Tips for Starting and Advancing Your Nursing Career

Published: Mar 02, 2020

 Interviewing       Job Search       Networking       Workplace Issues       
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Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers—and one of the fastest-growing (in part because it’s largely immune to advances in AI). As a result, many people looking for meaningful work have found their passion in nursing. And whether you’re a veteran practitioner or nursing hopeful, here are five ways to easily and quickly advance your career.

1. Take online extension courses

Life is busy. As a result, many practitioners prepare for work in the field by taking advantage of available extension courses, such as an MSN online program. By enrolling in an online Master of Science in Nursing program, today’s emerging healthcare professionals up their career game while managing to stay on top of their day-to-day responsibilities.

In leading MSN programs across the U.S., fledgling nurse practitioners work hand-in-hand with experienced healthcare professionals. By doing so, they receive the benefit of an exceptional educational experience. During training, nursing candidates learn about the latest medical best practices. At the same time, nurse educators teach students the essential critical thinking skills that they’ll need to excel in the field.

2. Find a mentor and network

The more help you have during your educational journey, the better prepared you are to work in the field. A mentor can help to guide your decision-making during your training and beyond.

By connecting with a mentor, you can access their experience and expertise as you explore various career opportunities. Begin your search for a mentor by speaking to others who are already working in a specialty that addresses your interests. There’s no need to feel intimidated during your mentor search. Most people are more than happy to talk about their careers.

It’s also a good idea to network with like-minded professionals. You should start networking as soon as you enter school and continue to do so throughout your career. Don’t wait for networking events to come up to make connections. Networking is as simple as exchanging numbers with your peers to share ideas and talk about the healthcare profession.

3. Consider this growing nursing field

Forensic nursing is expanding faster than many other jobs in the U.S. The field emerged in the 1980s, when the need arose for professionals who are experienced in both legal and healthcare matters. During that time, the legal system needed healthcare professionals who could identify injuries and evaluate various scenarios. Trained forensic nurses are highly qualified to fulfill these roles. They can accurately document injuries and traumas and have the fortitude to deal with difficult situations such as deaths and serious injuries.

If you choose to work in forensic nursing, you could work in one of several environments. For instance, you may find employment in a:

  • Community anti-violence agency
  • Community crisis center
  • Coroner’s office
  • Correctional center
  • General medicine hospital
  • Medical examiner’s office
  • Psychiatric hospital

During your career as a forensic nurse, you may find yourself working on cases that involve anything from arson to medical malpractice. You could deal with dangerous situations such as bioterrorism, drug abuse, and homicide. The legal system may also task you to conduct autopsies or capture crime scene photography.

4. Prep for interviews

For any nurse practitioner specialization, you need to make it past an interview to land a job. By preparing for the interview, you’ll have a better chance of success.

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s imperative to get a good night’s sleep before the interview. You should try to sleep at least a full eight hours before the big day. It’s also essential that you wear the right clothing for the interview. Women interviewees should remain cautious about wearing too much makeup or perfume, and all job candidates should wear a suit. Although many organizations have casual dress days, a suit is standard interview attire, unless you’ve been informed otherwise.

5. Keep the long run in the mind

After you’ve landed a job as a nurse practitioner, you’ll want to do as much as possible to help people. However, it’s important to remember that you must also consider your own wellness. Therefore, avoid common hazards of the profession, such as burnout.

Stress is a part of work in the healthcare profession. Anything from unrealistic career expectations to dealing with mortality events can serve as a trigger. Over time, a series of stressful work-related events can lead to emotional health problems. However, if you remember to take care of yourself in the field, you’ll enjoy a long, satisfying career as a nurse practitioner.

Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries, including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.