When you are working as a nurse, you see a lot and experience a lot too. This experience can often inspire you to do more and to be more. However, do you know where to start (in terms of progression and change) and which direction you wish to move in? Career progression within nursing can be straightforward and highly achievable if you want it to be – all you need to do is start putting the wheels in motion.
Why Career Progression is On the Cards
To get your journey started, you need to decide what career progression is on the cards and why? You will struggle to progress easily if you do not know what you want to achieve. You also need to establish just why you want to move forwards. Once established, you can begin mapping out your career and taking action. So, is career progression on the cards because you need a new challenge? Or is it on the cards because you want a change of direction or perhaps a new purpose? What is pushing you to make changes in your career? Identifying where your motivation is stemming from is important because further down the line, this will give you clarity and purpose for your career progression.
Knowing That Progression is Right
There may be times on your journey when you doubt progression is right in your career. However, when you are feeling like this, just remember why you wanted to progress in the first place. For example, if you know that you are not realizing your full potential, then you know that career progression is right. If you feel that you can better use your experience and knowledge in another role, you know that career progression is right. You can often feel the time is right to make this change in your career and working journey, and your instinct is something that you should listen to. If you go against what your gut tells you, you may make a career move that is not genuine or reflective of you and what you want.
Enjoying Your Development and Growth
The process of career progression can sometimes be feared and even dreaded, especially when you may have to change your role and personal life. However, if you are looking at progression filled with dread, you will struggle to succeed, and you will certainly struggle to get the most out of your career. Instead, look at career progression in a positive light and thoroughly enjoy the process. Along the way, you will learn new things about yourself, and this will help you become better nursing professional. On the other hand, if you are closed off to the process and see it in a negative light, you may find that this mindset and attitude negatively impacts your efforts.
Deciding What Role is Right For You
Now that you know career progression is firmly on the cards, it is time to decide what role is right for you and why. Do you want to find a role that uses your skills, knowledge and experience? Are you looking for a role that impacts the lives of those in your local community? What is important to you, and what is important to your future? There are a wide variety of roles on offer, and some may mean that you retain hands-on nursing, while others may not (for example, in leadership). Deciding what you want to do is very important because it will provide the basis for your decisions moving forward. If you are indecisive and still weighing up options, then make sure you get clarity before pushing forwards.
Becoming an FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner)
If you want a role that allows you to be more involved within local communities, why not look at becoming an FNP. A family nurse practitioner is a prestigious role, allowing you to be with local families and communities as they grow and evolve. As a family nurse practitioner, you will still get to give hands-on care and the opportunity to prescribe medicines and administer them. As an FNP, you will find that many of your roles and responsibilities are very similar to that of a doctor. However, unlike a doctor, a family nurse practitioner stays with a family unit, builds bonds and monitors their progress over time.
Looking at Leadership
You may have seen a lot from your time nursing, and this may be beneficial to a leadership position. When you are a leader, you get to make direct change and impact, which is valuable – especially when you know why change needs to happen and how. Within nursing leadership, you get the opportunity to make a difference to patients and other professionals alike – especially if you are looking at nursing leadership. As a leader, you can directly use your experience and knowledge, and you can use this to improve the healthcare settings that you work in. If you enjoy challenges and leading others, then a leadership position may work well for you. To be sure that leadership is the right way to go, why not look at the leaders around you and see what they are doing. Are they doing a good job, have impactful change, and most importantly, could you be doing better?
Setting Yourself Goals
To progress to the role that you would like, you have to start looking at setting goals. You may struggle to achieve what you want if you don’t use goals and the process of goal setting. Setting goals and working towards them can help you break down career growth and make it more achievable and attainable – ideally, this is what you want. Setting short term goals can help you to stay motivated and focused, too, especially if your career growth means undergoing a journey that lasts several years. If, for example, you wish to enter nursing leadership, you would set out short-term goals that focus on how you would reach this end goal, such as building experience and knowledge within the next couple of years. Then, return to education and studying within the next year. Breaking down the end goal with smaller goals will help keep your progression on track and realistic.
Making the Commitment
To succeed and thrive with career progression, you must be willing to commit to change and grow. If you are unwilling to commit, you may find that you let yourself down and even hold yourself back. Along the way, there will be obstacles and hurdles that you will have to face, and this is why commitment is so important. If you are not committed, you will fall at the obstacles, and ultimately you will fail. Commitment and resilience are crucial when it comes to a career change. You will face competition for other candidates, and you will have to prove your worth, and having that commitment behind you just gives you that extra bit of strength and power.
Planning a Route That Works for You
No matter where you are starting your career progression, it is crucial to look carefully at the route that you want to take. When you have a route planned out, you can then be confident with the moves that you take. Even if your route does change or alter over time, you will still be following it, and this is why it is crucial to establish (sooner rather than later). When you are planning a route that works for you, make sure you look at time as well. You will still be in your current role as you progress your career, so make sure that you can fit everything in. You do not want to feel overwhelmed by cramming too much into any given day or week. Similarly, look at the bigger picture of time, and see where you want to be in the next few years. Giving your goals and career ambitions a timescale will help you to keep pushing and getting closer each day.
Focusing on Your Education
Your education will play an important role in your career progression. Your professional development and your level of education will help you secure the roles and positions that you want. It is important to focus on enhancing your education whenever (and wherever) you can. This may mean returning to college or university to study for an advanced program, or it may mean enrolling on continual professional development programs. Embracing education and seeing it as a fundamental part of your career and progression is important.
It is worth remembering that sometimes career progression can be tough and it can be challenging. When you are carrying on in your role but pushing forwards, you are going to feel stretched in every direction, and you are going to feel tired. Learning how to juggle everything and learning how to get a workable balance for you is important.