4 Ways You Can Help Your Nurses Advance Through Their Careers

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Nursing is a very competitive field. There is no shortage of nursing graduates out there, so anything a nurse can do to distinguish themselves is invaluable. Investing in the training and development of your nurses brings a number of benefits to them and to you and your business.

Why You Should Invest in Your Nurses’ Futures

Businesses are often wary about investing money in training their employees when there’s the potential for the employee to take those skills to another employer. After training and development, your nurses will be more valuable and able to leverage better jobs than they otherwise could. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent this, but you shouldn’t be too afraid of it.

Investing in the development and career advancement of individual nurses on your staff does more good than harm. Even after you factor in the relative few who will just take the money, or training, and run to a higher paying job, the remaining nurses will be better trained and more loyal to your business. 

Nursing is a competitive field in the United States. While the market varies from state to state, there are a large number of applicants on a national level and a steady stream of graduates transitioning straight from college to industry. Nurses are therefore always eager to expand their knowledge. There’s an endless array of potential courses, certificates, degrees and other training units for nurses to undertake.

As an employer, you have the potential to facilitate the development of your nurses. The end result will be a staff of more competent, more qualified, more valuable and more loyal nurses. Here are four ways that you can make a real difference to your nurses’ advancement through the ranks.

Invest in Their Education

In order to work as a nurse, nurses have to complete the same basic training throughout the US. Nurses will first seek their licensed practical or vocational nursing degree (LPN/LVN), before earning their associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). The ADN is required before nurses are able to treat patients.

Make connections with local community colleges and training hospitals. Scout out the most gifted students and offer to pay the costs of their ADN if they then come and work for your company.

You can similarly invest in the cost of degrees and other qualifications for your existing nursing staff. This can either be a way of acquiring more specialist skills amongst your staff, or just advancing your nurses so they are able to take on more senior roles within healthcare facilities.

Thanks to the advent of free CEUs for nurses, you can help your nurses develop without having to spend a penny. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are used to measure how many contact hours nurses have with a patient. A contact hour is a 50 to 60-minute period during which the nurse undertakes an activity or class approved by the NCSBN. Every 10 contact hours are equal to one CEU.

There are plenty of potential activities and classes for your nurses to undertake. Even if you only give your nurses an hour or two a week in which they can work on building their CEUs, it could make a big difference to their long-term career.

Facilitate Their Networking

Networking is an important part of working as a nurse. Finding the perfect nursing job is difficult, as everyone has different preferences and tastes, but the best jobs can be found through networking.

There are plenty of ways that you can facilitate networking without giving your competitors a chance to lure your employees away. Instead, invite individual speakers and groups who can give lectures or host other events aimed at educating your nurses. Nursing is a fast-moving field; there are always new developments occurring and new research being published. Guest speakers are great at facilitating both education and networking for your nurses.

Inviting guest speakers in is also a great way of building your links with local healthcare and nursing facilities. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be on the constant lookout for new clients. If so, an invitation to come and speak to your nursing staff is a great way of breaking the ice.

Introduce Mentoring

Mentoring is a fantastic way of ensuring that the knowledge, skills and training that you invest in can be passed on. The more your most senior nurses know, the more valuable they are as teachers. Mentoring will give them an opportunity to train junior nurses with more advanced skills and techniques than they would otherwise encounter. Mentoring is a cost-effective way of giving your junior nurses a better training experience.

Mentoring relationships take a long time to develop. It is therefore vital that you carefully consider who you pair together. The wrong pairing will hinder both sides and can ultimately defeat the entire purpose of mentoring. You need to choose pairs who are going to get along with one another on both a personal and professional level.

Consider what the likely career paths are for the nurses on your staff. Choose pairings that will be of the most benefit to the junior nurse. If they are showing a clear preference for a particular career path, choose a mentor who can guide them along it.

Foster Professionalism

If you are going to go all in on investing in training your nurses, you will also need to create a business environment that they want to work in. Instead of being afraid of your most valuable nurses seeking out better positions elsewhere, strive to make your business the one that they would choose to work at if they could take their pick.

Professionalism isn’t the same as stuffiness, you can have a professional workplace that is relaxed and friendly. In fact, more professional workplaces often find that the reductions in stress that come with a well-organized and efficient workplace far outweigh any perceived drawbacks.

Investing in your nurses’ futures should be a win-win. If you want a nursing business that will attract the very best, show your staff that you are serious about fostering their love of nursing. If you are bold and willing to go above and beyond your competitors in encouraging training and advancement, you will have no trouble retaining your most valuable staff.

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