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How to Work Towards a Nursing Career: A Guide

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In this article, take a look at the essentials you need to have in place to qualify as a nurse, and how you can forge your own unique and exciting career in nursing, using all you’ve learned to progress to the position you most desire.


Before you look at any other aspect of nursing, it’s critical to mention that a nurse will require training to be allowed to work in any form of medical or palliative care. This makes sense – you cannot have any individual walking into a ward and beginning to administer medicines to vulnerable people. There are a number of different courses out there to become a nurse. There are undergraduate-style degrees, which teach you the basics, and then there are master’s ones, such as the online pediatric nurse practitioner programs, which give you specific skills if you prefer to work with children.


 Some nurses start out in their careers with a well-defined idea of where they’d like to go in their work and how they would like to specialize. Others don’t have a clue and instead work in a wide array of different institutions across their career before ether find the right role for them. Whether you’re the former or the latter, it’s important that you jump at opportunities to work or gain experience in different areas of nursing care. That way, you’ll hone in on the most rewarding aspect of the job, which you can then pursue in the years following your realization.


 Nursing has its own hierarchy, just like other careers. As you spend more time on the ward and gain years and years of experience, you’ll see your salary rise. Depending on where you work, you may also be able to take more control over your shift patterns. As you gain experience in nursing, you may have more of a say in your shift pattern. If you’re looking to become a senior nurse, though, with a different job title and responsibilities, you should work hard to Gian the experience required for the role and to gradually pick up more responsibilities so that you’re one day ready to take the jump.

Tips for advancing your nursing career

Advancing your nursing career is like any other- It takes considerable contemplation because it will be a significant change. You’ll be stepping outside your comfort zone by engaging in new things, be it a new field, facility, or country. Like any other career change, it would be wise to implement a plan of action to help you decide what is best for your change of choice.

Rasmussen University has contacted experienced nurses about their suggestions for nurses who wish to embark on a new challenge or advance their careers. Here are a few tips that can help you on your journey:

1. Find a mentor

It is an invaluable asset to have people in your corner who can provide you with a professional reference or put you in touch with resources. Catherine Burger, BSN, says, “The mentors provide insight and help me professionally grow and mature while the sponsors are my cheerleaders behind the closed doors of the executive suite.” Finding someone with experience to help guide you can give you a lot of insight.

2. Consider specializing

Different specialties will likely require other qualifications, education, or experience. However, this does not mean you can’t achieve- all it takes is learning about various specialties and picking one you feel would be a good fit.

3. Follow nursing blogs

Experience from other nurses can provide much more insight than you may have initially thought. They could give details on a specialty or facility you were unaware of. There are thousands of blogs out there, meaning thousands of new ideas that can be brought forth. You could gain awareness about specific fields, learn about the latest ideas and trends in nursing practice from seasoned experts, and understand how healthcare systems operate.

4. Experience different fields

One sure way to gain a deeper understanding of your future choice(s) is to dip your toes into it. One way to do this in nursing is by working in as many nursing units as possible. It can help you learn about what you like and dislike before committing. It also helps you regardless of your final choice because nurses who have experience in more than one unit are considered more valuable to hospitals, for example, because they can fulfill needs as the daily goals change. This diverse experience can also make you more attractive as a candidate for management positions.

5. Explore continuing education

It is a certainty that the healthcare industry is constantly evolving due to the advent of new experiences, research, and technology, and that means that staying up to date with this information is part of a nursing career, regardless of your specialty. Sometimes, keeping up-to-date with new advancements, practices, and techniques might be mandatory. Nicole Nash-Arnold, founder of Nurse Manager HQ, notes, “A high level of clinical expertise will help you stand out, but decision-makers are looking for nurses who can transition their mindset and are ready to hold new challenges with vigor… Completing professional development around non-clinical areas (for example, leadership, education skills, communication, conflict management) will send the message that you’re ready for this new frontier”.

Whatever your next step of choice may be, think about it carefully so that your actions can reflect (and help you reach) your goal. If your goal is not yet defined, research and try to focus on a specific task that can help guide you. Feel free to review our resources about becoming a nurse in Australia.

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