A Guide To Excelling In Your Nursing Career

Updated on January 28, 2022
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The nursing profession is advancing and progressive. A lot is happening in the scientific world; doctors and nurses discover new and improved medications and treatments, not to mention the complete overtake of healthcare by technology. If one cannot keep up with this pace of change, one cannot survive in the healthcare industry. 

Nursing is especially a career in perpetual influx; new nursing specializations become part of this career to provide more specialized and focused care to the patients and improve patient outcomes. This continuous change in the field is beneficial for nurses. It does not let them be comfortable in one position or role and pushes them to do more, be more competent, and meet the competition heads on.

In nursing, your work is to take care of patients, make sure they get the proper treatment, and all their needs are met adequately. But it is also your responsibility to take care of your personal growth and development, ensuring that your career does not stagnate over time. When you see yourself developing in your career, feeling more energetic and encouraged about improving your skillset is a natural reaction. One thing that often bars people from taking new steps is the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of getting success. But, how would you develop if not through pushing your limits or plunging yourself in unfamiliar waters? More risk is often associated with greater benefit.

Ways to Develop your nursing career

In nursing, if you want success in your career, make sure your career does not stagnate over time. One way is getting higher education. You can work as an RN with just an ADN degree, but you can enhance your nursing career with a BSN degree which is always preferable by the employer when they hire new nurses for their patient care facility.

Healthcare is already in need of skilled nurses; more nurses earning a BSN degree can fulfill the nursing shortage, which will attack healthcare in the next few years. What else? Today highly qualified nurses make more than those with basic nursing education or diploma education because new qualifications come with new responsibilities.

A BSN degree opens new options for earning a specialization. With the required certifications, you can choose one of the many specialized areas of nursing, focus all your attention on gaining knowledge about that field and be better than others in your field. Some of the specializations open to you due to a BSN degree include Pediatric Care, ICU/Emergency Care, Cardiac Care, Nurse Entrepreneur, Hospice/Palliative Care, and many others.

Other ways to advance your career include:

Choosing a mentor

A mentor guides you about the rough patches of your career. They listen to your problems and concerns, discuss your issues with you and let you learn from their experience. Mentors are important because learning from good and bad decisions is always better than repeating the same mistakes.

A highlighting benefit of having a mentor is their ability to give valuable career advice to you. Since they have been through all the stages you are going through now, they can help you make the right career choices. 

They can help you choose the most in-demand specialization or prefer one hospital over the other. Research has also emphasized the positive outcomes of developing a mentor-mentee relationship. 

Studies suggest that mentorship leads to better promotion prospects, improved performance at work, reduced time in settling at a new place, increased retention of nurses, better job satisfaction among staff, reduced isolation, to name a few. In addition, the non-judgmental attitude of a seasoned mentor is like a booster shot for your career growth.

Develop your connections

Developing connections is not limited to business fields only; it is equally essential for nurses working in various settings. Your ideas about enhancing patient care standards, improving systems in healthcare, and garnering positive patient outcomes, cannot become a reality until you meet people from decision-making ranks. Networking allows you to make your ideas heard even if you are a newbie.

People won’t know that you are one of the most competent nurses and that they can approach you when the position opens until they know you exist. The way to tell them is by connecting with them. You can develop your network by attending seminars, lectures, conferences on nursing or healthcare in general. Other ways include keeping in touch with your college teachers and supervisors, collaborating with your previous institutions for lectures on nursing and actual fieldwork, or getting engaged with people on social media. Social media like Twitter and Facebook have significantly reduced the difference in ranks and professional standing when sharing your ideas. You can be a part of a few professional groups, leave constructive comments under the posts of prominent people and give a glimpse of your thinking.

Work in many different nursing units

Even if you are not yet inclined to earn a new specialization, you can still work in different nursing units to advance your knowledge base. The more roles you experience in your career, the broader your nursing perspective. This way, you will also know what fields you like and where you don’t really like working, making your specialization decision easier and more informed. With more experience, you can better market yourself in the field. Hospitals still consider nurses with the experience of multiple units a precious resource. Moreover, with a diverse background, you also become an attractive choice for management positions where working with various nursing units is the central tenant of the job.

Why develop your nursing career?

Now that we know about how to develop your nursing career, it is important to understand why a nurse would want to leave the comfort of their workplace and get additional responsibilities. Well, for many earning more money and getting a promotion are not the primary reasons to excel in their field; it is the satisfaction and meaningfulness of their career that keeps them going. Finding yourself being a part of the groups considered the change and decision-makers in your field is a big boost to your self-esteem. A sense of satisfaction about your job also reduces burnout, which is extremely common among nurses.


Nursing is a dynamic career; therefore, it always needs individuals who can keep up with its pace, grow in their career, and assume higher responsibilities. There are countless ways to develop your nursing career, but the main ingredient is to have the courage to experience and accept challenges that come your way. Your courage helps you discuss your ideas at important forums, ask questions to remove your ambiguities and get in touch with mentors.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.