Nursing is a noble profession that continues to evolve and change over time. Perhaps that explains your initial fascination with it. As a registered nurse (RN), you have already made a difference in the lives of so many patients after obtaining your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
After gaining valuable experience, you’re thinking of taking your career to the next level and where you can make a more significant impact through more challenging roles.
As a nurse, you can move up the career ladder in various ways. But, before you do what is needed to move ahead, you need to understand the ‘why’ to justify whatever you’ll be doing.
Let’s break that down.
Why Should You Advance Your Nursing Career?
The primary motivation for nursing career advancement is often related to a new job role, a higher salary, or increased job satisfaction. Even though changing careers in nursing can be exciting, overwhelming, and takes a lot of courage, the question on your mind would be, where do I begin?
You begin by asking yourself, would it be possible to be happy while adding more responsibilities to an already busy schedule to further your career?
Yes, but first, you need to determine further the underlying reason for advancing your nursing career. If you think about it, you’ll be surprised at the answers.
Taking on a New Role
According to career experts, many nurses are interested in pursuing leadership roles.
Nurses with baccalaureate education often assume leadership roles early in their careers. RNs may work in different specialized departments, in management positions, as educators, or as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
An experienced nurse would search for a career path that answers how to become a chief nursing officer; registered nurses may opt for different roles such as a nurse manager, anesthetist, or educator.
It is important to note that the type of roles and responsibilities in every nursing field varies and depends on several factors and the nurses’ skill set.
Gaining an Edge in the Job Market
The positions listed above all carry more responsibilities than your current role as an RN. Having more responsibilities means more compensation – another good reason to advance your nursing career. For most nursing professionals, a higher salary is one of the most considerable driving forces.
Is there a salary scale for advanced nursing jobs? Depending on where you work and what type of healthcare facility you work in, earnings potential can vary greatly. Let’s take Kentucky as an example. We’re going to compare the annual wages of different nursing professionals with those of an RN for the year 2017.
- Nursing practitioner: $95,450
- Maternity nurse: $96,760
- Anesthetist nurse: $185,040
- ursing manager: $90,050
- Nursing Education Specialist: $71,250
RNs in Kentucky earned an annual median salary of $61,530 in 2017. So no matter which direction you take, advancing your nursing career will probably lead to a higher salary.
Increased Job Satisfaction
One less apparent reason for advancing in your nursing career is job satisfaction. Nurses often experience burnout after years of serving patients. Several factors contribute to this, including long hours, double shifts, high-stress situations, high patient volume, and feeling “compassion fatigue.”
To feel invigorated in their careers, nurses often need a change of pace. Unfortunately, these characteristics aren’t absent from advanced nursing positions. But, it’s gratifying to know you’re filling a gap that’s desperately needed.
Whatever path you take, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to improve your nursing career.
Tips & Strategies to Take Your Nursing Career to the Next Level
Spend Money on Your Education
If you want to advance in your career, education is critical. Each nursing degree or certificate opens up new career opportunities. More opportunities mean a greater chance of finding a position that fits perfectly with your career goals.
Nursing students should be encouraged to work and train simultaneously to gain experience, allowing nurses to work as LPNs while completing an associate’s degree in nursing, and then as RNs while completing a bachelor’s degree.
Look For a Mentor
The average 9-5 worker isn’t prepared to deal with daily tricky situations nurses face. When navigating your career, consult a mentor, ask for advice, and learn from someone who knows their stuff. Finding someone who can help you avoid burnout will help you discover new career options.
Mentors are also helpful in guiding nurses through emergencies and helping them navigate career paths. Mentors may also include you as part of their network where you meet someone who can help you find a specific opportunity that wasn’t advertised.
Become a Specialist
In contrast to other careers in healthcare, nursing offers various situations and opportunities that allow you to change specializations. These opportunities help increase your level of expertise and enable you to aspire for more challenging roles in your career.
In addition, certification in an area paves the way for adding more skills to your resume, primarily through a reputable organization.
Build Your Network and Utilize It
You must develop your network within and outside the health care organization. When meeting new people, exchange ideas and learn about new solutions to common problems. As a nurse, you should identify colleagues who share your interests.
Our society is becoming increasingly reliant on professional social networking. The power of global and community networking is growing as the world changes. It’s how people connect across disciplines, so you should take advantage of it.
Although networking is vital for career advancement, it’s also a great way to learn new skills and get new ideas.
The support and information provided by a network of colleagues can be invaluable. It’s easy to build a network by attending conferences and workshops with people who share your interests, reading articles together, hosting reading groups, and participating in webinars.
Growth is essential in every profession, especially for those who wish to excel in their field; the same is true for careers in the healthcare sector.
Over the years, nursing has undergone many changes. It is an industry where stagnation could endanger the health and lives of millions of people. Therefore, nurses should aspire to provide quality patient care to patients at every stage of their careers.