7 Steps for Developing Your Nursing Career

With so many options to explore when it comes to a career in nursing, it’s expected that many qualified nurses will want to progress in their careers, learn more, gain more experience, or even make a change in their job role. If you’re looking to expand your nursing knowledge and develop your career, here are seven important steps for you.

Step 1: Plan Out Your Career Goals

If you want to develop your career successfully, then it’s always handy to know in exactly which direction you’re going. Planning out your goals and taking the time to research the ways in which you can develop as a nurse will help you to pinpoint where you want your career to head next.

This means that you can research how to reach your goals, such as whether you need further training or another qualification.

Step 2: Be Open with Those Around You

Whether it’s your colleagues, your employer, or your friends and family, being open and honest about your career aspirations will help you to succeed and develop. Be vocal and willing for more opportunities at work and speak to your employer about wanting to progress as much as possible, so those around you can support your professional development.

Step 3: Look for a Mentor

Mentors can be great influential figures in your personal and professional life. If you can find a relevant mentor to help guide you through your nursing career development and find someone you can look up to and learn from in a further capacity, this can have a significant positive impact on your career.

Your mentor could be someone you look up to professionally at work, or it could be someone in your personal life who can help you.

Step 4: Gain a New Qualification

Further study and relevant qualifications are going to be a big help in developing your career. Not only that, but certain career development may require a particular qualification in order to progress. Therefore further study in any capacity is going to be a huge boon for anyone looking to develop their nursing career considerably.

A new qualification could be a completely new bachelor degree in an area of study you wish to go into, or it could be seeking out higher levels of education to further your current degree, such as studying FNP programs when you’re already a qualified nurse practitioner Or consider obtaining a medical certificate such as ACLS to help you stand out from other job-seekers.

Step 5: Look for Further Experience

Alongside qualifications, experience is also a huge factor in professional development. Seeking out opportunities for further experience can be beneficial, especially if it’s a new experience that you can add to your area of expertise.

You may want to look for new experience opportunities at work, the opportunity to work in a different environment, or shadow someone with a different job role. You may even want to spend your spare time looking for volunteer opportunities to further your experience and add to your professional resume.

There may be many charitable organizations or community causes which need the services of a nurse, so seeking out these opportunities and lending a hand can be a big help to furthering any experience and making a positive impact.

Step 6: Look Further Afield for Job Opportunities

While the healthcare industry usually provides many in-demand jobs and opportunities for nurses, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’ll be an open position for your ideal development opportunity where you’re already working. In order to progress, you may want to look for job openings elsewhere, which may mean a move or complete relocation.

Naturally, you should understand whether relocation is the right choice for you, but if a move is the only way you can gain a new position at the level you want to be at, it can be a very beneficial career move. If location is no object, then searching further afield for any development opportunities can help you to understand what’s out there for you.

Step 7: Make an Official Appointment with Your Senior

As a final step: take the time to sit down and discuss your career progression. As mentioned, it’s always good to make it known to your colleagues and employer that you’re looking to progress in your career. Nevertheless, having an official and scheduled chat with your seniors at work will mean you can have a dedicated discussion regarding your professional development.

Here will be the opportunity for you to discuss your goals and ask if there are any openings for further responsibilities or tasks that you can undertake and gain new experience.