It can be challenging for nurses to stand out in such a competitive field, but if you want to provide the best level of care, develop new skills and reach the next step in your career, there are a number of areas to focus on that will help you to achieve this. Learning how to stand out (for the right reasons) can help a nurse to progress their career and earn more money while also getting greater job satisfaction, and there are many big and small steps to take that will help you to do this. Read on to find out more.
Online DNP Programs
If you are serious about advancing your career, online DNP programs are worth looking into as this will prepare you for a role as a nurse leader and build the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed. Online DNP programs apply knowledge from organizational management, health policy, information technology and ethics, and help you to stand out with the highest credential for clinical nursing practice. Additionally, online DNP programs can provide a convenient pathway to leadership with flexible courses ideal for a working professional.
Bring A Positive Energy To Work
Big steps like online DNP programs are certainly helpful for advancing your career and standing out from the crowd, but there are also much smaller steps that you should also be taking. One of these - and something that is sometimes overlooked - is simply bringing in a positive energy to work each day. The nurses that radiate positivity will always stand out, be easier to work with and develop trust with patients. Obviously, this is difficult in a role that can be so demanding, stressful and often distressing, but looking after yourself (more on this to come) and taking pride in your work will be helpful.
Go The Extra Mile For Patients
Leading on from this, one of the most effective ways to stand out as well as improve your personal performance is being willing to go the extra mile for your patients (and their loved ones). Nurses play an incredibly important role in healthcare in that they provide both care and support, so you need to develop positive relationships with your patients and do all that you can to make them feel supported and looked after whether this is doing them a favor or sitting with them after your shift has ended. Nurses are caring people by nature and you need to make this evident with the way in which you look after your patients.
Learn From Senior Nurses
Online DNP programs and study are vital for progressing your career, but there is also a tremendous amount that you can learn from more senior nurses that you work with. Nursing can be stressful and overwhelming, but you are sure to notice that the senior nurses seem to take this in their stride and always seem composed. This is something that you will develop over time but try to learn as much as you can by both observing and asking them questions. If you are able to find a mentor at work, then this can be hugely helpful in more ways than one.
Be A Team Player While Showing Leadership Skills
As a nurse, you need to be a team player and happy to help no matter what role you are taking on - ultimately, it is all about the patient receiving the best level of care. While you certainly need to be a team player and be happy to support your fellow nurses, you also need to be able to show leadership skills in the work that you carry out as this will help you to stand out and show that you have the potential for a leadership role.
One way that you can show leadership potential and stand out from the crowd is to show initiative in your work. Those that have the knowledge, skills and confidence to make decisions and work independently will always be viewed favorably by management, especially in a field like nursing where being able to act swiftly is so important. In order to show initiative and make the right decisions, you will need to have expert knowledge, so online DNP programs and a high level of knowledge will be key otherwise you could be standing out for the wrong reasons when you show initiative.
While you certainly need to be able to show leadership skills and initiative, you also need to be humble and avoid coming across as overly confident. You need to learn as you go, show respect to those in more senior positions as well as your immediate colleagues, and build up experience over time. Additionally, never shy away from admitting that you do not know something or from asking questions - it is much better to ask a basic question rather than get something wrong which could negatively impact the care that a patient receives.
Develop Soft Skills
In addition to online DNP programs that will develop clinical skills and knowledge, it is also important to work on your soft skills, particularly if there are any areas that are weaknesses. Soft skills are useful in any line of work but particularly in nursing which requires excellent communication skills, problem solving, time management and the ability to prioritize your workload. You can often develop soft skills with research, courses and practice.
Make Your Career Goals Known
It will be hard to progress your career and take the next step if you do not make your career goals known to your superior. They may assume that you are happy where you are, so it is important to communicate your career goals and to ask them what you need to be doing to progress. This can open up a pathway for you to take the next step, plus it will make them realize that you could look for a move away if you do not get the chance to step up in the near future.
