The Five Methods to Create an Outstanding Nursing Career

The power to shape your nursing career in ways that fulfill your overall professional and personal aspirations is entirely in your control. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the nursing industry will grow 19 percent by 2022, the BLS also suggests that nurses with diversified skills and more education have better job prospects. If you're seeking to broaden your horizons or boost your marketability, it's essential to find innovative ways to stand out on a nursing team. Whether you continue to learn, champion a cause, take charge, get certified, or spearhead research, you'll be paving a better path to career advancement.

1. Pursue an Advanced Degree

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 39 percent of hospital employers require nurses to have a BSN, while an overwhelming 77 percent of these facilities surveyed by AACN actually prefer graduates with at least a bachelor's degree. Advanced education plays a vital role in the health care field. When evidence-based scientific breakthroughs occur and technology evolves, nursing professionals must stay updated with the latest innovations to improve patient outcomes. These factors are essential to the ways nursing professionals do their jobs.

Continued education enables nurses to gain new knowledge and competencies. The advanced knowledge and expertise acquired from continued nursing education prepares professionals for increased opportunities. Fortunately, there is no need to sacrifice your current nursing position while pursuing these goals. Advanced Online degree programs (RN to BSN and MSN) offer the distinct advantage of studying at your own pace in a way that seamlessly fits alongside your work schedule.

2. Engage in Industry Advocacy

The impact of nurses extends far beyond the hospital bedside. Nurses have the ability to distinguish themselves from colleagues by becoming a catalyst for change. For those passionate about giving patients a louder voice for their rights, promoting the profession, or strategizing on ways to improve the health care system, there are small ways to make a big difference.

Nursing professionals should consider joining a professional nursing organization, staying active in both local and national levels. According to research published by Nursing World, joining a professional organization is the key to influencing health policy and evidence-based nursing practice.

Participating in professional nursing organizations provides connections with other professionals, which can be vital in seeking out new opportunities. Organizations activities include presentations and articles, including research, clinical tips, and discussion of evidence-based practice in your specialty area. Involvement in local and state legislative activities gives nursing a voice and advocates for the health of the community.

3. Live Leadership Qualities

Professional nurses are all leaders. One's daily actions can speak volumes about leadership abilities. Mentoring novice professionals and going the extra mile to help nurses who are acclimating to their new positions is an illustration of leadership that benefits the profession and the patients. By cultivating these decision-making skills, teams and management may naturally turn to nurses for input on a patient or teaching others.

4. Get Certified

Certification is a nationally recognized measure that goes beyond mere field competence to demonstrate rigorous quality standards in education and practice in that specialty area.

Employers value certification and continued education. For example, as the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses found, certification is directly linked to better care. The renowned American Board of Nursing Specialties also outlines approximately 60 different types of specialized certification programs that nurses can pursue to expand their professional opportunities.

5. Develop Research

Nursing professionals are the closest connection to patients' needs, daily work environments, workflow challenges, and community needs. This affords the opportunity for involvement in research and evidence-based practice.

Nurses also have the opportunity to implement change. By integrating the measurement of data from daily nursing practice, individuals can work toward solutions to issues or generate ideas that make strides in quality care. Conducting research efforts can demonstrate initiative to improve patient care and workflow to advanced practice team members. Additionally, when nurses can integrate their findings into a work environment, they're validating the overall contribution to the team and profession as a whole.

Quality education through online RN to BSN in Nursing or an MSN is at the root of differentiating yourself from other nursing professionals. Online nursing bachelor degree programs like those offered by the University of Saint Mary prepare you for new career advancement opportunities while conveniently enabling you to preserve the strides you've made in your current career, as you simultaneously work and learn. This advanced education opens the doors to learning how to apply leadership qualities to clinical practice, finding networks to get involved in, exploring research methods, and developing increased knowledge in your specialization. The chance to set yourself apart is within reach; it's up to you to seize it.