When you have your RN or BSN and you are now qualified to work as a nurse, you might think that your learning days are behind you. Now it’s time to work and to become a great nurse through experience and the knowledge you learn on the job as you do what you need to do every day.
Although this might be the case for some people, and they might be entirely happy with this, is it right for you? Or would you rather keep studying and keep learning – and potentially even keep gaining qualifications – so that you can actually advance your career?
Perhaps you’re undecided. If that’s the case, it’s important to know just why advancing your career is a good idea and, more than that, why it’s important. There are many reasons why it’s an excellent decision to progress in your nursing career, and there are dozens of different ways to do it. Read on to find out more about why advancing your career is important for you and your patients and how to go about it.
Being a nurse means that you must have confidence in your skills and abilities. You need to be sure of what you’re doing and not hesitate to do it – sometimes, it can be the difference between life and death. There is a lot of responsibility when it comes to being a nurse, and the more knowledge you have (as well as experience), the more confident you will be.
When you advance your nursing career, you’ll know that you have the knowledge and skills you need to be a great nurse. After all, nursing is not the kind of profession where promotion happens for no reason; nurses are needed, but those nurses must be highly competent and have the requisite skills. If you don’t have the skills and you can’t prove that you would make a great nurse in whatever position you are vying for, you won’t get the job. The more
advanced in your career you can get, the greater your self-esteem, which will help you in your working life but also in your personal life.
Keep Up To Date
The nursing profession is one that changes all the time. There are always new ideas, and the systems that were once commonplace can change to something else seemingly overnight. This can be hard to keep up with, but it’s crucial if you want to do well and do the best for your patients. It’s vital if you are a nurse leader and have to manage a team. The good news is that when you advance your career and study for further qualifications such as your post masters AGACNP, you can more easily keep up with industry changes.
When you study, which is certainly something you’ll need to do if you want to advance your career, you will automatically learn about the latest trends and changes within the nursing profession and within the healthcare profession as a whole. Your knowledge will constantly be refreshed, and you will always be at the forefront of innovation.
If you are an ambitious person and you want to do well in your career, not advancing is going to make you feel bad about what you’re doing, and you might become demotivated as a result. What is the point of continuing to work hard at what you’re doing if you’re not getting anywhere?
Conversely, moving forward in whatever way suits you, whether by looking for promotions or changing the department in which you work – and, of course, working towards further qualifications at the same time – can keep those ambitious people highly motivated. There is always something for them to do and look forward to. There is always another challenge for them to conquer and get past. For some, this is the ideal way of working, and if there was nothing more to aim for, motivation would quickly fade, which is why, if you feel like this,
advancing your nursing career is a hugely important thing to do.
Remember, even when you reach the top of your career, there are still things you can do. You can become a motivational speaker, you can write books and blogs, you can offer advice, and much more. So don’t worry that you’ll ‘run out’ of your career; you can always advance and expand.
Discover New Opportunities
The further you advance in your career, the more opportunities will open up for you, and the more choice you’ll have about exactly where you want your nursing career to go and how you intend to get there.
When you just start out nursing, you’ll have limited options. To do anymore more than you’re doing right at the start, it’s highly likely that experience and additional knowledge and qualifications will be required. You’ll soon see that, when you get these qualifications and experience, many more doors open up to you. Of course, you won’t be interested in all of them, but the point is the choice; the more choice you have in terms of your career, the more
likely it is you’ll find an option that is ideal for you.
There are many reasons why having a ‘dream job’ is good for you. For one, you’ll do well in it because you’ll be interested and want to do your best – even bad days won’t seem so bad.
Secondly, it’s good for your mental health. When you have a job you enjoy, you won’t be so stressed, and it’s much less likely that you’ll suffer from burnout or depression, for example.
Finally, a job you love and that you have complete control over is good for your relationships.
When you’re happy at work, this translates into being happy at home and when you’re with your friends. Your life will improve when you move your career forward to a point where you’re very happy with it.
Better Patient Care
If you’re like many nurses, you went into the profession because you wanted to help people. You wanted to make a difference in your patients’ lives. If you look back at everything you’ve done, it’s probable that you have done that exact thing many times.
