Career tips: How to advance a nursing career

Are you happy being a nurse? How long have you been a nurse for and are you still enjoying what the job offers? Are you still getting the job satisfaction that you signed up for, or has it waned off? Do you now feel that you simply exist within your role as opposed to making a change and a difference? It is easy to get stuck in a rut when nursing, as busy shifts and putting others first all the time can leave you feeling lost and without direction. Before you lose satisfaction and enjoyment out of your nursing job and career, it is important to rekindle the flame that you once had for the job and look at where you are now and most importantly, look at where you are going in the future.

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Analysing where you are currently at within your career

So, are you today where you thought you would be five years ago? Looking at where you are at now within your career is a positive step to make as it means that you are both embracing and welcoming change. When you look at where you are within your career, you must ask yourself – Is there something missing? If you feel there is something a miss, then it is time to evaluate your career, give yourself a push, and look forwards to the future. Nursing is physically and mentally demanding and always draining, and often it can be difficult to make yourself a priority, especially when looking after others, but now is your time to push onwards within your career, and now is the time to start putting yourself first.

Why you should aim higher in your nursing career

You have the potential to be even more fantastic than you are now, and you have the potential to lead and inspire others within nursing, so what is holding you back? Most of the time, it is you, the individual, who is the only one holding your career back, so stop doing this and welcome change with open arms. Your experience, knowledge, and awareness has allowed you to see where changes need to be made and how they need to be made, and therefore you need to aim higher in your nursing career. You need to aim for leadership as you need to be able to make changes and make an impact for those with who you have worked with and alongside.

Why you need to study

Now that you know you want to make a change within the sector, you need to focus on your education and returning to studying. A dnp executive leadership program will set you up for a role within leadership which is what you need and want if you are to make any serious changes to the healthcare sector. Studying once more and enhancing your knowledge and awareness will allow you to refocus your mindset. As a nurse or practitioner, you will think differently to a person already in a leadership role, and this is not negative. Your mindset and way of thinking have been moulded and shaped based on real-life firsthand experiences, and now to harness your way of thinking, you also must think with a business mindset or with a leader’s head. When you shift your thinking and you refocus your mindset, you ensure that you become a leader who is both focused and highly relatable, and that is what others are always looking out for.

Embracing studying

Enhancing your education and returning to studying might feel like a step back, but it is not. Studying for a leadership role or position will open your eyes to new ways of thinking, which will benefit any role you take on. To enjoy studying and to retain as much information as possible, you must be comfortable. You cannot be comfortable if you are racing across town to get to campus for the next class or lecture. To reduce your stress levels and to enhance your comfort levels, you can study at home and online. When you study online, you get to enjoy the process, and you get to go at your own pace. You are not focused on what others are doing, and you are not in competition with anyone other than yourself. When you embrace your studies and decide to study exclusively online (in a space that is clear and free from distractions) you ensure that you get out of your studies what you need to. You ensure that you retain information, and you make sure that you make it relatable and useable to your life and any leadership role you undertake.

What are your aims and ambitions

After establishing that the next step within your career is to be a leader, you next must decide exactly what you want to change and improve and why. What are your personal and professional aims and ambitions? Do you want to improve nursing care? Do you want to focus on quality within the sector? Your personal experience, awareness, and knowledge will allow you to create ambitions and aims that are realistic and achievable.

How can you reach and fulfil your potential as a leader

It is important that you focus on self-improvement just as much as sector improvement. It is hard to change other people’s opinions, and it is hard to influence others if you struggle to convince yourself. So, with this in mind, you must improve what you offer and what you give to others. Once you have focused on improving yourself, you can then work on improving other areas within the nursing and healthcare sector.

To reach your potential as a leader, you must listen to others, and you must welcome feedback. You cannot be an effective leader if you do not listen to those around you, so embrace the contributors and welcome feedback and criticism as it will effectively help you hone your leadership skills, and it will turn you into a leader who gets things done and who gets results.

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