If you feel as though now is the perfect time to take your nursing career in an exciting new direction, it is probably worth reminding yourself of the thousands of wonderful opportunities at your fingertips!

The healthcare industry is rife with opportunities for those who wish to consistently develop their professional skillsets and make a meaningful impact in the lives of those around them. 

The sky is the limit if you recognize the importance of continuous education, training, dedication, and self-motivation. It can be a long journey, one that is often fraught with exceptionally demanding and strenuous workdays, and one that will undoubtedly prove to be a real test of your resolve. 

Because of this unique way of working, the rewards are utterly immense and profoundly fulfilling. If you have been a nurse for a while, however, you will likely already know this. 

If you are standing on the edge of possibility, thinking of a bright future, and preparing to take the next few steps, here are some important points to hopefully help you along your way.

Becoming a Leader

In many ways, all nurses possess the qualities of a great leader, and they are all leaders in their own right. 

If you feel as though you want to pursue a managerial-type role and use your elite experience to lead a cohesive team of nurses throughout the average working day, then progressing into an executive position could be the best way to go for you. 

Thankfully, there are some wonderful remote learning opportunities online to help you do just that, and wonderful institutions can offer you the chance to get your hands on some extremely advanced degrees, so it may be in your best interests to check out some nursing leadership courses

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Becoming a leader is a huge step in anyone’s career, and it is a step that often requires a substantial amount of training and formal education – you might find that you are totally ready, and all that stands between you and the next stage of your journey is a qualification. 

As with most advanced roles in healthcare, the way to unlock the doors to progression is through education, so as long as you are willing to commit to more learning at every opportunity, you should never find yourself stagnating in your line of work. 

Meeting a Mentor

A little guidance never usually goes amiss, particularly when that guidance comes from an experienced and trusted mentor, one that can support you throughout your journey of personal and professional growth. 

Meeting a mentor can be a momentous occasion in anyone’s career, and it is an opportunity that should be greeted with open arms. 

How exactly can this help you take your nursing career in a new direction? It could enable you to relish in the helpful advice of those who went before you, which can be handy if you have not yet fully decided on where to turn next. 

Say you were interested in moving into a new and unfamiliar area of nursing, and you were not yet fully aware of what the responsibility physically entails – meeting someone who already has a granular understanding of the role can help you widen your perspective and hopefully, enable you to find the perfect job for you to explore. 

Plus, mentors are generally great to have around in terms of everyday support, and they can probably teach you more than a few tips and tricks that one only learns from experience. Mentors can change the way in which you work forever, hopefully for the best, so make sure you take some time to find the right one

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Discovering Your Preferences

Depending on how long you have spent nursing, you may or may not have decided on what kind of work fits your personality and skillset the best. Don’t worry if you can’t seem to decide, it takes time, and since there are so many avenues to explore, there is a good chance you still have much to discover! 

In this regard, finding the right direction in which to take your career may require you to have a long think about what your goals are and where you want to be in the next few years. 

You could start by asking yourself some important questions like:

  • Do I want to have a patient-facing job? If the answer is no, there are countless roles worth considering, such as nurse educator, forensic nurse, nurse researcher, a medical writer, to name just a few. 
  • What Kind of environment do I enjoy working in? It is worth remembering that there are many roles outside of the hospital environment, so if you wanted a change of scenery, you could think about becoming a travel nurse, an FNP, or a nurse laboratory technician. 
  • What do I enjoy most about my current role? If you truly love certain aspect of your job, then why not double down on it and pursue a new venture that lets you maximize that element? If you function well in emergency situations, why not get an ACLS certification and make them your expertise? Sometimes, the answer to what comes next might be closer than you think.

These are just a few questions to get you started, but there is plenty of ground to cover, so you may wish to start writing up a list of pros and cons to each of your would-be roles. 

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Volunteer/Shadow 

If you are unsure as to whether or not you might actually enjoy your prospective role moving forward, it is probably worth seeking out an opportunity to try it before you dive in. 

Volunteering is a superb way to get yourself some hands-on experience, and it is a good way to bolster your professional resume. If you do not have the time or the contacts to help you do this at the moment, then you could always consider shadowing someone for the day. 

If you still don’t know where to take your nursing career next, you might want to think about the many great skills you have picked up already and how they will most likely benefit you in whichever direction you end up taking. 

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