If this is what you’re interested in, then it makes sense to advance your career. You’ll need to learn a lot more, and you’ll be interacting with a lot of patients. This combined means that you will be able to do a lot more for your patients in all kinds of ways. The more you know from your studies, the more you can do for them, and the further you advance your career, the more you’ll be learning in those studies.
In other words, if you want to take the best care of your patients, advancing your career isn’t just good for you; it’s good for them as well as you’ll know so much more and have the skills to help in better ways.
Support is vital when you’re a nurse. Nurse burnout is a common problem that stems from too much stress and exhaustion, and due to long working hours and the stressful situations that nurses have to deal with on a daily basis (including death and trauma), it’s more common than many people, including nurses themselves, might realize.
When you have a good support network, others will be more likely to notice the signs of burnout and step in to
help you. Plus, you’ll have somewhere to turn when you’re feeling confused, lost, have questions, or just need a break. Support is something no nurse can do without.
When you advance your career, you’ll have a lot of support. You’ll have the people you have worked with in the past as well as those you’re working with now, for example. You’ll also have the different people in the various departments you have worked in. Plus, there will be a support network in place at your school, whether that’s online or a physical building (and if you’re not sure about this, just ask).
Not only will you be able to access a lot more support than ever before, but you will also be able to offer a lot more support. When you advance in your career, you’ll be a leader, and there will be nurses under you who will need the kind of help you did at that stage in your career. With your experience and knowledge, you’ll be able to offer that support and ensure that those other nurses get the help that you had or would have wanted. As they progress
through their careers, they will be able to pass that support on, and so it continues.
Give Your Patients Confidence
The more knowledge, experience, and qualifications you have, and the higher you are in your career, the more confidence patients will have in you. Whether you think this is right or not, the fact is that when you are at an advanced stage in your career, you are the one that people turn to, even if others are just as capable as you. You might not like this idea, but if it means the patients are happier to receive treatment and can be calmer, then it’s something that you’ll need to consider. After all, patient care is paramount.
When you can offer a sense of confidence to your patients, treating them becomes easier as they will be happier to adhere to the treatment rules and listen to what nurses are saying to them. They will be calmer and less stressed. If your career advancement offers this kind of help, then this has to be seen as a positive.
Develop New Skills
Perhaps an obvious thing but one that is important and therefore bears repeating is that the more advanced you get in your career, the more new skills you’ll learn. This is partly due to obtaining more education and partly because you will have been nursing for a longer time.
Just like it is important to stay up to date with changes within the nursing profession, it’s also important to learn new skills. These new skills will enable you to help your patients more, and understanding them will give you more confidence, which is crucial, as we’ve said. The more you can develop new skills, the more you can move forward.
The more you can move forward, the more new skills you’ll be able to master. One is contingent on the other, and
they are both extremely important.
Something that should not be underestimated when it comes to advancing your nursing degree is that, for some, it is a lot of fun. If you love learning if you enjoy nursing, and if you feel that setting yourself challenges is a positive thing, then advancing your career is going to be fun for you. You’ll be able to pick and choose how you advance, and there are many options, so no matter how you like to learn or what you want to do, you can make it into
something you enjoy.
Having fun is an important part of life. Work is essential, of course, but if there is no fun to mix with it, you’ll become depressed, stressed, and miserable. Other areas of your life will become less enjoyable because you’re always thinking about work. Even your physical health can suffer. Therefore, the more fun you can have, the happier and healthier you will be. If that fun can be found when you are also advancing your career, this combines the two
crucial elements of life and makes them much more achievable.
You Can Reflect
When you advance your career, it’s important to look forward. It’s crucial to know where you are going, why you are going there, and how you intend to get there. However, it’s just as important to be reflective and look to the past. Although this is not a place where anyone should dwell for too long, it is useful to see where you have been and how far you have come. This will remind you of all the challenges you have overcome, and it will show you that you can do whatever it is you set your mind to.
You can also look at the decisions you made and determine whether they were the right ones or not. When you are looking at ways to advance your career, rectifying any past mistakes or changing course direction can be a good thing to keep you moving forward, but you won’t know to do this unless you look back and reflect on where you have been.