Contrary to popular belief, a nursing career is highly flexible so far as work activities are concerned. Within the same hospital and work environment, a nurse can switch departments and be in a completely different world when compared to the previous assignment. For instance, there is a world of difference between being a bedside nurse and one in critical care. Hence there are almost unlimited opportunities for nurses to gain experience in various fields of specialisation and meet career goals and objectives.
Given all these variables, here are a few tips to make a success of your career as a registered nurse.
- Gain experience – You have to decide your career goals early on and work towards that end. However, whatever path you might decide to follow, most options are only open to nurses who have traditional registered nurse experience in patient care. For example, if you plan to be a health coach, it is necessary that you should have at least 3 to 4 experience in patient care in a conventional setting. Or if you plan to be a travel nurse, experience as a float nurse would help support your cause.
- Set your goals – Knowing what you want to be and working towards that goal will give you a fulfilling career and lead you to great heights in that field. Self reflect and critically consider your options. Many nurses find themselves “burnt-out” early in their work life. This is because they did not really match their actions with their desires.
For example, if you want to be a travel nurse and you go to a school to be a nurse practitioner, you will feel disillusioned after a few years. This is because nurse practitioners are required to work in a clinic in a specific geographical location while you want to travel the world as a nurse.
- Continuing education – It is always advisable for registered nurses to get as many certifications as possible and attend courses that the current job will pay for. This will be a valuable addition to your resume when you want to branch out into other settings in nursing. It might not immediately lead to a lucrative chance but it will surely open doors in the future.
Along with all these points, you should maintain a career portfolio and have it constantly updated. It should contain your certifications, continuing education credits, career plan, experience and details of current job. You can present it to a prospective employer as soon as an opportunity crops up.