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Published on December 11th, 2012 | by admin

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Four Ways Nurses Can Advance Their Careers

As a nurse, you spend long hours working hard in a career that you love, a career that gives back to those in the community. Even if you love the job you’re at right now, though, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t enjoy some of the benefits of career advancement, such as a higher paycheck and greater seniority when it comes to choosing hours. Four essential tips could be all you need to make advancement a reality.

Earn a Higher Degree

Go back to school and get a higher degree; going from an RN to MSN online isn’t something you should dismiss, either. In fact, earning your degree online could fit in better with your already busy schedule than locating a local university that provides classes that are held at times you can’t attend. Online courses let you study whenever you have time, and give ample notice of due dates and tests.

A higher degree translates to greater job opportunities, as well as greater pay. It may also prove to be a necessity when it comes to advancement in your field. Your place of employment could be impressed by your attitude and work ethic, but they can’t present you with opportunities for better-paying jobs unless you’re qualified.

Change Your Attitude: Be the Go-Getter

Although it’s true that not having a higher degree could be holding you back from advancement, it’s also true that your attitude at work makes a difference. Attitude is one of the most common reasons that people are passed up for promotion and attitude encompasses all of the following:

  • Your general demeanor at work. Are you cheerful and polite to both co-workers and patients, even when you’re not having a good day?
  • Your punctuality. Are you slightly early so you can start your shift precisely at time? Do you stay a little late so you’re not antsy and careless at the shift’s end?
  • Your commitment. Do you call in sick or take days off only when it’s essential?
  • Your work ethic. Are you willing to take on extra tasks and patients whenever you can fit them in?
  • Your reliability. Can your supervisors and co-workers count on you in a pinch? Do you pick up extra shifts during emergencies?

Check Out Other Employers

Sometimes it’s really not you; it’s them. Perhaps your current employer thinks you’re a go-getter and maybe you already have a higher degree, but your place of employment doesn’t have a position available for you. It may be time to move on to other places with a great reference from your current employer and experience on your side.

Of course, don’t quit your current job until you’ve got a position waiting for you. Look around at other places in the area, and if you do look at places of employment outside of your area, weigh the pros and cons of relocating:

  • Is the salary increase worth moving? If you have a family, will your significant other be able to find a new job? Will the children be able to adjust to a new school?
  • Is a long commute an option? Are there public transit opportunities?
  • Can you afford the cost of relocating? Will the new employer help with those costs?

Add a Specialization or Certification

In addition to, or in lieu of, earning a higher degree, adding a specialization and/or certification may be all you need to qualify for better-paying jobs. A certification or specialization typically takes less time to earn than a degree, making it ideal for nurses who love what they currently do and don’t have the time or desire to pursue a higher-stress position. The specialization can boost your resume if you have to look for work in another location, too.

For example, you might want to move out of a general practitioner’s office and become a surgical nurse. You could be interested in geriatric care, or even leaving the doctor’s office and hospital entirely and becoming a nurse practitioner in a school or place of business. In the latter case, you may have to at least examine the RN BSN degree difference. Upgrading from an RN degree, an associate’s degree, to a BSN, a bachelor’s degree, may be necessary.

Author Bio: Elizabeth Niles is a contributing writer, grad student and aspiring nurse practitioner. She was originally preparing to study to be an EMT, but changed her path after a long hospital stay gave her a genuine admiration of nurses.


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