Nursing is an extremely rewarding career path for many, and many nurses look to progress their careers as much as possible, learn new healthcare skills and take a step up on the nursing career ladder. With so many healthcare avenues to be explored with nursing, such as switching a specialty, exploring online MSN programs, or changing the environment in which you work, gaining a nursing career and having it progress is achievable with the right work ethic dedication.

Why Become a Nurse?

If you’re considering nursing as a career and exploring how much progression you can expect in a nursing career, you may also be wondering the benefits of becoming a nurse. If you’re looking for a rewarding healthcare position (and working environment), there’s no doubt that becoming a nurse can be an excellent option for those committed and compassionate. Nursing is also perfect for those who thrive on education and are looking to seek top-level education, like a master’s through online MSN programs.

Not only is nursing a gratifying career path, but it’s also a vital one. Nurses will always be needed, and especially during times as outlined by the pandemic and other healthcare emergencies. Nurses can work in a variety of fields, and with a variety of people, they can develop their skills through further education like online MSN programs and truly make a difference in the lives of their patients.

Therefore if you’re looking for reasons to become a nurse, they include a fulfilling career path with the opportunity for dedicated progression and working to improve the lives of others.

5 Signs Nursing Could Be Right for You

Here are five signs why your personality traits and work ethic could match with the role of a nurse and a progressive nursing career.

  1. You are a compassionate person. Compassion is fundamental to any healthcare role, but most importantly, with roles such as a nurse due to the closeness of working with patients and their families. Medical issues require a compassionate environment and understanding, which you may need to provide.
  2. You’re highly career-oriented and willing to learn more. Nursing is perfect for those who want to continue learning and developing their skills, whether that’s simply furthering your on-the-job understanding or working hard to gain an extra qualification like with online MSN programs.
  3. You have a wide range of skills. Nursing requires many skills and many more than simply a healthcare qualification. Other skills required to excel in nursing can include organization, communication, patience, and listening skills.
  4. You’re good with people. Nurses play vital roles in providing medical care to patients. Being good with people, enjoying working with people, and knowing how to get the best out of people in difficult circumstances are all relevant traits for a nurse to have.
  5. Good problem-solving abilities. No matter how much you learn in the medical and healthcare field and how much you prepare, matters can still go wrong when it comes to treatment and being in control of patient circumstances. Being able to remain calm and deal with a tricky situation, as well as look for solutions, will be a big help in this career path.

5 Job Examples with a Nursing Degree

Here are just a few examples of the jobs you can expect to pursue with a nursing degree. There are considerably more options, with their own potential specializations, as well as the opportunity for further progressions, such as with online MSN programs to gain a master’s in nursing.

  1. School nurse. School nurses are much needed in educational settings, and this can see you dealing with a variety of ailments every day, whether in a dedicated age-group setting or a general school with many different school years. This can help you to maintain a healthcare role but offer a different environment than a traditional medical location, like a hospital.
  2. Mental health nurse. These nurses specialize specifically in mental health and caring for patients with mental health problems. This could be mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, or you could deal with mental health conditions like schizophrenia. You may find yourself working in a dedicated mental health facility, on a mental health ward, or treating patients privately as needed.
  3. Nursing in a physician’s practice. Nurses play vital roles in supporting doctors in their healthcare practices, so you may find that you would like to work alongside a physician to offer support for patient treatment. Nurses can be required in hospitals or clinics.
  4. Family nurse. Family nurses work on a more personal basis with family members throughout their lives. This can be a preferable option for those individuals seeking nursing as a career but would like to develop a more lasting relationship with particular patients. This role can help you to form more one-to-one relationships and support a family as a whole.
  5. A nurse specializing in children. Perhaps you have a passion for working with younger people, as well as for nursing. You may then want to specialize as a children’s nurse or in a child-related setting (which could be a school nurse, as previously mentioned, or perhaps on the children’s ward of a hospital or clinic).

How to Further Your Nursing Career

So: perhaps you’ve decided nursing is the right career path for you, and you’re looking to research the progression potential and how to grow your career within this field as much as possible. Or, perhaps you’re already qualified and working as a nurse and have hit a point in your career in which you’re looking to progress.

If you’re looking to further your nursing career, here are some great examples of how you can look to do that.

