Nursing is known for being one of the most caring and rewarding career paths in the world. Whether you are just getting started with applying for your nursing degree or are already working in healthcare and want to advance your nursing and healthcare career, the good news is that there are several great options available that will help you advance up the career ladder in this profession.
If you’re a licensed practical nurse or another healthcare professional, there are several study options to consider to help you reach your goal of becoming a registered nurse. For registered nurses, there are tons of advancement opportunities to consider, including countless nursing specialties, nurse management and leadership positions, or working as a nurse practitioner.
Here are some of the main things to consider when it comes to advancing your nursing career.
What to Study
Finding the right degree program for you to study is key to advancing your future nursing career. Think about your current qualifications, how you would like to study, and where you want your qualification to take you. If you are already working in healthcare and would like to become a registered nurse, you may be able to use your existing bachelor’s degree to get onto accelerated nursing programs from Baylor University and earn your BSN to become a registered nurse in half the time that you would expect the traditional program to take. If you are already an RN, consider the master’s degree options available, as well as family nurse practitioner programs to find something suitable for your future career goals.
How to Study
Once you have decided what you need to study to meet your nursing career goals, think about how you’d like to get your degree. You can go to nursing school and attend traditional classes, but if you want to have more flexibility and control over your studies so that you can continue working full-time for example, you might want to consider a fully-flexible online degree program that you can do from home and tailor to meet your needs, allowing you to fit your studies around your work and life, which is often easier than changing your work and other commitments to fit around classes.
Where to Study
Another key question that you might be asking when deciding to advance your nursing career is where to get your degree. Most of the time, universities and colleges will partner with hospitals and other healthcare institutions that provide students with work experience and hands-on, on-the-job learning through work placements. When choosing where to study, consider which nursing schools and universities your current place of work might be partnered with, since this might make it easier for you to complete the practical part of your degree program.
If you hope to study online, the location of the campus might not be a huge cause for concern, but make sure that you will be able to complete the practical aspect of your learning locally. In addition, spend some time researching the schools that you are considering to find out more about their reputation and the type of work that students find after graduation.
What You Enjoy
Another key factor to consider when you are choosing an advanced nursing degree is the aspects of your job that you enjoy the most. If you are already working as a nurse, it’s important to think about where you want your future career to take you since there are several different nursing specialty areas that will require unique knowledge and skills as you advance your career.
Think about the work that you have done as a nurse so far and what you would like to do more of, plus the type of work that you would rather avoid. It’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to every aspect of your job, including the patients that you prefer working with, the settings that you prefer working in, and the hours that you would prefer to work to help you find a career path that is ideal for you and your unique career needs.
Preparing for Learning and Working
Today, many nurses and healthcare professionals who want to advance their career or become a registered nurse will find themselves juggling work and study at the same time. Thanks to flexible online degree programs, it is easier than ever to fit work around your studies, but this is a huge workload and commitment that you will need to make sure that you are prepared for.
Spend some time putting together a study schedule that is going to work for you and getting a space in your home ready for you to dedicate to studying without any distractions. Consider how much time off you will need to avoid getting burned out, and speak to your employer about your plans to see if they can offer any financial or practical support to make the situation easier on you.
The journey to advancing your nursing career or becoming a registered nurse is definitely not an easy one and can sometimes take several years to complete, which is why it’s important to be consistent with setting small and achievable goals that you can work towards. It’s best to approach your career advancement by taking things one step at a time and breaking the workload down into manageable chunks that will add up to help you reach your ultimate goal over time.
Get Support and Advice
Finally, you’re probably going to need some support while advancing your career, so look into all the options that are available to you, whether you’re going to ask your employer to help you with tuition or get childcare covered by your school or place of work. Many employers are happy to offer support to nurses and other healthcare professionals that want to advance their career since it will also benefit them, so it’s worth having the conversation to see if there is anything your employer can do to make the experience easier for you.
Whether you are a nurse or want to become a nurse in the future, the options for advancing your career are endless. Keep these tips in mind to help you get to the right start on your career advancement journey.