The power to shape your nursing career in ways that fulfill your overall professional and personal aspirations is entirely in your control. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the nursing industry will grow 26 percent by 2020, BLS also suggests that nurses with diversified skills and more education have better job prospects. If you're seeking to broaden your horizons or boost your marketability, it's essential to find innovative ways to stand out on a nursing team. Whether you continue to learn, champion a cause, take charge, get certified, or spearhead research, you'll be paving a better path to career advancement.
Pursue an Advanced Degree
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 39 percent of hospital employers require nurses to have a BSN while an overwhelming 77 percent of these facilities surveyed by AACN actually prefer graduates with at least a bachelor's degree. Advanced education plays a vital role in the healthcare field. When evidence-based scientific breakthroughs occur and technology evolves, nursing professionals must stay updated with the latest innovations to improve patient outcomes. These factors are essential to the ways nursing professionals do their jobs.
Continued education enables nurses to not only learn these new skills but also utilize them as a field expert. Through degree advancement, individuals can create new opportunities through specializing in an area of primary interest. These degrees offer a critical stepping-stone to nursing roles including, but not limited to:
- :: Nurse practitioner
- :: Midwife
- :: Anesthetist
- :: Nurse educator
- :: Informatics nurse
- :: Oncology nurse
- :: Clinical nurse specialist
The advanced knowledge and expertise acquired from continued nursing education sets professionals up for greater demand, which in turn creates increased job security. Fortunately, there is no need to sacrifice current nursing positions while pursuing these goals. Online RN to BSN programs offer the distinct advantage of studying at your own pace in a way that seamlessly fits alongside your work schedule.
Engage in Industry Advocacy
The impact of nurses extends far beyond the hospital bedside. Nurses have the ability to distinguish themselves from colleagues by becoming a catalyst for change. Those passionate about giving patients a louder voice for their rights, promoting the profession or strategizing on ways to improve the healthcare system, there are small ways to make a big difference.
Nursing professionals should consider joining a professional nursing organization at the local or federal level. According to research published by Nursing World, joining these groups is the key to influencing health policy changes and the unity and collaboration of a professional group of nurses can help strengthen the argument for a cause.
Participating in these advocacy-minded groups will enhance career development by giving individuals a means to network with other professionals, which can be vital in seeking out new opportunities. Professional organizations are not the only way to promote a nursing cause including identifying local or state legislation that directly affects the workplace and reaching out to lawmakers to initiate interest in a cause.
Nursing professionals can also spread the word about causes by submitting a call to action to a broader national audience. Many individuals choose to write well-researched articles on the issues they are passionate about and submit them to nursing publications. These avenues of advocacy can give individuals greater visibility within a nursing team and act as an excellent resume builder. The initiative to get involved and effect change demonstrates a passion and work ethic that may grab the positive attention of management teams or important industry players.
Live Leadership Qualities
Nurses don't need to have a management title to demonstrate that they are capable of assuming greater roles in the healthcare workplace. One's daily actions can speak volumes about leadership abilities. Some choose to convey their leadership abilities by mentoring young professionals and going the extra mile to help new nurses who are acclimating to their new positions. This illustration of leadership can only benefit a nursing team by motivating them, fostering respect and accomplishing the necessary goals that help patients. Simultaneously, it builds a track record of seizing everyday opportunities to stand out as superior nurse.
By going above and beyond the bare minimum required for quality care, individuals become a dependable team asset who understands the importance of decisive action. By cultivating these decision-making skills, teams and management may naturally turn to nurses for input on a patient or teaching others.
Certification for a nursing specialty is a prime way to show employers various skillsets and advanced healthcare knowledge. Additionally, certification is a nationally recognized measure that goes beyond mere field competence to demonstrate rigorous quality standards in education and practice and can be used in many different healthcare facilities.
Employers value certification and continued education. Certified skillsets benefit patients and also maintain the reputation of a healthcare facility. As the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses found, certification is directly linked to better care. The renowned American Board of Nursing Specialists also outlines approximately 60 different types of specialized certification programs that nurses can pursue to expand their professional opportunities.
As a nurse, these individuals are at ground zero of the healthcare industry. These professionals are the closest connection to patients' needs. Daily work environments including encountering new patients and workflow challenges that offer the opportunity to expand nurse's knowledge base and shape the way other professionals approach patient care.
Taking it one step further by using these experiences as evidence-based research to improve the field, nurses have the opportunity implement change. By integrating the measurement of data from daily nursing practice, individuals can work toward solutions to issues or generate ideas that make strides in quality care. Conducting research efforts can demonstrate initiative to improve patient care and workflow to advanced practice team members. Additionally, when nurses can integrate their findings into a work environment, they're validating the overall contribution to the team and profession as a whole.
Quality education through online RN to BSN programs is at the root of differentiating yourself from other nursing professionals. Online nursing bachelor degree programs like those offered by Utica prepare you for new career advancement opportunities while conveniently enabling you to preserve the strides you've made in your current career, where you can simultaneously work and learn. This advanced education opens the doors of opportunity to be a standout nurse. You'll learn how to apply leadership qualities to clinical practice, find networks to get involved in, explore research methods and delve into specialization. The chance to set yourself apart is within reach; it's up to you to seize it.