There are so many ways that you can make your nursing career your own. If you currently aren’t finding it satisfying, or you are hoping that something will change, then be that change. It is up to you to drive forward and redefine what being a nurse means to you.
Some are happy to work in their current role. If they need a change of pace, they may look at a different workplace. If you enjoy being an RN, for example, but find that working in a hospital is burning you out, then switching and trying to find a job in a clinic, or a school, or even privately, can breathe new life into your career.
For others, they need to progress. Unlike other careers, of course, you cannot do the best work, network, and play the long game in the hopes that you get a promotion. In order to work as an APRN you will need to be legally licensed as an APRN, and to do that, you need training and to pass the exam.
The good news is that there are so many ways that you can customize your career. Before you jump, however, you are going to want to go through this guide:
Understand Your Options
There are so many directions that you can take in your nursing career. Knowing your options and having a realistic understanding of what the role involves, how much it makes on average in your state, and what you can do within the said role is key. You cannot direct your career if you don’t know the direction you are going, which is they the first step to taking charge is to know what you can do moving forward.
Your Licensing Freedoms
When it comes to planning out your career, it’s important to not just understand what you can do in your dream role in your state. If you live in a participating eNLC state, you have the option to easily transfer your license and work elsewhere. With that in mind, you owe it to yourself to see what the licensing rules and freedoms you would have if you moved and what requirements you would need to meet in order to make the switch.
An FNP nurse in some states needs the sign-off of a physician for almost everything. An FNP in another state, however, may have full-practice authority meaning that they can send off for tests, create treatment plans, and even write prescriptions.
By understanding what your options look like outside your state, you can take steps towards your goals, even if one of those steps involves moving.
Healthcare Career Options
When it comes to career options staying inside healthcare is going to be your best bet. You can work in hospitals and clinics, in specialist roles, in healthcare research, and so on. You can work directly with patients or adjacently with them.
If you want to revitalize your career and take it in a new direction, you will, of course, need to go back to your education. The good news is that there are so many ways that you can focus your efforts, expand your reward, and do it all while you continue to work.
Private Career Options
There are so many unique roles once you head out of healthcare itself. To get these jobs, you will typically need to be part of an agency (or several, if you are not contracted). What this means is that the agency will be contacted by private patients all the way to companies when they need nurses on site. You may work as a private carer or as part of the health and safety team at an event.
No job will look the same, and that’s great! It’s ideal for those who love variety and want to help others while also pursuing their individual passions (research, movies, music, etc.).
It is important to acknowledge that everyone has different cycles and values. Some are suited for a slow, easy workday that does not contain too many dips or turns. Others thrive in fast-paced environments that challenge them. We are all different, and trying to fit yourself into a career path that simply does not suit how you want to live is not how you will take charge of your nursing career.
It is far better, to be honest with yourself and not just do things because it’s good for your career. There are so many great jobs that you can do as a nurse, and all of them make an impact on your community in one way or another. What it boils down to is what level of work you love doing, what topics you are passionate about, and what you are willing to go above and beyond for.
Some nurses are passionate about helping their community directly. Even with this goal, however, how you go about it should suit you and your interests. Some may want to work in satellite clinics or in grassroots organizations in order to help at-risk patients that otherwise wouldn’t get treatment. People with a similar goal may find it too stressful to work in these environments or had a bad experience and are more comfortable achieving the same goal from within a private hospital.
There is no right or wrong answer, just what works best for you. So long as you feel fulfilled, supported, and engaged with your job, it doesn’t matter what it is!
Making Progress in Your Career
Knowing the direction you want to take in your career is an excellent place to start. Next, you will need to start making steps towards actually realizing said goals.
Bundle Your Education Pursuits
There are several new and exciting degree options that will help you dedicate yourself to your goals. You could, for example, enroll in a BSN to DNP program. You could also opt for a dual track. What these bundled options do is simply have you complete the credits all at once.
Instead of finishing your MSN and then, later on, going for your DNP, you will immediately start working on the DNP coursework. Similarly, with a dual track option, you will add on two extra semesters in order to graduate with the two qualifications.
For example, if you enroll in this Rockhurst University Online MSN dual FNP AGACNP program, it will take either eight semesters to complete if attending full-time or ten semesters if attending part-time. The time it takes for a single-focus MSN? The single-track programs take six semesters to complete full-time and eight semesters part-time.
This dual-track option lets you combine two different nursing disciplines into one degree. It is ideal for nurses who aim to care for patients of all ages and various medical conditions.
This is just one example. There are an increasing number of bundled degree options out there, so if your goal isn’t to become an FNP-AGACNP, then keep looking. One thing to keep in mind, of course, is that the programs you look at must be available to nurses in your state. States have complex agreements with each other, so while you may be able to enroll without a hitch, it’s always better to double-check.
Yes, even nursing needs networking. Networking simply means keeping in touch and being active within your community. If you want to go all out with your networking efforts, help others. Helping others, offering advice, and passing on job opportunities or new degree programs can establish you in your network.
You want people to vouch for you. You want people to think of you when they come across an opportunity or are hiring. Get out there and meet nurses and healthcare leaders beyond your current workplace. This may mean going to workshops, or conferences, or even just going online.
If you want a job role, then you need to be proactive. It may take years to get to where you want to be, and even then, where you end up may not be what you initially envisioned for yourself. The point is, by being proactive (keeping an eye on job opportunities, letting key people know your goals, and of course, committing to further education as required), you can start to realize your goals.
There is no guarantee that you’ll get your dream job, but by being proactive, you will let those around you know what your passions are and what you want out of your career. This way, it isn’t just you looking. When those in your field know what your goals are, they are more likely to think of you when a similar opportunity comes up. If the opportunity in question ticks your boxes, take it. Getting to your dream is a matter of taking stepping stones. Don’t get too caught up in the details of your goals, either. By broadening your goal to working in a certain kind of role, rather than working in one specific job with one specific employer, you increase your chances.