Careers in nursing are varied, and in some areas, very competitive. But with experience, hard work, and the right education, you could easily land the type of job you want or move up in the field. Here are a few tips to help you throughout your nursing career.
Develop a Career Plan
It can be hard to accomplish anything without a basic plan. Your nursing career is no exception. It is important to establish goals and work toward them. Your first goal may be to get your nursing license or your first nursing job. What then? The answer is to develop a new goal. There are always certifications that can be earned, new duties to tackle, and networking opportunities that can be pursued. With every passing year, you should accomplish or learn something new so that you can stay up-to-date in your current field and expand the jobs that are available to you.
Actively Seek Promotions
Hard work and dependability are important and can help to advance your career. Unfortunately, this is not always enough in the nursing field. Many nurses work hard and show up for their shifts every day. You need to find ways to stand out among your co-workers so that you can be seriously considered for available promotions. Earn extra certifications whenever you can, try to learn new skills on the job, volunteer for extra shifts to show that you are a team player, and network–both on the job and off so that you can make a name for yourself and learn about new opportunities early on. You can also speak with people in the posts you’d like to hold one day to learn how they advanced their career. You may be able to pick up a few tips, and if you are really lucky, get a mentor that can help you get the promotions you desire.
Prepare a Portfolio
Every nurse should have a professional portfolio that includes an extensive resume, a full list of credentials, a nursing skills checklist, and career references. Having these items on hand could be extremely valuable if you have an unexpected interview or an opportunity to demonstrate your experience to someone in your network. Your resume should include information about your education, clinical experience, and nursing career. If you have won any awards or special accolades, mention them here. Your list of credentials should include your nursing licensing, board exam scores (if positive and available), and nursing certificates as well as your immunization record and copies of personal identification documents, such as your driver’s license and social security card. Your nursing skills checklist should highlight clinical competencies and special areas of expertise and experience. You career references should include at least two letters of recommendation from direct supervisors, professors, or someone else who is familiar with your aptitude, character, or work experience.
Plan for an Interview
An interview can make or break your chances of getting a good nursing job. Preparing for the interview is essential. Take time to research the employer so that you understand their mission statement and can ask intelligent questions about the facility and the job. You should also make an effort to anticipate the questions that will be asked so that you can practice your answers before the interview takes place. You will be asked to talk about yourself, how you solve problems, ways in which you might respond to a negative situation, your leadership experience, and your views on teamwork. Keep your answers positive and be sure to highlight your skills, experience, and character.
Earn a Master’s Degree
A graduate-level nursing degree can increase the number of job opportunities available to you. It is much easier to move into management if you have a master’s degree. Nurses with a graduate education could provide advanced patient care, teach, conduct research, and influence public policy. Earning a master’s could also lay the groundwork for a doctoral degree. Nurses with this level of education often have their pick of jobs and frequently earn six-figure salaries. You can learn more about earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and see a list of top programs at TheBestColleges.org.
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