As a nurse, you have most likely considered how to secure a promotion at one point or another. After all, climbing the nursing ladder means more respect, a higher salary, and more leadership opportunities. It’s not always easy, though, especially when many nurses strive toward the same goals. So, to ensure it is you who advances in your nursing career, read on.
Apply for an Advanced Degree
The one true way to advance in your nursing career is to apply for an advanced degree. There are MSN NP programs where you can study for your entire master’s degree online, allowing you to keep pursuing your current nursing role while you study. By doing this, you can become a nurse practitioner, where you will earn an average of $107K per year while gaining extra responsibilities, such as diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medications.
Remember – studying while working isn’t easy, so you should prepare yourself for long, busy days and lots of hard work. Improving your time management skills, keeping a schedule, and keeping in touch with tutors will ensure you don’t fall behind on your work.
Show Up on Time Every Single Time
Time management is an essential skill for nurses who wish to advance. After all, no one wants to promote a nurse who often shows up late or takes an extra five minutes on their lunch break. So, to stand out from the crowd and show that you are reliable enough for a leadership role, show up on time every single time.
If you struggle to do this, a couple of things that can help include preparing your outfits the night before, setting off twenty minutes earlier, and keeping quick, easy breakfast foods in the pantry.
Be a Natural Leader (Even When You’re Not Asked to Be)
With so many nurses with ambition, you must be willing to take on a leadership role to gain the attention you need to advance. To do this, make sure you put your name forward whenever there are leadership opportunities in projects. It’s also handy to act as a leader even when you’re not asked to. That doesn’t mean bossing people around; instead, be the one who solves conflicts and settles undecided decisions.
Being a natural leader isn’t always easy, especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Fortunately, there are ways to develop this skill, such as practicing discipline and becoming a better listener. So, over time, assuming the leadership role will come naturally to you.
Ask for More Training
As a nurse, and especially as an ambitious nurse, your education never truly ends. You can speed up how quickly you learn, though, by asking your supervisor for additional training. There are plenty of training opportunities for nurses that will improve your skills and help you climb the ladder quicker; plus, the simple act of asking for it proves to your superiors that you are serious about advancement.
Let Your Supervisor Know Your Goals
Your managers and supervisor need to know what your goals are, as they will be more likely to notice your efforts if they understand where you are heading. Plus, there’ll be more likely to recommend you for a promotion if you’ve proven to be ambitious.
You shouldn’t say you have high ambitions without acting on them, though, as this will make you seem all talk and no action. Once you have stated that you plan on applying to msn np programs or becoming a nurse manager, make sure you put in the effort to make that come true.
Stay Organized by Keeping a Diary
You cannot think about advancing as a nurse if you’re not well organized. Fortunately, getting organized isn’t too hard, especially if you invest in a good diary and keep up to date with it. This will help when studying for msn np programs, too.
At the beginning of each week, write your plans into your diary’s calendar to not miss a single thing. If you don’t want to carry a physical calendar, there are plenty of apps you can use, too. Leaders need to be reliable, and by focusing on organization, you can be.
Focus on the Quality of Your Care
Of course, to impress your supervisor, you’ve also got to impress the patients. After all, providing great care is most likely one of the reasons you became a nurse in the first place! While you’ve probably got the common nursing tasks down like assessing patients and taking blood, it’s a little more challenging to put on the same positive face every day. To make a good impression, though, it’s a must. Here’s how to do it:
Remember Personal Information
Remembering a patient’s full name (without looking at a sheet) or how old their dog is may seem like a small gesture to you, but to a patient, it makes them feel appreciated and cared for. So, when a patient is telling you little things about their life, try to remember it, and then bring it up later.
Give as Much Attention as You Can
When someone needs to see a nurse, it means they need attention. So even if they seem fine, it’s crucial to see them as often as you can and keep checking upon them, as they will feel better cared for and more appreciative of you.
Have a Sense of Humor
Sometimes it’s better to laugh in the face of illness rather than succumb to misery. While it’s important to sympathize when delivering bad news, you should also have a laugh with your patients when they seem in the mood for it. This will make them feel more comfortable around you and, in turn, like you more.
Keep a Friendly Tone and Manner
No matter how rough your day has been, it’s essential to keep a friendly tone and manner to make the patients feel relaxed around you. After all, they don’t always know what you have been through, and they deserve to feel safe and secure in your hands.
