Whether you have been a stay-at-home parent raising your kids and are now going back to work as a nurse or looking to make an entirely new career change, you will likely want to fulfill your ambitions of working in the nursing sector in the best way possible.
Now, to start your journey on the right foot, you need to think about how you will build and develop your career. You will find that a career in nursing offers you the perfect opportunity to create a long-lasting career with growth potential – and when you have an action plan to follow, you will surely find the process a whole lot easier.
Decide What You Want to Achieve
To get everything flowing positively, you need to establish what you want to achieve by setting goals and objectives. For example, within your nursing career, do you want to increase standards? Do you want to change how nurses are taught and trained, perhaps by becoming a leader yourself? Or, would you like to build and develop lasting relationships and bonds with patients?
You can achieve so much from a nursing career, and it is much more than just a steady paycheck. So, write down what you want to achieve and why, as this will often act as your drive and motivation – especially when it all gets too much and you feel like leaving your dream career behind.
Get Qualified – Obtain a Relevant Degree
Once you have a better understanding of what you want to achieve and why, you then need to start focusing on getting qualified. Even if you have experience and awareness of nursing and the healthcare sector, this does not mean that you will be suitably qualified for a nursing role.
When it comes to becoming a qualified nurse, you must first get a degree and pass local state license examinations. Your education and your commitment to education will have a huge impact on your nursing roles and opportunities – so always ensure that you embrace learning and everything it entails and ‘give it your all.’
Create a Career Plan
While studying for a relevant degree or program, you also need to start developing a career plan to help you choose the right nursing path. Successful nursing careers do not just happen overnight, and they do not just happen without preparation and careful planning.
A career plan may not be at the top of your list right now – but it should be up there somewhere. Planning out your goals and aspirations and giving them a timeline will help you bring your dreams to life, and a good career plan that enables you to do this should cover at least the next five years, if not more. When you cover a longer duration of time, you can also begin to see where the plan needs to be broken down into smaller, manageable goals even further.
Look For Inspiration and Guidance
The path to a nursing career is well-trodden, and this is helpful because it means there are so many people out there that can help you. From the famous nurses who will inspire you to be the best you can be to the modern mentors in your immediate professional network, there is so much support, guidance, and experience available– so use it to make yourself an excellent nurse.
While you can’t exactly consult a long-gone legendary nurse of the past or one that is off paving the way for industry innovations, you can seek guidance through a mentor that is closer to you. A mentor can offer life experiences and even share experiences with you too. Inspiration and advice within nursing are all around, and sometimes if you are feeling low or overwhelmed, you may find that a chat with your colleagues will work wonders.
Support Others and Seek Support
Within the nursing sector, you will find that help, support, and guidance are always on hand. You will always find somebody to talk to, whether this is a work colleague or a union representative. It is important to seek support when you need it and do the same for other professionals, too, because, as you will discover, the nursing industry is rewarding, but it can be emotionally draining at the same time.
Being able to share your experiences and reflect on what is happening or what has happened at work is important. If you try to bottle everything up, you will find that it will affect your work and those you work with too. A problem shared is a problem halved – so confide in your coworkers and your support network when things get too much or whenever there is an issue that you are struggling with.
Focus on Efficiency and Effectiveness
As a nurse, you must ensure that you are effective and efficient. If you are not effective within your role and with your patients, you will see that patient care and treatment will gradually slide – and this is not what you want to happen. If you are not effective or efficient in your job, it will also affect colleague morale, which may have further knock-on effects.
To remain effective and efficient, you must learn to balance your roles, responsibilities, and stresses, which is where great communication comes into play. Learning how to talk about what you are experiencing and expressing your concerns and feelings will help you remain effective and efficient in your role. You will also find that managing your time and knowing what is achievable and what is not will help you be more effective and efficient.
Build Your Skillset
As well as focusing on knowledge and experience, you also have to focus on your skillset. What can you learn and develop to add value to your role and career? For instance, could working on your soft skills, like communication and listening, help you grow within your job?
Or, can you work on how co-operative you are, and how well you work with others in a team? You always have room and space to grow and develop, and when you do this within your nursing role, you can create a sustainable future for your career.
Remain Focused on Professional Development
You need to focus on professional development to ensure that you do not remain stagnant in your nursing career – no matter how long you have been in the nursing sector. Why? Because professional development will help you build your sustainability and readiness for future roles, as well as keep you ready and skilled in your current job.
Of course, learning to spot professional development opportunities and seizing chances when you are busy in your everyday role can be difficult. However, with the right mindset and focus, you will find that professional growth can easily be incorporated into your job moving forwards.