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Fast-Tracking Your Nursing Career: How to Get Ahead in the Field?

The nursing profession demands perseverance, diligence, and a dedication to continuous learning. If you want to get ahead in the field and achieve your professional goals, it’s essential to have a plan in place. This article provides actionable techniques for accelerating your nursing career and keeping up with the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

The demand for nurses has been steadily growing over the years due to various factors, such as an aging population, increased access to healthcare, and advancements in medical technology.

The projected demand for registered nurses by the Department of Labor is set to increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030, which will require over 275,000 nurses to meet the demand. This growth rate is considerably higher than the average growth rate for all other occupations. 

The increasing demand for nurses indicates numerous opportunities for individuals who aspire to build a career in nursing and seek advancements in the field.

If you plan to start your career, this article will provide practical tips and strategies for getting ahead in the nursing field. By following these tips, you can accelerate your career path, increase your earning potential, and make a meaningful impact in the lives of patients.

1. Pursue an Accelerated Nursing Program

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a different field who wish to switch to nursing can enroll in an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. These programs can typically be completed in 12-18 months, significantly faster than traditional nursing programs.

The program’s demanding curriculum includes laboratory work, classroom lectures, and clinical training, providing a comprehensive learning experience. As a result, students learn the skills and knowledge necessary to become competent, compassionate, and highly skilled nurses. Employers also highly respect these programs, making graduates highly sought after in the job market.

One of the advantages of ABSN programs is that they are now offered online, making it easier for individuals to balance their work, family, and educational commitments. ABSN online programs offer the same rigorous curriculum and clinical experience as traditional programs but with the added convenience of completing coursework online.

For individuals living in remote areas or facing other commitments that hinder their ability to attend traditional classes, online ABSN programs serve as a convenient option.

However, when contemplating an ABSN online program, it’s crucial to select a program that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Accreditation assures that the program adheres to rigorous standards and effectively prepares students for the challenges of the nursing profession.

2. Volunteer Your Time to a Nursing Organization

Volunteering your time to a nursing organization is an excellent way to fast-track your nursing career. Not only does it provide valuable experience and networking opportunities, but it also allows you to give back to your community and make a difference in the lives of others.

Many nursing organizations rely on volunteers to support their programs and initiatives. One option is to consider volunteering at a nearby hospital or clinic, providing assistance to nurses and other healthcare staff. Alternatively, you could volunteer for a non-profit organization that improves healthcare access and outcomes for underserved communities.

Volunteering your time to a nursing organization can also provide opportunities to develop your leadership and teamwork skills. In addition, many nursing organizations offer volunteer positions in management, education, and advocacy, which can help you gain valuable experience in these areas and prepare you for advancement in your nursing career.

3. Network With Other Professionals in Your Field

Building relationships with other nurses, healthcare professionals, and industry leaders can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the field and provide opportunities for career advancement.

According to a survey by Zippia, networking with personal and professional connections is essential for career growth. The survey revealed that 85% of job vacancies were filled through networking, while 79% of Americans believed networking played a crucial role in their career progression. 

Additionally, the survey found that regularly networked individuals were more likely to receive career advancement opportunities and promotions.

There are many ways to network with other professionals in your field, such as attending industry conferences, joining professional organizations, and participating in online forums and discussion groups. These opportunities allow one to meet and connect with other professionals, share knowledge and experiences, and learn about new job opportunities.

4. Seek Out Mentorship

A mentor is an experienced professional who can provide guidance, advice, and support as you navigate your career path. By working with a mentor, you can gain valuable insights into nursing and learn how to overcome challenges and achieve your goals.

Studies have indicated that mentorship can significantly influence career growth. National Mentoring Day reports that employees who participate in mentoring programs are five times more likely to receive a promotion compared to those who don’t. Additionally, the same source states that mentored employees are more content with their jobs and have a greater commitment to their professions.

There are many ways to find a mentor in the nursing profession. First, you can contact nursing organizations and professional associations to see if they have a mentorship program. You can also ask your supervisor or colleagues if they know anyone willing to mentor you.

5. Embrace Technology

As technology continues to transform the healthcare landscape, nurses adept at using technology are in high demand.

One way to embrace technology in your nursing career is to stay current with the latest technological advancements in healthcare. It may include continuing education courses and training programs focusing on the latest healthcare technology tools and applications. It is also essential to stay up-to-date on the latest healthcare software and electronic medical record systems used in your organization.

Another way to embrace technology in your nursing career is to leverage technology tools to improve patient care. For example, many hospitals and healthcare organizations use telehealth and remote monitoring technology to connect patients with healthcare providers, enabling real-time monitoring of patient vital signs and providing remote consultation services.

Being familiar with these technologies can help you provide better patient care and improve patient outcomes.

6. Seek Out Diverse Experiences

As a nurse, you can work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and community health centers. By seeking diverse experiences, you can broaden your skillset, gain valuable knowledge, and develop a more comprehensive understanding of nursing.

One way to seek out diverse experiences is to take on different organizational roles and responsibilities. For example, you could volunteer to participate in a research project, take a leadership role in a nursing committee, or work in a different department or unit within your hospital or healthcare organization. 

These experiences can help you better understand the healthcare industry and develop new skills and competencies. Seeking out diverse experiences can also help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement as a nurse. You can learn more about yourself and your abilities as a nurse by challenging yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and take on new experiences.

Fast-Track Your Nursing Career

In conclusion, there are many strategies for fast-tracking your nursing career and achieving your professional goals. Pursuing an accelerated nursing program, volunteering your time, networking with other professionals, seeking out mentorship, embracing technology, and seeking out diverse experiences are just a few ways you can advance your career in nursing.

By utilizing these strategies and remaining dedicated to your professional growth, you can position yourself for success in the nursing field and make a meaningful impact in the lives of your patients.