Ask For Feedback
Following this, you also need to ask for feedback from your superior, colleagues and even your patients. It is tough receiving constructive criticism, but often people will have a better idea of ways that you could improve than you will and it will help you to work on the areas that others have noticed. Not only this, but asking for feedback is brave and shows that you are committed to self-improvement and serious about developing your career and this will help you to stand out to your superiors.
Work On Your Weaknesses
Leading on from this point, once you have identified your weaknesses either through self-reflection and/or feedback, you then need to work on these areas. This is a highly effective way to improve as a nurse and become well-rounded, but it can also be one of the hardest because improving weaknesses is not always easy and can require a lot of work and stepping out of your comfort zone. Fortunately, the internet is a superb resource for nurses and you can often find a lot of helpful information online on how to improve in different areas and develop your skillset.
Stay Current With Developments
Nursing - and healthcare in general - is also an area that is constantly going through change; what worked 20 years ago is now often out of date and old fashioned. This is why even after online DNP programs, you still need to stay current with the latest trends, developments and issues relating to nursing and healthcare. Obviously, the pandemic has changed a lot over the last year and healthcare will be forever changed as a result, such as the rise of Telehealth. You can stay current with the latest trends and developments in nursing by reading journals and publications, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, attending industry events and networking.
Following this, as with any career field, you can always benefit from having a large professional network. The more people that you know in the industry and have positive relationships with, the more opportunities will present themselves and the better your professional reputation will be. Networking online has been popular in recent times and obviously during the pandemic, but when it is safe to do so you should also make the effort to network in person as this can be much more effective and allow you to create stronger relationships. It is not just about meeting people, though, as you must also maintain these relationships for the long-term which can take time and effort, but it is certainly important if you want to climb the ladder and develop your career.
Learn From Mistakes
As a nurse, mistakes are inevitable and it is how you respond to these that will be key. Obviously, you need to avoid making mistakes as much as possible, particularly with critical decisions, but when mistakes do happen, you need to be able to frame them as a learning opportunity. You should take the time to reflect on the mistake and how you can avoid making it in the future and then move on from it. Dwelling on mistakes can knock your confidence and hold you back, so you need to avoid doing this and instead try to learn as much as you can from what happened.
Look Out For New Opportunities
Opportunity rarely falls in your lap, so if you want to take the next step in your career then you will need to be proactive and seek out new opportunities. This might involve looking at different hospitals and even in different cities, so you may need to be willing to make a big change in your life if you are serious about progressing and reaching the next level.
Prioritize Your Own Health
It can be easy to neglect your own health as a nurse as the work can be so demanding, but if you do not look after yourself then it can negatively affect your performance, well-being and your personal life. It often takes nurses a while to figure out how they can look after themselves, but prioritizing eating a healthy diet, trying to get enough sleep each night and using your time off effectively are all key. Finding ways to de-stress outside of work is also hugely helpful, such as meditation, socializing with friends or hobbies. If you are ever struggling with your physical or mental health, you should not shy away from reaching out for support, as things can quickly spiral out of control and impact your health, career and personal life.
Keep Work & Personal Life Separate
Following on from this, you need to try and keep your work and personal life separate. This is difficult when you are dealing with upsetting and stressful things each and every day, but you need to be able to leave this behind when you leave work so that you can make the most of your time off, recharge your batteries and maintain a positive attitude. Not only this, but when you let work mix with your personal life, it can also negatively impact your life outside of work and even take its toll on your personal relationships.
These are the key areas to focus on if you want to stand out as a nurse and progress your career. It can be hard to stand out in a competitive field and when the work is so challenging and demanding, but it is possible if you are willing to put in the work. Sometimes this will involve big steps like online DNP programs, but there are also lots of smaller steps that you can take and when these are all combined together it can help to take your career to the next level. Not only will this help you to climb the ladder and earn more money, but it will also help to improve the level of care that you provide to patients and give you satisfaction knowing that you are making a difference.