Nursing is a career where you continuously learn, evolve and grow. There are always new things to learn and endless ways to enhance your job position, no matter how professional you already are. Even after several years of practicing, you’ll still find new techniques to learn and move forward with your career. Some of these methods include completing your continuing education requirements and obtaining certificates and others can be simply done in your day-to-day job. Here is how you can improve your job position as a nurse.
Find a Mentor
We focus so much on education and formal training, but ask any nurse - or most people successful in a range of professions actually - and they will likely tell you that there was some key mentor that showed them ropes, helped them avoid common mistakes or gave them the inspiration to stick with their career during challenging times.
There are many ways that you can help and support your patients, but sometimes patients require different types of support and help. To have an idea of what should be done with each person, it's sometimes best to consult someone else. Find a nurse who has been successful in their career for a long time and try to learn from them. It is more obvious to get an opinion in tricky situations but also remember to look for advice with regular patients to learn the craft of nursing. Getting insight into how to deal with patients in a range of situations will allow you to gain more experience and improve your knowledge. A mentor can also help you choose the right path in your nursing career as they’re aware of all the different specialties and departments as well as some of the advantages and disadvantages of working in each area.
You can also ask your mentor or your manager for more opportunities to shadow them, especially when you are in training. Taking extra time to shadow other experienced nurses will help you gain more experience and knowledge as well as signal you are driven to be a better nurse. You will be able to learn how to handle different situations and patients. Seek shadowing opportunities anywhere you prefer. It doesn't have to be confined to your workplace. When you’re observing what other people do, you’ll be able to know what should and shouldn’t be done to help and support patients. You’ll also be able to identify possible shortcomings you have to work on them.
Enroll In New Programs
Getting your nursing degree and continuing education requirements are just the start of education. Many nurses will add advanced degrees and certificates by enrolling in different nursing programs to advance in the field. Whether you want to assume a higher position or specialize in another subfield, getting the right education and certification will help you reach your goal.
However, one of the struggles that nurses face when they try to get a further degree or certification is that they cannot maintain a balanced work and school life. If you’re currently facing this issue where you want to enroll in a new program but you don't want to compromise your work, you should enroll in any of the online FNP programs that suit your dream job position. Joining an online program will give you the flexibility to learn everything from the comfort of your home whenever you’re free. Learning online will eliminate the issue of having to let go of your work while studying, or of wasting time commuting to and from school.
Take Ownership of Your Career
If you want to gain more experience and improve your nursing job as you work, you should take ownership of your career. Want to move up in your organization? You should approach your managers and ask about new opportunities. Similarly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or that you are just not improving in your job, take ownership and look at ways to change your current situation.
Essentially, don’t wait for opportunities to open up by themselves. Specifically, seek out opportunities and change your job position if you’re not comfortable with it. You can ask your manager or mentor about what concerns you have and what can be done to change the situation.
Another way to boost your career, learn new things and feel good about yourself at the same time is through volunteering. Many nurses don’t find the time to, nor see the point in volunteering. However, volunteering allows you to work and improve your skills without the pressure found in any workplace. Almost all workplaces have issues, whether it’s lack of staff, limited time, or general pressure from managers, colleagues, and patients. By volunteering, you’ll be able to help others, build more experience, and learn new skills without the pressure and stress of your workplace. By volunteering, you will also increase your network which will automatically open up many more opportunities for you to enhance your job position.
In summary, being a nurse means that you’re constantly learning new things. Getting a degree and starting out as a nurse is just the beginning of your career. If you feel you’re not learning new things, then something is definitely wrong. You will face new challenges every day. Though some might be easy to overcome, others will not be, which is why it’s essential to have a mentor to guide you through the process. Even if you’ve been working for quite some time, having someone to get back to and consult on cases that weren't easy will help you improve your knowledge and job position. It’s also essential to schedule some time for yourself every day. As a nurse, you also need to find a work-life balance so the quality of care to your patients does not suffer.