5 ways to advance your nursing career

Nursing is a rewarding and exciting career choice that provides you with a vast number of opportunities for advancement, as long as you have obtained the credentials to match your passion. Nurses who obtain specialization credentials are always in high demand. If you are a nurse who is looking to obtain a promotion or change careers within the field of nursing, here are a few methods that will help further your career in nursing.

Register for Continuing Education Courses

Continuing education courses are college level, professional development classes that can help nurses build on their skills and advance their careers. These adult education courses are designed to help nursing professionals become specialists in multiple areas of health and medicine. As a nurse, you are unquestioningly devoted to providing optimal health care services to your patients, so you should be just as proactive about staying informed on the latest specializations and best practices in nursing. Regardless of your nursing degree level or professional aptitude, registering for a continuing education class in a nursing specialization will teach you valuable information and innovative techniques that support the skills and knowledge you have already gained. Staying informed about industry changes will show your employers, your patients, and yourself that you are ready to take your passion for nursing to another level.

Join a Professional Nursing Organization

While school and work provide many resources and contacts that assist you in your career, you can grow your potential for success by joining one or two professional organizations. In general, professional organizations are set up to offer great networking opportunities to their members, as well as enhance their personal and professional development. There are hundreds of professional nursing organizations worldwide to choose from. Many of them give scholarships, compile and distribute career guides, post jobs by state, organize community events, manage blogs, and host conferences. Others offer unique opportunities to members. Whether you are looking to connect with nurses who have the same cultural background, affiliate yourself with other professionals in your field, or attend a conference about medical advances in the last decade, there is a professional nursing organization that meets your need. As you plan the route you will take to progress in your career, add joining a professional nursing organization to your list of accomplishments. This professional investment will bolster your resume and impress your superiors.

Pursue Additional Health Professional Certifications

Obtaining a health professional certification is another admirable way to complement your nursing credentials. Professional nursing certifications are designed to help nurses further their education at an affordable cost and in less time than it takes to finish a continuing education course. Nurses can obtain professional certifications in areas such as nursing informatics, acute/critical care, forensic nursing, advanced oncology, emergency medicine, and more. Professional certification courses are often offered online to accommodate nursing professionals’ busy schedules. Many times, nurses who receive certifications in underserved areas are immediately promoted to leadership positions. For example, nurses who finish their ACLS recertification online qualify for a pay raise and tuition reimbursement for the course. If you are interested in receiving training that makes your skill set invaluable to your team members and patients, consider obtaining a health professional certificate.

Obtain an Advanced Degree

As you grow as a nurse, you may become interested in a specialized area that you are not qualified to apply to because you lack an advanced nursing degree. Once you realize your work ethic and years of on-the-job experience alone are not enough to qualify you for the position you desire, the next best thing to do is to research if an advanced degree is offered in that specialty or a related field. In fact, it is standard protocol in the nursing field for administrative roles, management positions, and teaching positions to be awarded to nurses with masters or doctorate degrees. Earning your master’s or doctorate degree in nursing or a related specialty will qualify you for careers in research, hospital administration, government, media and communications, technology, even law. On average, a nurse with a master’s degree (MSN) earns $20,000 more than a registered nurse (BSN), and a doctor of nursing practitioner (DNP) earns $30,000 more than a registered nurse.

Volunteer at Health or Community Based Organizations

The benefits of volunteering are enormous, and the right organization can provide you with new skills and recommendations that will advance your career. There are countless volunteer opportunities for nurses to show compassion and give back to their communities. Nurses who volunteer are in a unique position to practice important interpersonal skills and learn from other medical experts and related professionals. If you are a nurse who is considering a career or position change, volunteering can help you get the experience you need while you foster connections and restore the health and minds of community members.