Getting to the top of the nursing career ladder is an ambition for many nurses and health professionals, especially if you have been working in nursing for a long time. However, if reaching the top of this career ladder is starting to feel impossible and you believe that you’ll never get to where you want to go, here’s some of the top career tips that you should follow to ensure that the last rung will soon be in your reach.
- Keep Taking Qualifications
Although you might have started your career by getting a Bachelor’s degree or another relevant qualification, you shouldn’t stop there, even if you promised yourself that your graduation would see the end of assignments and examinations. There’s an almost endless number of qualifications that you can take within the healthcare industry, and this means that you don’t have to stop once you’ve achieved one or two. To get to some of the highest positions within the industry, you’ll need to have the right qualifications that can act as a support and can evidence the skills and knowledge that you have. Not only this, but qualifications are often the quickest and easiest way to get the exact knowledge that you need and to learn from the best instructors in the industry. Then, if you’re thinking of going on to become a nursing leader and are happy to return to more formal ways of learning, you should consider going on an online DNP program that will allow you to go one step further toward your end goal.
- Connect With Colleagues and Employers
A lot of your ability to progress relies on how well you get on with your colleagues and employers. Even if you’re an independent worker who prefers to rely on yourself when you’re on shift, if you want to become a nursing leader or a manager, you’ll need to work with others and motivate them as a team. Then, by displaying your ability to connect with your colleagues, you’ll be showing your employers that you will make a great leader and will be able to encourage your team to boost their performance. You should also put a lot of effort into getting on with your employers if you intend to rise up the ranks within the company that you currently work in. This is because your employers will consider whether they want to work directly with you and if you’ll be an asset to the management team when they come to think about promotions. Then, by getting on with them and building up a great relationship with them, you’re increasing your chances of success. You will also be more comfortable sharing your dreams and goals with them, which is important if you want them to take them into consideration.
- Care About Your Patients
Although this might sound obvious, you need to care about your patients and the community that you’re serving if you want to rise up the ranks of the healthcare industry. Otherwise, you may find that you’re not able to carry out a consistent standard of work and that your lack of interest is obvious to your employers and the people who would want to hire you for management positions. Then, you should always put your patients first and make them the priority, as your career success will often happen when you least expect it, and your managers will likely be looking to promote someone who is dedicated to their job and who is passionate about what they do. Not only this, but it is pointless to aim for a promotion in a career path that you hate, and if you are unhappy within the healthcare sector, you should consider switching roles within the industry or consider changing the industry that you work in completely.
- Push for Change and Innovation in Nursing
A huge part of becoming a leader is being at the forefront of organizational change and working to innovate the sector and make it as good as it can be. Although you might believe that you have to wait until you are a leader before doing this, this is not the case. Instead, you should already be thinking about ideas that you want to implement and the weaknesses in your industry that you want to iron out. This independent thought can be used on a small scale to improve your organization, and you may be happy to share these ideas in interviews and when your employer or manager asks for your input. If you can impress or energize your employers with your ideas, they may then fast-track you for a promotion and you may still be in their minds when they are looking to fill a space on their team. This will also give you practice for when you do become a leader and get the role of your dreams so that you do not end up struggling when all your hard work finally comes to fruition.
- Conduct Your Own Research
Instead of simply relying on others to discover new techniques and bring medicine into the 21st century or waiting for your employer to send you on a training course, you should also consider conducting your own research and then applying what you have found to your workplace. If you are scientifically minded, or even if you simply want to carry out your own research or fill a gap in your knowledge, you should consider taking a nursing sabbatical that will allow you to regroup, push yourself, and grow as a person in the extra time that you will have. This will then ensure that you have new skills and knowledge to bring to the table once you have returned from your year off.
- Hone Your Skills
However, you will never be able to reach your career goals if you find that you are at the same skill level as you were when you first started out in healthcare and nursing. Then, you should make sure that you are constantly honing your skills and developing them to meet the demands of your role as a nurse. You can hone your skills by watching tutorials online, practicing in your own time and starting your own projects, going on training courses, and by finding non-healthcare-related ways to hone your transferrable skills. For instance, you might decide to volunteer at a youth group to improve your leadership skills or you might volunteer with a different hospital organization, which can help you to get experience from somewhere different than your workplace. By doing this, you will be ensuring that you are prepared for the role that you want, even if you have not yet had the chance to hone your skills in your usual working environment.
- Network Properly
Every nurse knows how essential networking is for their progression, and yet very few know how to network well. Then, you can network well by listening to the person who you are speaking to, saying exactly what it is that you want, and being friendly and maintaining open body language. You will need to attend events that are centered around networking for nurses to ensure that your efforts are not wasted, and you might even decide to opt for digital networking if there are not many networking opportunities open to you in your area.
- Be Open to Opportunities
It can be easy to get fixated on your personal vision for the future and to quickly reject anything that does not look exactly like what you had in mind. Then, you should try to be as open as possible to the different opportunities that may arise, even if they are not exactly what you had planned. This will allow you to take different avenues toward success that you might never have thought of before, or even allow you to gain new experiences that end up changing your eventual goals and plans. By seeing opportunity in everything, you will be making sure that one never passes you by without you giving it some thought.
- Know What You Want
The biggest step that you can take to get to the top of your nursing career ladder though, is to know exactly what it is that you want. Your own personal goals might look different from other peoples’ goals, and this may affect what the nursing career ladder means to you. Then, you should write out your goals and your career vision on paper and change these as your goals start to change and develop, as they are likely to do. This can give you a better idea of where you are headed and what it is that you really want, as opposed to what you think you should want. Using this, you can then plan out the steps that you need to take to achieve your aims and to get to the rung on your career ladder that you’ve been dreaming about.