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Nursing is stable career in many ways, but it can often lead people to getting stuck in a rut in terms of staying in their comfort zone for too long. If you are ready to move on but are not sure what your options are, take some time to research the current job market via agencies and websites. The adverts will tell you what jobs there are in your area (and in surrounding areas if you are willing to travel), as well as the experience and qualifications you will need. When you know what you’re aiming for, these 7 tips will help make your vision a reality.
- Invest in your education
When you have identified which path you want to follow, your next step is to ensure you have the necessary education and qualifications. This may mean you need to advance from a nursing diploma to studying for Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN), or if you have your BSN, you may want to study further and attain your Masters. Thanks to the accelerated online RN to BSN program, you can study at your own pace on a flexible basis from home so you can continue to work.
- Make sure you are networking
Networking is hugely important when it comes to career progression, and there are lots of ways you can build connections in the nursing industry such as: attending events, conferences and job fairs. When you do make a connection with others, keep a record of their contact information, their role and organization and what you have discussed. They may be able to offer advice or let you know of vacancies as they come up. Some may also be able to offer you the opportunity to shadow them so you can improve your knowledge and skills while you are working.
- Do some volunteering
Volunteering to take on extra responsibility or to learn new skills can help to broaden your prospects, build new connections in the workplace and show you are ready for more in your career. If there aren’t opportunities to volunteer in your organization, try looking elsewhere for roles in a local charity or hospice.
- Consider taking a sabbatical
Many employers have a sabbatical or secondment policy which enables employees to take time out from their job to focus on a different project, such as taking on a new role for a temporary period in order to study for a new qualification or conduct research. You could take another role in the same organization or an external organization, for anything from a matter of weeks up to a few years.
- Discuss your career ambitions with your manager
Most nurses will have a 1-2-1 meetings or appraisals with their manager on a regular basis, which is your opportunity to discuss your career ambitions. They should be able to advise you and work with you to help you reach your goals. They should be aware of your willingness to take on more responsibility and to be considered for a promotion in the future.
- Join professional associations or forums
When you are a member of a nursing association or forum, you will always be up to date with the latest developments in the healthcare industry and, depending on the association, the relevant news for nursing specialties. Many online forums are free to join while others require a membership fee. If you have the opportunity to attend an event, you can use them as networking opportunities as well as a chance to deepen your industry knowledge.