Career Progression Tips For Nurses

Nursing is a great career, although that’s not a fact that everyone is aware of. They can’t be, otherwise there wouldn’t be a nursing shortage. However, since there is a nursing shortage, this would imply that despite the fact that there are a number of reasons to become a nurse, and nursing is an excellent career choice for a lot of people, not enough people are picking it and studying to become nurses.

This is a shame, because nursing can be highly rewarding, and not many careers can be as fulfilling as this one.

One of the many fantastic reasons for opting to become a nurse is the fact that there are numerous career progression opportunities. If you weren’t sure about whether or not nursing would be a good option for you to try in terms of your career path because you didn’t think there was much career progression, it’s time to think again. For ambitious people, nursing is a role that they can truly work hard at, and prove to themselves and others that they can do it exceptionally well. With that in mind, let’s look more closely at how a nurse’s career can develop, and the tips and advice that can make it happen.

Explore The Options

A fact that very few people who are not already nurses are aware of is just how many options there are when it comes to career progression in this field. It’s astonishing just how many career paths a nurse could go down. It will depend on their qualifications, experience, their skills, their personality, and what they like best about nursing as a whole; and once you take these elements and search out nursing jobs that match them, you’ll soon see there are numerous options for you.

It’s a good idea to explore as many of these options as you can. That doesn’t mean applying to study for each individual idea (unless you want to), but instead it means carrying out plenty of research to help you narrow down your options. Not only can you look at the types of jobs that are available to do this, but you could even look into what is going to benefit you most depending on where you live. Some states might need more nurse practitioners than others, for example, which may help point you in exactly the right direction to go in.

When you are armed with all the information you need, you can make the right choice for you. Read journals, look online, speak to current nurses, or perhaps you might find a mentor to help you. This is an important choice so it’s wise not to jump in without all the knowledge first.

Take Your Time

Another useful tip for nurses who are interested in advancing their careers in any way that they choose (and as mentioned above, this includes dozens of different options) is to make sure you take your time. You have your entire career to get where you want to go, and rushing right at the start (or at any point along the journey) is not going to help you. Unless you have the requisite experience and qualifications, it won’t matter how keen you are to try out a new department or apply for a promotion; it won’t happen. This is why it’s best to take your time.

Making a career plan is an excellent idea. The research you have already put in will pay dividends, and ensure that you are looking at career options that will suit you best. It’s also important to know what your goals are in general. Are you planning to have a family, for example, as this could take you down a potentially different path than if you decide not to. Or perhaps you intend to move to a new state or even a new country. Work out how that life goal will affect your nursing career ambitions. The good news is that in many cases, your nursing qualifications can be used in many different countries, and if you decide to stay in the US, they can be used all across the nation.

When you have finished planning out what you want, you’ll have an excellent guide to help you make decisions in the future and to keep you on track when it comes to your own specific nursing career. This might take a little time, but it’s so much better than racing ahead and then getting lost or having to turn back.


A process that not everyone will consider when it comes to finding a way to advance their nursing career is to look for networking opportunities. This might be perfectly natural for those in business because a lot of business is gained through networking events, both online and offline. However, is it actually a process that nurses can or even should undertake?

The answer is yes to both of these questions. Networking is a process that nurses can and should do, and in fact, they can do it every day of their working lives if they are able to spot the right opportunities. This is the key to networking when you are a nurse; you need to know what to look for. Unlike in business where special networking events are set up and everyone who attends knows what people are looking for and what they need in return, with nursing it is much more subtle. It’s about talking to the people you work with, and especially talking to people in higher positions than you. It’s about reaching out online if you read a particularly interesting article or blog and you want to ask the author a question. It’s about speaking to colleagues about their plans for the future and discussing yours. Any and all of these could help you find a mentor, and give you the confidence to go for a promotion (or even any entirely new job).

Gain More Qualifications

It has already been briefly mentioned how important it is to be as experienced and knowledgeable as possible when it comes to your nursing career and the advancements you might want to make, and one of the best ways to do that is to gain more qualifications. Of course, you don’t have to apply for and study for every course or degree that relates to nursing, as this would take too long and be extremely hard work. However, there is sure to be some kind of course or certificate that relates to exactly what you want to do next; and studying for that is crucial if you want to make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.

The good news is you can study for a new, additional nursing qualification online. In fact, you can even get your initial certification online if you choose to. What’s particularly useful for working nurses about the online aspect of learning is that it won’t have to interfere with your work in any way. You can learn at the time that works best for you, whether that’s early in the morning, late at night, in your lunch break, or at any other time that suits you. Maybe you’ll only log on when you have a full day to work and never mix the two disciplines of nursing and study. It will depend on how you learn best.

Although it will be hard to study and work at the same time—even if you do choose to keep them entirely separate from one another—it will also be entirely worth it if it means you can have your pick of the job opportunities that come your way. If you have a good qualification (or perhaps a variety of them) you will be able to take the route to your ultimate goal that works for you and gives you everything you have planned for.

Speak To Your Manager

Many people want to advance their careers, but they don’t take the one step that would help them more than anything—at least right at the start. They don’t speak to their managers. Why is this a good idea? It’s because your manager will know more about your work than anyone else; they will have insights that you won’t have considered, and because they are at a higher level than you in their work, they will also have been where you are now, and they can impart useful advice.

It can feel scary when you decide that you need to speak to your manager about the future. What if you don’t want to hear what they say? The fact is, this could happen. They might tell you that you need more experience or that you would be better working in an area different to the one you envisioned for yourself. They might tell you that you’re not as competent as you need to be. Although this would be negative and upsetting, it would also be very useful. You would discover what you still need to learn and do in order to get where you want to go, or you might see your work from a different angle and work out whether or not there is a different route to take.

Alternatively, they might tell you that you’re on the right path and encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing. In either case, it will be useful to discover more and ask for the advice you need.

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