In a 21st-century nursing job market where competition is tough, effort is rewarded by outcome. For those nurses and healthcare professionals who sit on their laurels and don’t do the work, career growth can be stunted. But for those willing to put in the sweat equity, the potential return on investment is high.
On this episode, we reference a recent blog post that delineated the aspects of a nurse’s life and career that deserve due diligence and attention. In this regard, we explore:
- Clinical skill-building
- Personal wellness
- Other miscellaneous skills
Here are blog excerpts for each of these areas. Read the original post and listen to the podcast for the complete picture.
Education can and should be an ongoing project of your nursing career. Education can be formal, of course, and many nurses make the choice to return to school and continue to advance their academic standing.
Aside from formal education, let’s not forget continuing education and certifications. We can learn in the context of seminars, webinars, and online and in-person CEU courses. We can also gain a great deal of education from podcasts, blogs, books, articles, and journals. Education doesn’t need to be formal to be effective at moving the needle of your career. And certifications can really boost your marketability in your chosen area of nursing focus.
Those of you who have read my first book (or tuned in to this blog or my podcasts) know that I’m a big believer and evangelist for professional networking.
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.
Social media is one place to lean in for networking (LinkedIn, etc), but face-to-face networking skills are also important. Learn how to network and put effort into growing your list of connections throughout your career.
Aside from amassing book knowledge, clinical skills are important for a large swath of nurses working in the field. Granted, we don’t all have clinically oriented jobs, but those who do need to keep up their skills and continue to advance their expertise.
Hands-on clinical skill-building can happen on the job, of course. Many nurses gain skills just by watching skilled colleagues or engaging with a clinical nurse educator in their workplace.
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.
Building clinical skills increases expertise and knowledge, and also increases marketability. And for career growth, marketability is important for the long haul in a shifting healthcare landscape.
Emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth are as important for nurses as anyone else, sometimes even moreso. When we lack self-awareness, personal insight, and the power to perceive our lives through different lenses, we lose out on our ability to be truly happy. A clinically astute nurse with unresolved issues of addiction, depression, loneliness, or low self-esteem can still end up having a wretched career or a less than palatable end to their career (Nurse Jackie being a fictional example of such).
If you’re a nurse who’s dedicated to helping others when they’re at their most vulnerable, you not only need clinical skills, but you also need to be able to process your own feelings that surface in the course of your work. Developing emotional and relational intelligence are skills that bring a vast array of personal and professional benefits over time.
Plenty of other skills can benefit a nurse and a nursing career. Since nurses are so involved in patient education and coaching, communication skills are crucial for positive nurse-patient connection. Communication can also improve professional relationships, leadership abilities, and relationships with paraprofessionals, direct reports, and non-healthcare colleagues.
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