Whatever the job may be, individuals have the option to just get by or put in hard work and see the undeniable, self-fulfilling results. Such is the case for one of the more demanding jobs in the market today: nursing. Although the job by default requires long hours of focused work, there also is the potential for employees to slack off and not put in the necessary work that the job most definitely demands.
Keith Carlson, a registered nurse, discusses this very point, as he directs his advice to every nurse who wants to fully develop their respective careers. On his online blog entitled “Nurse Keith’s Digital Doorway,” Carlson goes into detail on how exactly a nurse should approach developing the career, as points out that, “The work of nursing career-building and career management is multifaceted.” Carlson elaborates on this point by saying that the different points of interest for nurses should include particular focus on education, networking, persona health and drive, developing clinical skills, as well as becoming a more well-rounded individual.
Carlson’s writings derive from years of experience, as he is a well-rounded individual with a variety of accolades to his name. The man’s accomplishments include his establishment of the site entitled “Nurse Keith” as well as the previously mentioned nursing blog. In addition to this, Carlson co-hosts a nursing podcast on the site RNFMRadio.com, authored multiple books, and has guest spoken for several keynotes.
With this previously mentioned blog post of his, Carlson hopes to better educate registered nurses of how they can make the best career for themselves. This is ultimately done by outlining the necessary factors that contribute to a more developed career in nursing, which include the various points previously discussed.
Moving towards a better career
One of the first points that Carlson makes in terms of developing one’s nursing career included education. Carlson makes the point that education should very much be a constant process in a nurse’s career, with the goal of always evolving and staying sharp for the ever-changing work environments. An interesting point of his included his idea that all nurses should consider obtaining their bachelor of science in nursing, also known as a BSN, if they have not already.
This proclamation is directed towards the nurses who have only obtained their associates degree in nursing. The point was made due to the fact that a growing amount of employers are only accepting nurses with a bachelor's degree, ultimately limiting the once more abundant options for nurses that only have their associates degree. On this very topic, Carlson says, “With so many in the healthcare sphere now recognizing the BSN as the preferred entry-level degree for the profession, it's now a no-brainer for most nurses to get their BSN.” Carlson follows up with this directive by pointing out that nurse practitioners (NPs) as well as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are growing career choices with the potential for a substantial increase in options in the near future.
Along these lines Carlson mentions that, “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners will see 31% job growth nationwide through 2024, with registered nurses hovering around 16-17%. Meanwhile, all professions as a whole will only see about 7% job growth in the same period.” As Carlson highlights, nursing is indeed a career with an ever-growing demand from year to year.
In addition to education, Carlson advocates for professional networking within the nursing community. On this topic Carlson states that, “Building a strong network of like-minded professionals could not be more important at any stage of your nursing career. Whether you need a recommendation, a referral, advice, or a reference letter, your network is where you can turn for all of this and more.” It goes without saying that this advice applies to all career choices, as doing so opens up a variety of options for any individuals wanting to increase their choices and potential career options. This also enables the much needed exposure for those with the necessary skill sets whose voices may not be heard.
One of the other pieces of advice Carlson mentioned in his blog consisted of building a nurse's clinical skills. In most cases, nurses will have experienced years of “clinicals” during their time spent in nursing school. A clinical is defined as a chance to obtain hands-on experience for a plethora of different scenarios a nursing student may see in their future career. Carlson discusses the various ways in which a nurse can build on their respective clinical skills. One approach includes experiencing new skills whilst on the job. This can be one of the most practical ways in which nurses can continue to stay sharp with their nursing careers. The other approach includes obtaining additional certifications and undergoing specific training courses as a means of developing one’s clinical skill set. Carlson discusses this idea when he mentions that, “Some nurses choose to pursue certifications or trainings in order to become more effective nurse clinicians. A nurse midwife might seek training in performing colposcopies. A nurse in the cardiac field might study ECG interpretation until he's an absolute expert.” In focusing on developing their clinical skills, nurses are able to better market themselves, as well as put themselves in a good position to be hired for various hospital floors, such as surgical, post-op, and so on.
One focal point that Carlson highlighted in his blog may be one of the most applicable to all career fields, in addition to nursing. The registered nurse pointed out that one of the key aspects to creating a well-developed career includes keeping up with one’s own well-being.
This proves to be important in all cases because an employee’s mental and physical health will dictate how well they can work within the workplace. On this point Carlson states, “I've known plenty of nurses with plenty of experience and knowledge under their belt but they were still miserable, both personally and professionally. This is sad but true, and one reason I've discovered for this negative outcome is that certain nurses choose to not work on themselves on a personal level.” Personal development in all cases should very well be the first thing that employees should address in their pursuit of a more fulfilling career experience.
The future for nurses
There are a variety of ways by which nurses can set themselves apart from the average employee at their respective hospital. In doing so, nurses have the potential to fully realize the vast opportunities that exist with the occupation. Some of the points, however, do not only apply to nursing. Utilizing methods such as networking, additional training, and personal development will help anyone who strives to better themselves in the workplace. By becoming more proactive in the pursuit of a better career, a more positive and fulfilling experience may be had for all of those willing to take the leap. As it has been said in the past, those who truly love their career never have to work a day in their life.