6 Growth Tips for Your Nursing Career
Nursing is hard and challenging, but it is rewarding and honorable. If you are in the nursing field, chances are you are thinking about going back to school to earn your degree in nursing, or you are just at the beginning of your career and want to flesh out your future career plans beforehand.
Either way, you are likely well aware of the challenges that lie ahead. It is no exaggeration to say that nursing school requires hard work. But with the right attitude and guidance, you can do it too. Here are some tips that can help you grow in your nursing career.
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Master Of Science In Nursing (MSN)
A Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) can be a powerful tool for anyone in the nursing field. Nurses who earn their Master’s degrees are better qualified for leadership and managerial positions. It is also a frequent job requirement for nurse-midwives and research positions.
Going from being a Registered Nurse (RN) to gaining a Master’s of Science in Nursing programs opens doors to greater job opportunities, often with higher pay. Programs like this can help you excel in your career. Pursuing a teaching role within nursing is also a possibility.
Professions For Nurses Going From RN To MSN
Earning your Master’s degree in nursing paves the way to several branches in the nursing field. Some of the options for nurses with MSN include:
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
- Nurse Administrator
- Nurse Educator
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Getting Your Master’s In Nursing Degree
If you have a diploma as a registered nurse (RN), you have a few options, including an online RN to MSN degree program. The most common is the traditional route: earning your bachelor’s (BSN) and then applying to an MSN program. Alternative options are also available where RNs can simultaneously earn their BSN and MSN, known as RN-to-MSN bridge programs.
These typically allow RNs to earn their MSN about a year earlier than the traditional route.
Seek Advice From Mentors
Having a role model who can share their goldmine of wisdom as you start your nursing career can be life-changing. Nothing can replace the real-life insights of an experienced colleague -it’s not something found between the pages of a textbook.
Many medical institutions pair new and experienced employees from the start. Some hospitals and workplaces sponsor mentorship programs for new nurses to work alongside older professionals in the field and learn from their expertise. You can ask them informally to mentor you. You can set up meetings at regular intervals to ask questions, receive feedback, and check-in with one another. Your mentor can provide you with a rare and highly invaluable level of insight.
Volunteer With Different Institutions
By volunteering with different health organizations, you can enhance your existing skills or gain new ones and bridge gaps in knowledge and experience that you might have otherwise found tricky to fill. In some cases, free training will be provided, and you may need to spare a few hours on your professional growth.
Volunteering in different departments helps you get hands-on experience in many branches of the medical field. Furthermore, it also builds self-esteem and improves your confidence. Moreover, medical organizations are always on the lookout for volunteer nurses. Offering your skills in these volunteer programs can help you earn brownie points when potential employers seek recruitment.
Learn From Your Peers
Your peers can often help you with your struggles because they are in the same boat, and they might know solutions to problems that you might not have found answers to yet. This help could be as simple as asking someone in your workplace if you can follow their steps or if they could spare some time to give you any career advice and tips.
Asking a few simple questions might help you get a foot in the door:
- What did they do to get hired?
- Where are they now?
- And whether they have any contacts with which they can put you in touch.
Inquiring about the resource they found helpful or the courses they took. Having all this information available can widen your pool of options and opportunities and give you an edge on the road to success in your career. Sharing experiences and stories and expanding your network with like-minded people who have similar challenges can help build morale and foster a sense of camaraderie.
Stay Up-To-Date With Online Education
If you’re currently employed as a nurse, finding the time to commit yourself to further education can be challenging. If you’re in a full-time position, you’re not going to be able to study at a traditional nursing school. Many nursing programs and degrees can be studied online at your own pace, providing you with tons of flexibility. A few of the multiple benefits you receive from studying online are comfortable learning from home, a customizable schedule, and 24/7 access to your course materials.
Organize Your Study Schedule
Organizing yourself is a crucial task that should not be overlooked. As a nurse, you have many duties and responsibilities, such as paperwork and care tasks, usually all on the same day. It can be challenging to maintain a high-efficiency level as these duties require energy and attention. It would be best to segment your tasks by categorizing your chores into different time slots that you’ll take care of one by one.
With your multiple roles as a student, a working nurse, and a caregiver, you will need an efficient way to keep track of all your obligations. There are plenty of apps that can help you with productivity, time management, and scheduling. Some examples are Google Keep, Evernote, which helps you store and maintain notes and ideas, and Google Drive, a helpful app to manage all your work and study-related stuff in one place.
Whether studying online or at a traditional campus, even as a graduate nurse, staying organized is important for staying sane in a demanding lifestyle.
Prioritize Your Health
Studying while simultaneously working may likely lead to fatigue and burnout. However, this can be prevented by taking well-timed breaks while studying. These balanced breaks help you increase efficiency, improve your attention span, feel less sluggish, and let you recharge while learning. Research has shown that after a certain amount of time, our brain performance starts declining, and if you force yourself to keep cramming in the information, it might be counter-effective, and you might not retain any of it.
Additionally, you could employ the Pomodoro technique to study for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break to refresh.
Getting enough sleep is another important aspect that aids you in staying energized and attentive throughout your day. Regular exercise can help with memory and information retention in the long term.
Do not skip meals because loading up on proper nutrition is paramount in keeping up with a hectic lifestyle. Keep in mind that the goal is to eat healthily – stuffing a protein bar for lunch and two mugs of coffee for breakfast does not count as eating healthy. Staying hydrated is equally important in staying physically competent to deal with daily challenges.
Lastly, keeping a positive attitude towards your work and studies will make you feel more adept at breezing through the stage of further education while working.
Nursing is known to be one of the most demanding professions, and having to study on top of looking after patients all day is a real challenge. However, it can be realistically tackled if you are well-prepared going into it. Staying organized, having a strong network and support system that can guide you, and staying healthy and hydrated are some of the things that you need to take care of to pass this stage of your life with flying colors.