One of the best things about working in healthcare is that there are always options. You’ll never need to feel bored or trapped in your role because there are lots of ways you can enhance your skills and the opportunities available to you. These are some of the ways to do that.
Find a Mentor
Whether you do it through your workplace or through a nurses’ organization, finding a mentor is an excellent way to sharpen up your existing skills and acquire new ones. It can be a great way to explore different roles in a hospital or in agency work. Mentoring is commonplace in the profession and you can pay it forward by committing to mentoring others when you’re in a position to do so.
Work in Different Environments
In most industries, moving around a lot is frowned upon. Nursing couldn’t be more different. In fact, many hospitals and larger clinics require their nursing staff to move between roles in order to give them a broad range of skills and knowledge. Trying different things like this helps you to discover what you enjoy most and also keeps your mind flexible, helping you to adapt faster to different day to day clinical situations.
Get your Bachelor’s Degree
Getting back into education through BSN or ABSN programs can let you move from LPN status to become a fully qualified registered nurse (RN). This takes one to three years (with the option to study part-time) and gives you the authority to do things like conducting diagnostic tests, taking medical histories and developing or contributing to individual care plans, giving you more freedom in your day-to-day work and the chance to take on new roles.
Develop a Specialty
Some nursing specialties require you to take a master’s degree, but others simply require you to have enough experience. This means that if you have an interest in a particular area and you’re willing to do a lot of basic day to day work in that department – usually 1,000 to 2,000 clinical hours – then you will need to pass just one exam to demonstrate that you understand what you’re doing, after which you will have access to senior roles.
Take a DNP or PhD
If you’re really serious about upping your game, studying for a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) or taking a PhD will take you to the very top level. This is a serious commitment which will take one to six years of your time and require either 1,000 clinical hours or a dissertation as well (depending on your preferred route), but it could enable you to manage a department, run clinical trials or move into research aimed at improving the quality of healthcare.
With these and other options to choose from, there’s no reason to let yourself get stuck in a rut. Take the opportunities available to you to explore and find out what you love, and don’t be shy about pursuing multiple options over time. It’s an approach that will benefit both you and your patients.