Top Tips for a Successful Nursing Career
Carving out a successful career in any field takes hard work, dedication, and a bit of good luck, but there are always extra steps you can take and things you can do to increase your chances of success. The same is true for a career in nursing. So, here are seven top tips to help you be successful in your role as a nurse, no matter what stage of your career you are at right now.
Success is personal. It means different things to different people. Some people define success by the amount of money they’ve earned or the number of promotions they’ve been given. Others define success as a nurse as the number of people they’ve helped or the amount of good they’ve contributed to the world.
Think about the end of your career. When you’re planning to retire, and you look back on your time as a nurse, what will success mean to you? If you’re hoping to make a lot of money and progress in your career regularly, that’s fine; if you want to try your best and work hard to make a difference, that’s fine too.
Think about what success will mean for you, and take steps to ensure that you’re successful in that way.
Do It for the Right Reasons
There are numerous benefits to a career in nursing:
- Flexible work
- Numerous job opportunities
- A good salary
- A generous pension plan
- Room for personal growth
However, if you’re considering a nursing job, it’s so important that you get into it for the right reasons. If you aren’t the type of person who enjoys selflessness, going out of your way to help others, then you won’t be successful at this type of work.
It can be draining both physically and mentally to be a nurse, and if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons – for the money, for example – you probably won’t give it your all, meaning you probably won’t be successful.
You need to care about the work you’re doing, to realise the importance of nursing, and to be able to connect with people from different walks of life on a daily basis. It can be a challenging job, but if you get into nursing for the right reasons, the rewards will be huge, and you’ll be more likely to enjoy a successful career.
Get the Right Qualifications
If you’re in the very early stages of your nursing career (i.e., you’ve just started thinking about it!), you’ll want to make sure you get qualified by a respectable institution. There are a number of courses you can take now, whether you want to attend a university in person or study online. Carson-Newman offers excellent online nursing degrees, meaning you can enjoy the flexibility of studying from home.
Getting qualified is an essential step in becoming a nurse and maintaining a successful career in nursing.
Once you’re qualified, you’re ready to be a nurse – but that doesn’t mean you should stop learning. One of the best ways to ensure success as a nurse is to constantly ask questions of those around you.
It’s never too late to learn, so talk to other nurses you work with or doctors you encounter at work and ask them for their own tips and tricks. You should also ask about their career path, whether they would have done anything differently, what their proudest achievement is to date.
If you find yourself with a lot of questions, it may be worth asking a more senior nurse to become a kind of mentor to you. Something as simple as a cup of coffee and a quick chat once a month or so could provide insightful learning opportunities. Mentoring can be a great system to get more from your career, no matter what line of work you’re in.
It’s also important to ask questions of yourself. Are you giving the work your all? Could you be doing anything differently? Have you thought about the next step in your career? Asking yourself questions like this will help you achieve more from your career.
Build a Network
As well as asking questions of your co-workers or colleagues, it’s a good idea to build up a network. Networking can allow you to keep abreast of what developments are being made in the world of nursing or medicine, which can be hugely beneficial to your career. You’ll also be able to improve your communication skills and meet people with similar interests to you.
Another benefit of building a network is that you’ll come into contact with people who may be able to suggest your name for jobs or promotions. Networking can lead to better or more rewarding job opportunities.
Finding a network is also a great way to build up a support group that you can turn to if and when things become difficult. Nursing isn’t always easy; you have to deal with illness and death on a regular basis, and it can be incredibly helpful to have a network you can reach out to if things feel like they’re getting on top of you.
One of the main personality traits that you’ll need for a successful career as a nurse is selflessness. Huge parts of the job involve putting others’ needs above your own – whether that means not using the toilet when you need to because you’re in the middle of an important task or staying late after your shift to talk to a patient’s family.
Selflessness is utterly crucial in a nursing job.
But Know When to be Selfish
It’s also important to know when to take a little time for yourself. Nursing can take it out of you emotionally, and there are times when you may feel that stress is getting the better of you. Therefore, it’s essential that you recognise the signs of burnout or emotional strain so that you can take steps to recentre yourself before it gets too much.
Whether it’s using your allotted annual leave or taking a mental health sabbatical, or something smaller like finding a way to unwind and decompress at the end of a stressful shift, make sure you find a system that works for you. If you force yourself to power through stressful situations without giving your brain and your body the rest it needs, you won’t be much help to anyone.