So, you’ve been thinking about advancing your career as a nurse? Well, kudos to you for taking the first step to improving patient care and making better healthcare decisions. The reality is that not every nurse is as willing as you to expand their knowledge of healthcare, and not every nurse is as compassionate as you when it comes to ensuring better patient outcomes.
You probably have a busy job as a nurse in addition to family and other more important priorities, so how do you go about it then? You may be wondering: Is taking the next step to advance my nursing career even a realistic option? Surprisingly, it is. Outlined in this article are ways that you can advance your career without adversely impacting your current role as a working nurse.
Earn Nursing Certifications
The importance of certifications in a field as competitive as nursing is hard to ignore. In particular specializations and markets, being certified may provide a nurse with a strategic advantage when seeking a position.
At a fundamental level, certification can lead to improved job prospects. This is because it can enhance professional credibility, validate specialized knowledge and demonstrate a superior level of clinical competence.
Perhaps the most attractive thing about certifications is that they barely disrupt your day job because you can take them online or in your free time.
Now, you might be wondering which type of nursing certificate you should obtain to gain access to more opportunities and pursue specialized fields.
There are several types of nursing certifications available. Although nurses are encouraged to choose certifications that align with their career goals, the credentials below are held in particularly high regard:
Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certification
This assists nurses in improving their life support skills, team dynamics and basic drug therapy.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certification
This teaches nurses lifesaving care for children and infants.
Basic Life Support Certification
This certification helps medical professionals and nurses learn to identify life-threatening emergencies, provide CPR and utilize an AED.
Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification
This material tackles numerous conditions that involve caring for patients who have endured a stroke and tracheostomy. Many nurses choose to acquire this certification to gain knowledge in a wide array of practices.
Requirements for obtaining nursing certifications will differ from one organization to the next and depend on the type you pursue.
You will be required to renew your certification occasionally to ensure that you still meet the eligibility requirements.
Network Through Professional Organizations
It is not uncommon for nurses to want to make it on their own, but the sad truth is that you can only get so far on your own.
According to LinkedIn, approximately 85% of jobs are never advertised but instead filled through networking.
By joining a professional nursing organization, you will not only meet other passionate and dedicated nurses that inspire you to advance your career but also gain access to information about the latest techniques, advancements and practices in your field.
Nurses in professional organizations usually get job invitations and recommendations in addition to employment assistance resources.
The advantage of networking is that it lets nurses become more involved and engaged. There is a great deal of value in face-to-face interaction.
You meet like-minded individuals with the same struggles and ambitions while gaining insights into how nursing is changing.
If that’s not good enough, these networking opportunities will most likely work on your schedule since the members are as busy as you.
Popular national nursing organizations you might consider joining to advance your career include the American Nurses Association, the National Student Nurses Association, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and the International Council of Nurses.
You may also want to use your school’s network. Most academic institutions have an alumni institution that can provide you with advice and assistance on your path.
Regardless, you need to make sure to record contact details and ask individuals if you can get in touch with them in the future when networking with other nurses.
Although your end goal is to advance your career, you may find that you meet an invaluable mentor along the way.
Earn an Online Degree
Obtaining an online degree is perhaps the most effective way to advance your nursing career without turning your life upside down.
Unlike traditional education, studying a DNP-AGPCNP online program at the University of Indianapolis is flexible and can work around your schedule.
Working as a nursing professional, it can seem impossible to strike a healthy balance between life and work. When you add school into it, all hell can break loose.
Fortunately, an online degree program allows you to balance your priorities. It often does not require you to join classes on a particular time or day.
The issue with traditional learning is it prompts you to concentrate too much on a particular set of responsibilities in life.
When working nurses learn traditionally, they may find themselves neglecting their responsibilities on the job to devote more time to studying. This can ultimately result in them being demoted or even getting fired.
Conversely, if you do not make enough time for your studies, you may fall behind in your classes and fail in your goal of advancing your career.
When you sign up for an online DNP-AGPCNP program though, you can fit your learning around your schedule and not the other way around.
You can watch lectures and take classes at your most convenient time. Instead of leaving early for work, you can log in at a time that does not interfere with your commitments.
Online nursing courses also promote focused learning. Since online education usually has small class sizes, you will be provided with specific and personalized teaching in addition to regular and comprehensive feedback.
Admission requirements for online nursing programs will always depend on your chosen academic institution, but among the documents you may need are a letter of recommendation, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and an essay.