Once you have qualified to become a nurse you may be wondering ‘what’s next?’. If your answer to that question is “nothing, because I’ve learned all there is to learn” you may want to delve more deeply into the vast scope of what nurses do, and in what variety of fields you might find them. The fact is that getting your initial nursing qualifications is only the beginning, and no matter what you choose to do in the future, there is plenty more to be learned.
This is particularly true if you don’t want to ‘just’ be a good nurse, but you also want to improve and advance your career. This is perfectly possible as a nurse, and has a number of benefits that make it more important than you might realise. Let’s look more closely at exactly why advancing your nursing career is so important and the ways you can do it to make the most out of your working life.
When you are a nurse you must have confidence in your abilities and the skills you have learned along the way, as well as the ones you already had through simply living life. Patients will rely on you to be entirely sure about what you are doing, and to give them the right treatment and address their concerns with the correct information. Remember, when you’re working as a nurse, having confidence in what you do is crucial because in some cases you will be working in a life or death situation. It’s vital to understand just how much responsibility goes along with being a nurse.
The more you know, and the more qualifications you have studied (as well as the experience you have gained), the more confident you will be that you’re doing and saying the right thing, and that your patients will receive the very best care. This will help you to enjoy your career more and advance even further, but it will also prove to you that you are a capable nurse who helps their patients hugely.
Keep Up To Date
If there is one thing to remember about healthcare, it’s that it changes a lot. New ideas and technologies are always being created and developed and they often have to be implemented seemingly immediately. What you knew yesterday might be relevant no longer. This is definitely going to be hard to keep up with, but that’s the nature of healthcare, and it’s not something that will change – the field of medicine is always looking for new ways to help people.
As a nurse, the more you can advance your career through the various different means open to you, including taking online degrees in areas that interest you, the more up-to-date you’ll be able to stay. You’ll have the opportunity to be at the forefront of nursing and medicine in general, meaning that when changes come about, you won’t be surprised by them and you can smoothly start using the new techniques and methods in the way you’re meant to. This will save you time and worry, and mean that you can be relied upon when it comes to being an excellent nurse.
Another reason why it’s so important to advance your career is that it will keep you motivated. If you’re the sort of person who wants to do as well as you can, and if that means moving forward in your career, you’ll soon become bored and frustrated if you’re unable to do that. You’ll possibly even decide to change to a different career because you want to do more than you’re able to where you currently are.
Nursing isn’t like that, as long as you are open to seeing the advancement opportunities. Nursing has plenty of chances for people to move ahead in their careers, and they won’t become bored or frustrated. Instead, they are able to fulfil their dreams and become the kind of nurse they have always dreamed of being.
Being motivated to do well at work is always important, and although it won’t be the case for some people, for those who value ambition and leadership, advancing their career will tick all the boxes, keeping them interested and seeing them achieve their goals.
Discover New Opportunities
Some of the reasons for the importance of nursing career advancement will be self-explanatory. Others will be harder to see. This next point is one of those latter ideas; once you realise that it’s there, though, you’ll see why it’s important. Knowing that it’s there in the first place is the key. We’re talking about discovering new opportunities. The truth is, the more you invest in your career advancement, the more advancement opportunities you’ll come across.
Think about how it was when you first started nursing. You would have had very few opportunities and only limited pathways to take. The more you advanced your career, the more pathways would have opened up. The further you go, the more opportunities there will be. Therefore, if you want as much choice as possible, you should always be looking at ways to advance your career. Of course, not all of the options you could take will be something you want to do, but that’s okay; you don’t have to do everything. The point is, you’ll be much more likely to find something you do want to do when you keep advancing your career.
Better Patient Care
For the majority of people who go into nursing, the main reason for doing so is to help people. They want to make a real difference, and they know that people who need nursing care are vulnerable, scared, or at the very least uncomfortable. Nursing can put all this right, and it can even save lives. Of course, that makes it a tempting option for many people looking to put their own mark on the world.
‘What has this got to do with career advancement?’ ‘Surely if you are a nurse you are able to help people no matter what rung of the ladder you might be on?’ This is true, but the further you advance your career, the better your patient care will be. This is due to a variety of different factors, including experience, more knowledge, and more confidence, as mentioned above.
So although you might initially want to advance your career for yourself, don’t forget that it can benefit many more people than just you. If you truly want to help your patients, then career advancement is certainly something to consider as a nurse.
Give Your Patients Confidence
We’ve spoken a number of times about how advancing your nursing career will give you more confidence in your abilities, and about why that is a good thing. However, something else that might help you decide what to do next when it comes to your career is that the more you know and the more advanced your career is, the more confidence your patients will have in you. This might not seem fair; plenty of nurses who have not opted to move forward in their careers, due to all kinds of reasons, can be just as competent as those who have taken a different path. Unfair as this may be, it’s often how things work.
You can use this to your advantage and ensure that the patients you are treating are as happy as possible. Patient care comes above everything else, and if advancing your career is going to give them the confidence they need to be treated, perhaps even to have life-saving treatment, then everything will have been worth it. Of course, this shouldn’t be the only reason to think about when advancing your career, but it may certainly have its place in the equation.
Develop New Skills
As you progress in your career, you’ll pick up a lot of new skills. These will be both practical – medical skills, for example, and how to treat a patient in the right way in terms of wound care and medication – but also additional skills that can help you in all different areas of your life. If you’ve ever felt you were lacking in any particular skills, such as communication, critical thinking, time-keeping, and so on, as you begin to advance your career, you’ll soon find that you become an expert in these things, and plenty more besides.
Learning new skills is a big part of your life, and it’s an important one. The more you know, the more you can do, and that will improve your life even outside of work. You’ll have more confidence, more abilities, and you’ll be able to see many more opportunities. Take advantage of the training you can take part in when you want to advance your career, and use the skills you learn whenever you can to improve your life from top to bottom.
Finally, if you enjoy learning, and you like to set yourself challenges, then nursing career advancement is going to be fun for you. Even if you don’t have any other reason to get ahead in your career, enjoying the process could be enough.
The fact that you can do more with your career and life once you have learned what you need to learn and advanced your career is a bonus that you’ll certainly not be unhappy to have gained.