Nursing as a profession is one that is filled with an abundance of opportunities to serve in challenging yet rewarding roles within the healthcare community. Even though many nurses become RNs (registered nurses) and choose to work in traditional roles within a hospital setting, there are countless others who perform jobs and handle a level responsibility that many who are not in the medical community are unaware of.
For starters, the job of an RN goes far beyond that which the average patient sees on a routine basis. Furthermore, RNs have the opportunity to branch out into specific areas of medicine, such as pediatrics or oncology, and even take their career further through additional training and qualifications.
Some nurses even opt to enter into the world of medical research after working for a time in direct patient care. Others decide that they would like to help educate the next generation of nurses by becoming nurse educators. Still others make the decision to obtain additional education in order to become a nurse practitioner or other type of advanced care nurse.
With so many possibilities, you might be wondering just how you can take your own career in nursing further and achieve more on a professional basis. While there are many roads that one can take in order to achieve more in their career as a nurse, there are a few things that you can consider doing that will help you along in your career.
Here are a few options to consider when your goal is to advance your nursing career so that you can achieve more.
Complete Your BSN
There are several ways in which a person can become a fully qualified nurse. They might have chosen the most expedient route by choosing to become certified as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). Although such nurses are not RNs, they are very active within the scope of healthcare and direct patient care.
Someone looking to become an RN would have needed to either complete a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. Although either option will allow you to become a qualified RN, it is only through obtaining your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree that you can look to apply to further advanced degree programs to advance your career.
The fact of the matter is that, like so many other careers in the medical field, additional education and training is required when you are looking to assume a higher role in your nursing career. For instance, if you do wish to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP) one day, you will need to at least ear your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or even a doctorate degree. You can only be accepted onto such programs if you have a BSN.
If you are worried about this process taking too long, there are plenty of options out there that can help you earn your BSN faster. For starters, online accelerated BSN programs are a great way to bridge your education so that you can earn your degree faster. With your BSN in hand, you can explore even more options that will allow you to take your career in nursing further.
Find a Mentor
Mentorships are a long-standing tradition within the medical community. When it comes to a career in medicine in general, you will not be likely to get far unless you adopt the community mentality and do what you can to learn from the experiences and knowledge of others in your field.
Finding a mentor is a great way to accomplish this. You can benefit greatly from learning what you can from a more experienced professional in nursing. Such an individual can take you under their wing and help you to make the right decisions regarding your career progression.
When you are looking for a mentor, your first step should be to inquire with your place of employment to see if there is already a mentorship program in place. If there is not one at your hospital or medical practice, there are third-party mentorship programs that are worth looking into.
There is also the more informal method of finding a mentor that does not require a specific program. You will simply want to consider the other professionals in your acquaintance who have achieved many of the things in their career that you hope to achieve in yours. This individual should be someone with whom you have a solid professional relationship who you feel comfortable coming to for advice and guidance.
Since mentorships are so valuable within the medical community, it is very likely that such an individual would be honored and happy to serve as your mentor and assist you as you look to achieve more in your own nursing career.
Join a Professional Organization
Another long-standing tradition in the medical community that can help you to achieve more in your nursing career is that of the professional organization or network. Such organizations are incredibly valuable when you are looking to both build your professional network and stay apprised of the latest news and updates regarding your particular field of medicine.
Such organizations tend to be nationwide and are designed to keep medical professionals connected. Since the sharing of information and experiences in the field of medicine is such a valuable thing, these organizations fulfill a great purpose.
Most nurses choose to join the American Nurses Association, which is a general organization for nurses regardless of the particular niche of medicine they work in. There are, however, many other organizations that pertain to specific areas of medicine. For instance, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses is for those nurses who work in the surgical side of nursing.
Such organizations can offer support to you in your career regardless of where you currently are. Many choose to enroll in a professional organization when they are still in nursing school in order to obtain all the benefits that are offered through them.
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