By the end of 2026, nursing is going to be one of the most demanding careers. With more individuals training to become nurses, there is also a little pressure developing to make the best of your nursing career education to excel in the workplace. Most of the nurses are here because they feel it’s where they belong – to provide quality care for patients and genuinely interested in saving and improving lives. Even if you think nursing chooses you or you choose to nurse you’ll need to plan for your education programs, quality caring, and on-the-job experience.
When you think about moving forward with your nursing career and advancing skills you have to focus on planning your career. Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you want to work? What skills do you have to develop to achieve your goals? Should you have to advance your skills with higher education? Be prepared for yourself. Here are some tips to help you determine your career path in nursing:
Plan your journey
Why do you need to plan your journey? Does it seem unimportant to you? Or do you picture yourself in a better position? Do you see yourself as a nurse practitioner or leader? What relevant steps do you have to take to be there?
Find yourself first. Understand your life goals. Understand where you want to be in five years. Build your career goal chart and research about what skill sets and certifications you need. Some career options may require advanced education criteria and experience. Be prepared to start your journey as a registered nurse (RN) and achieve your goals step by step. Stay current – be actively engaged with the latest technological skills and healthcare information because this will help you to achieve your goals easier.
Understand the value of soft skills
As a nurse, what are your potential soft skills? These not only improve the patient-nurse relationship but also contribute to the relationship with other team members and the communities. Build your communication skills – good communication begins even before you speak. Communication is a broad section to learn and practice. For example, maintain eye contact with your patient and their loved ones:
- This simple gesture will let them know that you are genuine.
- It will tell them that you respect them and value their personal space.
- You are acknowledging their presence and privacy.
- Most importantly, it tells them that you are interested in what they have to say.
A simple gesture like “maintaining eye contact” can make so many impressions, thus you have to practice more soft skill manners.
Practice empathy – this will better help you with how to talk or what to say in certain situations. As a healthcare worker, you may have to let your patient’s family know what they are going through, what to expect, or what just happened. If you are not mentally prepared to deal with certain situations, that will be hard for you and them. Practicing empathy will help you to understand and share the feelings of others. Be active, it will help you to acknowledge your patient’s emotional and mental state.
Advance your knowledge
With more than 3.8 million members, nurses represent the largest segment of the U.S. health care workforce. As an evergreen career by the end of 2025 nursing is going to be a field with more than 2 billion opportunities. Currently, 18% of nurses have a master’s degree and only 4% hold a doctoral degree. Are you ready to elevate your career?
You need to advance your career with proper skill sets and knowledge base to be in a position where you want to be. Going back to your school phase and getting an advanced degree or certification in the desired field will improve your practical knowledge and skills necessary to further your nursing career and promotion. If you are thinking about going back to your school and are not going to work, you can consider joining an online nursing program.
Find yourself a mentor. Mentors are great sources of information in and out of the field and they will assist you with your career preferences. Find yourself an experienced and successful person with who you are most comfortable with either inside or outside of your organization. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, because that’s what mentors are for – to help you guide through your career path.
Socialize and build your network
Find some time for yourself to get socially informative. Explore the platforms, join relevant groups and communities, build valuable relationships with other healthcare professionals. One of the best ways to be socially active is to find and join nursing organizations and attend conferences. This will help you to build your professional network and advance your nursing knowledge and skills.
Reach out to your colleagues, communities inside and outside of your organization, make more personal and professional connections. Attending nursing conferences will give you the perfect opportunity to improve your knowledge base by giving you the opportunity to meet with other professionals who share the same interests from different organizations.
You can also volunteer and get involved in healthcare programs. This is also another great opportunity to meet with fellow professionals and build your relationship with them. Getting involved in volunteer works will give you a chance to incubate your talent, cultivate skills, and leverage your people skills.
Take care of yourself
Career and life should be at peace. Work-life balance is critical to your health and performance as a nurse on the floor. Always give priority to your health before work.
Also, invest in some quality shoes and scrubs as this will help you to go easy on your shits. When it comes to being fashionable or comfortable – choose comfortably. Bored at your work or feeling exhausted? Take a break! Spend some time with your loved ones, go hiking, plan a trip, do things that make you happy.