide whether being a nurse is the right option for you. However, don’t stop reading these useful blogs just because you have qualified and have a career path mapped out ahead of you; continue reading, even if you don’t have as much time to devote to the practice as you once did, because part of being a great nurse, and therefore one that stands out, is being completely up to date with any innovations and changes within the industry.
In other words, by reading these blogs and learning as much as you can about any new ideas and fresh working practices, or even any potential changes that might come about, you can be prepared, informed, and ahead of everyone else, making you much more likely to be noticed.