Gain a Master’s Degree

One of the most obvious steps in career progression in any role is seeking the next degree level to develop your skills, open up new job opportunities, and set yourself apart from the competition. With a master’s degree in a nursing field, such as studying online MSN programs, you can develop your existing nursing skills and expand your knowledge and experience.

You may have a particular nursing role in mind that requires a master’s degree, or perhaps you’re just looking to give yourself the best chance in the job market. If you’re a keen learner and enjoy thriving in an educational environment, then there’s always potential to learn more within a nursing role.

Even if you’re already working as a full-time (or even part-time) nurse, gaining extra qualifications or a master’s degree is made easier by online learning opportunities. By taking advantage of online learning, like studying for online MSN programs, you can more easily work your career progression around your current job commitments.

Give Specialization a Go

If you have a general nursing degree, or if you’ve always worked in a general nurse capacity with a variety of patients, perhaps you want to center on one particular specialization in which you want to learn everything you can and excel. A specialization can help you to pinpoint how exactly you want your career to develop, in what way you wish it to develop, and what your career priorities are.

It may be that you only learn what you would like your specialization to be through years of career trial and error working in various nursing settings, or maybe you’ve only just recently graduated and already know what you would like to specialize in. Either way, specializations are a great way to progress your career in a more focused way and advance in a way that suits you.

Do Your Research and Find Various Resources

Learning all you can about the different nursing paths out there and the stories from other people who have studied nursing can boost your progression. You may want to begin looking into other people’s experiences to understand the options you have for progression or read reviews of certain qualifications of specializations to get a better understanding of what you can expect. With online qualifications such as online MSN programs, you may have a wealth of feedback and information from other students who have undergone the same qualification.

All of this research and exploring different resources can help you to better prepare for your own career progression and understand the options that are out there for you.

Find a Career Mentor

When you’re seeking career guidance and looking for advice regarding your next step, advice from professional nurses who have been there and experienced it all before is going to be vital. Finding a career mentor for nursing can have a significant impact on your ability to progress your own career, as well as seek out tailored advice.

A mentor could be someone you know — perhaps a friend or family member — who has experience or qualifications in nursing. Or, it could be someone at your place of work who you look up to or work with on a regular basis. It might even be somebody you meet through professional websites or organizations who can serve as a career mentor for you.

Not only can mentors be a positive influence on your decisions and understanding of certain nursing roles, but they can also serve as fundamental support bases for your own career progression, offering professional and emotional support as you take those all-important next steps.

Plan Out Your Goals (and Make Them Known)

You might not yet know how, exactly, you’d like to progress your nursing career, but knowing that you want to progress is a goal in itself. Spending some time exploring your career goals and where you see yourself in years to come is a great foundation for your growing career.

Not only that but being vocal and honest about your goals is the only way that you can hope to progress. That means being honest with yourself but also open and honest with your professional team. It’s a good idea to make it known to your colleagues and employer that you’re willing to progress and learn more — otherwise, they might not know to present further opportunities to you.

Employee appraisals are also perfect opportunities to discuss any career progression you wish to have, so it’s important to make it known how you would like to advance your career. If your boss knows about your ambitions, they may be able to approach you with further opportunities which become available, or they may even actively seek out new responsibilities for you.

Furthermore, being honest about any further learning that you’re planning to undertake is important for personal and professional development. Suppose you do choose to continue your studies, such as choosing an online nursing degree like online MSN programs. In that case, it’s important to be honest with those in your personal and professional life regarding what you’re trying to achieve. This may be simply for moral support, or you may need to move around shift patterns or pastime responsibilities to accommodate your further learning efforts.

Gain as Much Experience as Possible

Try to put yourself in many different nursing situations to build your skills. This will help with your progression and your marketability, but trying out as many different nursing environments as possible will help you narrow down the areas you do and don’t like to understand better how you’d like to progress.

You may want to take on an extra shift in a different department, look for a voluntary role alongside your main job role, or even shadow another nurse in a different field or location to understand more about different nursing experiences.

Even a little extra experience can go a long way.

To Conclude

Choosing to further your nursing career is a highly admirable choice, both on a personal level and a professional one. With nurses in such high demand, there will be plenty of opportunities for further learning and career progression. Whether it’s choosing to study further with online MSN programs, choosing to specialize in a certain nursing field, or even broadening your field with experience in different areas, any effort will always be worthwhile when it comes to your nursing career.

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