A nursing career is a hard-won achievement. Nursing school is not for the faint of heart, whether it be an LPN or ADN program, a second Bachelors, an MSN, PhD, or even a DNP track.
Becoming a nurse opens the door to countless professional opportunities, and striving for more is par for the course for many nurses who wish to rise further in their professional roles.
Strengthening the foundation of your nursing career is prudent, and should be practiced throughout your professional journey. Various steps can be taken to secure a long and happy nursing career, and the savvy nurse will consider what will be most beneficial to his or her own individual career path.
Nurse Skill Development
For the majority of nurses, our work is skill-based. When we begin our nursing education, we learn bed baths, immunization technique, phlebotomy and IV skills, and the myriad aspects of physical assessment.
It is advisable for nurses planning to remain in the clinical realm to continue to learn new skills. Healthcare technologies change, and nurses who work in the clinical setting must remain abreast of the evidence base for new techniques. While not all nurses continue to treat patients, many do, and they all must stay clinically relevant in a shifting environment.
The Accumulation of Knowledge
Aside from clinical skills, a multitude of opportunities exist within the nursing and healthcare framework to accumulate new knowledge.
Technological change is likely the most rapid area for rapid growth, and it is here that some nurses find their comfort zone.
Electronic medical records (EMRs), wearable technologies, and artificial intelligence and robotics are all piquing nurses’ individual and collective curiosity.
Some of us began working as nurses when paper charting was the norm; now we adapt to new EMRs and bedside devices that we only dreamed of — or perhaps never imagined.
Staying relevant in a changing world is crucial, and nurses who fall behind in technological proficiency may suffer real-life challenges related to marketability. Fortifying your professional foundation with new knowledge is forward-thinking and highly advisable.
Personal and Professional Development
The foundation of a nurse’s professional career and trajectory are not just based on skills and knowledge. A career is also built upon relationships and interconnected networks of like-minded professionals. Learning to build and utilize professional networks for the elevation and forward movement of your career is key to long-term success.
Likewise, personal health and wellness is another cornerstone of your journey. An unhealthy nurse cannot serve in the same efficient manner as a healthy one.
If you are suffering from burnout or compassion fatigue, you may very well deliver substandard nursing care to patients who are at their most vulnerable. An unhappy nurse with an unstable personal life may not consistently be at her best professionally, and this may be the weakest link in her life and work.
Nurses who care for themselves and approach their lives from a place of balance and healthy self-care will always be more effective.
Tying it All Together
In the end, the foundation of your nursing career is you, and a sound body and mind will empower you to create a healthy, balanced, and satisfying career.
Moreover, staying abreast of clinical changes, new technologies, and new evidence-based knowledge is also crucial.
Networking, self-care, and personal development will not only contribute to your professional happiness, but also to your personal sense of accomplishment. Creating a balanced life that meets your many needs and desires will empower your work as a nurse and strengthen the foundation of your nursing career.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, consultant, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. He can be found at NurseKeith.com. Empower yourself with knowledge through an online RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case management, infection control, and executive leadership.
Empower yourself with knowledge through an online RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case management, infection control, and executive leadership.