The better you are with the patients, the more likely they are to compliment you to the other staff, increasing your chances of a promotion.
Consider Which Path You’d Like to Take
It’s not enough to simply know that you want to advance. To focus your direction, you should understand exactly where you are heading. If you want to become a general nurse practitioner, for example, then you should look into the entry requirements for msn np programs. If you want to become a nurse manager, though, then there are other master’s degrees to accommodate that. By knowing your exact path, you’ll have an easier time figuring out how to get there.
Study a Part-Time Online Course
It can be difficult to fit an entire master’s degree around your current work, especially when trying to impress your supervisors with your work ethic and performance. Luckily, some msn np programs allow you to take one course at a time so that you can still focus on your nursing role. In addition, it means that you can attain the qualifications you need at your own pace, so you don’t have to put any other obligations to the side.
Make Friends with Your Co-Workers
While you don’t have to be best buddies with everyone on your ward or in the clinic, it is helpful to be surrounded by friendly faces. Having friends as a nurse means you always have a support network should anything go wrong; plus, people will be more likely to recommend you for a higher position if they like you as a person! Of course, there’s no point in forcing friendships, but you should be kind to everyone you work with, and if close friendships naturally form, embrace them.
Remember to pursue friendships in your courses, too. If you’re applying to msn np programs, for example, you should integrate yourself into the close online community they have on offer. By doing so, you open yourself up to even more career opportunities.
Always Be Prepared
All nurses are told that preparation is a must in nursing school, but it’s so important that it’s worth saying again. While you don’t need all your equipment on you at one time, showing up to a doctor without a pen or pad is a foolish move. After a while, you come to know what equipment you will need for what, so ensure it is always on your person when appropriate.
Stay Professional at All Times
Staying professional while at work doesn’t mean not laughing now and again. Instead, it means maintaining competence, proper dress, and the right attitude for the situation. For example, it is unprofessional to laugh close to a sick patients’ bed when they have just been given bad health news. The same applies for doing msn np programs and other courses, too – always stay professional.
Most of all, you should avoid any workplace gossip and drama. No matter how tempted you are to join in on those conversations, it’ll only make you look unprofessional and could affect your chances of securing a promotion. Especially if any of your superiors think you could have been gossiping about them! Be the person that always avoids drama, and you will gain far more respect from your co-workers.
Never Stop Networking
Just because you have secured a great position as a nurse doesn’t mean your journey is complete. By constantly networking, you open the door to endless opportunities. While you might not take the first one you receive, there might be an interview offer in the future that’s perfect for you. To network effectively, focus on your interpersonal skills and keep a professional manner at all times.
Take Care of Your Health
Your health directly affects your work performance, and that includes your mental health, too. To avoid reaching burnout, you should:
Open Up to Your Friends
Your friends are there for the bad times as well as the good, so if you are struggling with work or your msn np programs, schedule drinks with some old friends.
Get Plenty of Fresh Air
Nurses are often guilty of staying inside for far too long, whether that’s their home when catching up on sleep or a hospital ward for a sixteen-hour shift. This can harm your mental and physical health, so aim to step outside during your breaks and breathe in some much-needed fresh air.
Cook Healthy Meals
Cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be difficult. Look online for easy but healthy recipes to ensure you get all the nutrients you need to keep going during those long shifts.
Don’t Take on Too Much Overtime
If you want a promotion, you probably think it’s wise to take on as much overtime as possible, but this isn’t always helpful. In fact, you will appear far more sensible (and awake!) if you take the breaks you need to and avoid burnout.
Help Out Your Co-Workers
Nothing good comes out of withholding your help from your fellow nurses. In fact, it’ll only show poorly on you to do so. But, on the other hand, by being a great team member and helping out your co-workers when they need it, you will show strong leadership skills as well as unwavering talent.
Keep an Eye Out for Job Openings
It might go without saying, but a surprising number of ambitious nurses forget to keep an eye out for job openings at other clinics and hospitals. So when you stumble across a role that suits your goals, remember to spend plenty of time on your application form and then work on your interviewing skills.
Remember Where You Are Heading
Whether you decide to look into MSN NP programs or find a leadership training course, keep in mind where you are heading at all times. That way, you are more likely to keep putting in the required work to get there.
Advancing as a nurse is a tough challenge, but as long as you stay focused, motivated, and hard-working, you will surely achieve your goals.