Whether you’re a nursing veteran or currently studying to enter the field, continually advancing your skills can effectively open the doorway to increased earning potential, new job opportunities, and greater job satisfaction. From a variety of specialty areas to different working environments, the nursing field offers a plethora of options for those aspiring to advance their career. Here are four ways to move the needle forward and advance your nursing career.

  1. Consider a Specialization

Specializing in a particular area can serve as a gateway to a more fulfilling career, while also strengthening your level of expertise and improving your breadth of job prospects. Some clinical specializations to consider include:

  • Critical Care Nurse (CCRN)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
  • Perioperative Nurse (Surgical/OR Nurse)
  • Orthopedic Nurse (ONC)

And these are just to name a few. For practicing nurses with their sights set on leadership-level positions, there are also certifications available through organizations like the American College of Healthcare Executives Nurses and the American Organization for Nurse Leadership (AONL). These programs are geared toward strengthening leadership skills for positions like nursing directors, managers and clinical leaders.

  1. Join a Professional Organization

Aligning yourself with a professional nursing organization not only provides networking and educational opportunities but will also help strengthen your candidacy when applying for a new role. These organizations hold conferences and seminars where you can gain invaluable insight and advice from experts in the field. Similar to the American Nursing Association (ANA), many professional organizations provide members with career-related resources, such as free webinars.

  1. Further Your Education

One of the most straightforward and effective ways to propel your nursing career to new heights is to further your education. Pursuing an advanced degree can serve as a stepping stone for specializing in a particular field as well as increase your salary level. Some potential educational paths you can consider include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which can increase employment opportunities and help advance your skill set. 
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), which is often a prerequisite for managerial and leadership roles.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), which is typically required for positions like nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists.

Education can play an integral role in helping you move into a management-level position. In today’s competitive labor market, many hospitals and healthcare systems are offering tuition reimbursement as a facet of their perks and benefits package. For instance, as a licensed RN, you could potentially earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree online with financial assistance from your employer. 

  1. Seek Out a Mentor

Seeking guidance from someone experienced and successful in the field can truly transform your career. They can serve as a sounding board for overcoming recurring challenges, provide honest feedback and share insights on ways to improve patient care. 

Speaking about the power of mentorship, Benjamin Evans, DNP and former President of the New Jersey State Nurses Association shares: “Patients and facilities benefit from shared expertise, the passing of institutional knowledge and the development of shared ideas that can improve health care outcomes and patient care. Mentoring offers newer nurses a safe space to learn as they grow in their practice of nursing. Many times, mentees are more comfortable asking questions of a mentor.”

Take the Next Step in Your Nursing Career

Nursing careers are multifaceted and offer numerous opportunities for advancement through specializations, mentorships, networking, education and advanced certifications. Climbing the proverbial ladder not only positively impacts your career prospects and earning potential, but it’ll also help drive more positive patient outcomes – which is a win for everyone in our book.

When you’re ready to make a career move, our team of healthcare recruiters can help connect you with opportunities that align with your interests and needs. Not only will you have a personal advocate on your side, but you’ll gain access to vital information spanning everything from a prospective employer’s internal culture to best practices for nailing your interview. Contact the Polaris team today to learn more about how we can help you can advance your nursing career.