How to Advance Your Nursing Career

Aug 15, 2019 by

It is a common misconception that all nurses are the same. The reality is, each nurse takes a specialized path to work in a particular field they are in. A registered nurse (RN) differs from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) because of their varying education level, and this dictates the type of nurse they become.

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To become an RN, you must get an associate’s degree (ADN) and be working within the medical industry, often under a specific specialty. You also must have passed your state board exam (NCLEX-RN) and have fulfilled your licensing requirements enforced by the state you work in. A BSN is another class of RN that’s defined by higher education status. To get a BSN, you must either have accomplished your associate’s degree in nursing or have enrolled in the four-year nursing program with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from your undergraduate curriculum.

While you may already work as an RN without having a BSN degree, choosing to get it would open you up to better career opportunities and higher pay. According to an American Association of Colleges of Nursing prediction, health facilities hoping to attain Magnet status will need to add their BSN workforce to 80%. So, if you are keen on prepping for the next stage of your BSN-prepared career, this article highlights the steps to follow. And it is not just limited to RN nurses, the guide is also essential for Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who are aspiring to be BSN-ready nurses.

Enhance your education

Your first step should be to apply to accredited nursing programs. While doing this, you have to ensure that the institution you are signing up with is authorized to avoid the risk of your degree being contested later on. If you don’t have enough funds, you may want to apply for financial aid to pay for your studies. Note that education plays a critical role in your career advancement. With every certificate or degree in specialized nursing, you have more options for better opportunities and job satisfaction.

Besides, continuing education courses are recommended for all nurses, but they are especially beneficial if you are pursuing a leadership position or higher degrees. And the best part is that it helps you keep abreast with the latest research and best practices in the nursing field. A more educated nurse is safer than one who isn’t. Education needs commitment – it takes lots of time and energy, but in the end, offers both personal and professional rewards.

Grow and use your networks

Another great way of advancing your nursing career is by building and utilizing your networks to grow. As you climb your career ladder, you’ll need to open up to meet new people in your industry. Take advantage of professional networks like state and national nursing associations to connect. Networking is critical for advancing your career and is also a source of learning and new ideas.

Pursue professionalism

Components of nursing professionals include upholding patient confidentiality, being honest, building strong people skills, respect for individuals, maintaining a positive attitude, keeping up with industry developments, and maintaining competency. You also need to present yourself as a professional at work and off work. Today, employers check candidate’s social pages to get a bigger picture of an individual – you don’t want to leave your reputation to chance.

Volunteer and get involved

One of the best ways to stand out in your field is by showing interest and willingness to be involved in different things. So, instead of sitting in the house and waiting for a good job, get out there and volunteer in various activities in your field. This way, you will meet new people that may enhance your career. It also allows you to cultivate skills, incubate your talent and make contacts.

Pursue additional certificates

Adding more certificates to your name is a great way to advance your nursing career. If you are aiming for a specific nursing field, like surgery, pediatrics or emergency medicine, you should consider enrolling to some courses and pursuing professional certification.

Attend conferences

Nursing conferences provide not only the best opportunity to learn from industry experts but also a great place to connect with other professionals in attendance.

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