When you decide to dedicate your life to a career in nursing, you will likely know that you are in for a series of challenging, yet incredibly rewarding experiences.
As the backbone of the healthcare system, nurses primarily work on the frontlines of medicine administering care to patients directly working with physicians and specialists to bring about the best patient outcomes. That being said, the opportunities that exist for nurses today reach far beyond the more traditional roles that many people see them in.
These days, nurses assume roles of great responsibility within the world of healthcare. The fact that they receive so much firsthand experience and a great deal of extensive education means that they are fully equipped and prepared to make great contributions to specific areas of medicine. Furthermore, such roles generally provide nurses with highly attractive salaries, job security, and more opportunities for advancement.
If you are a registered nurse (RN) and are looking for opportunities of advancement, here are a few tips that can help you to take your career farther.
Go Back to School
Once you have been working as an RN for a few years and decide that your calling is to take your career further in a specific area of medicine, the first thing that you are going to want to do is explore your options in regard to advanced degrees. In order to assume a role of greater responsibility, additional education is a must.
For instance, if you hope to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP) — one of the more desirable career options for nurses today — a master’s degree is in in order. FNPs are nurses who have progressed far enough in their careers to be able to practice independently from a physician in some cases. Furthermore, this is a role that the world of healthcare desperately needs filled by qualified and dedicated nurses.
The fact of the matter is that there is a severe shortage of qualified physicians in many areas of the country. Because of this, FNPs have been given a great deal of free reign in practice in order to compensate for the lack of doctors. FNPs in certain cases are permitted to see, evaluate, and diagnose patients on their own without being under the supervision of a physician. With the exception of the ability to prescribe certain types of medications, FNPs act just as physicians do in such cases.
Because FNPs are given so much responsibility, it is absolutely necessary that they receive the necessary amount of additional education. Such a task can be an intimidating one for many nurses who must continue to work full-time as RNs throughout the time that they earn their degree. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available to such nurses in the form of online FNP programs. These programs allow a nurse to continue on in the job that they are currently working while earning their valuable degree that will eventually help them to take their career farther.
Another way in which a nurse can take their career further is to build valuable connection with others in the field. The medical community as a whole has always thrived on the ability of healthcare professionals to share their experiences and research with one another. Even though there was once a time when such connections were more informal in nature, these days there are official professional organizations that are literally designed to bring peers in the field together.
For instance, any nurse can belong to the American Nurses Association. However, there are also organizations that are specifically for certain specialties. If you aspire to work as a nurse educator, you should consider joining the Professional Nurse Educators Group. There are a great many benefits to be had by becoming a part of a professional organization for nurses.
Not only do such organizations present you with the opportunity to stay in the know on the latest updates in the field, but you also can take advantage of events that are organized and sponsored by your professional organization. These events provide the perfect setting for networking with your fellow healthcare professionals and building connections that could prove to be valuable in the future.
Furthermore, all healthcare professionals must participate in a certain type of continuing education. For nurses in particular, continuing education credits are required to maintain a license. Each state has their own requirements in this area, so make sure that the credits you earn will count towards your license.