How to Stand Out and Progress as a Nurse

How to Stand Out and Progress as a Nurse

March 19, 2021

Are you looking to stand out in a nursing career but struggling to do so? This is not uncommon as nursing is an incredibly popular and competitive profession, which can make it difficult for people to stand out and climb the ladder. While it is difficult, there are many effective strategies to try that should help you to stand out for the right reasons and progress your career. This is not easy and will require a lot of ongoing work, but it can be a rewarding journey, and one that can help you to get more from your job and really make a difference with your work.

Find a Mentor

One of the best things that a young nurse can do to advance their career is to find a mentor. Having a senior nurse take you under their wing can be immensely helpful in a few different ways, including providing advice and helping you to avoid common mistakes, introducing you to their network and providing emotional support. Those that have a mentor often develop the fastest and it can be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety early in your career.

Identify Your Weaknesses

Many people shy away from taking a long hard look in the mirror, but if you want to progress and stand out then it is important to be self-aware and to not only identify what your weaknesses are but take steps to improve on them. If you are having trouble finding these weaknesses yourself, do not be afraid of asking for feedback from others – it might be hard to hear, but it will do you good in the long-run and show that you are committed to self-improvement.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Soft skills are important in most jobs, but especially in nursing, which is centered on efficient communication and organization. Make sure that your soft skills are strengths and work on any that you feel could be holding you back. As a nurse, a few of the key soft skills include:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Presentational skills
  • Working as part of a team
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Prioritizing workloads
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Be a Team Player

As mentioned in the intro, nursing is a highly competitive field but this does not mean that you should be looking to get one over on your fellow nurses. There is a strong sense of community among nurses and only those that are team players and look out for one another will succeed and progress their career. If you are struggling with a patient or having a bad day (there are sure to be a few!), you would want a fellow nurse to offer their support and advice, so you should always be willing to do the same.

Choose a Path

You can choose from a range of specializations as a nurse practitioner and, while you should certainly following a path that interests you, many struggle to choose between adult geriatric (AGNP) and family practitioner (FNP). In order to progress your career, an FNP could be the best option because you can care for patients of all ages, which will make you more in-demand and you can practice in numerous different settings – you can visit this website to find out more.

Go the Extra Mile

When you become a nurse, you are committing to a unique job and one that you cannot simply do the bare minimum with. You need to be willing to go the extra mile every day, whether this is sticking around after a shift to sit with a patient, helping out a fellow nurse or volunteering for a project. Those that stand out are the ones that have a clear passion for what they do and see nursing not just as a way to earn money but more a way of life.

Stay Current

Following this, nursing is a field that is constantly going through changes, especially when it comes to new technologies, trends, challenges, techniques and medical breakthroughs. This means that you need to stay current if you are to excel in your role and there are many effective ways to do this, such as:

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Look After Yourself

Ironically, many nurses end up focusing so much on other people that they neglect their own health and wellbeing. This is dangerous because not only could it negatively affect your workplace performance but it could also affect your overall health, happiness and life outside of work. This is why it is so important to practice self-care and to lead a healthy lifestyle. This can be challenging when you have such a demanding job, which requires smart use of your time and prioritizing areas like diet, sleep, use of time off and managing your stress and mental health. 

Learn From Your Mistakes

When you work such a demanding job, it is inevitable that you make mistakes. Obviously, you need to do all that you can to prevent mistakes especially vital areas like medications, but when they do happen you should try to view them as a learning opportunity and not let them knock your confidence. Many young nurses struggle to bounce back from a mistake and lose confidence, which will hold you back, so instead, you need to pick yourself up, learn what went wrong and make sure that it does not happen again. 

Develop a Thick Skin

Following this point, no amount of study will prepare you for the things that you will see as a nurse. This will always be a shock at first, but you need to learn how to develop a thick skin and not let the things you see and experience interfere with your performance and life outside of work. This is why you often hear of nurses and other healthcare professionals having a dark sense of humor as this is a way of coping with the difficult things that they see each day.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to stand out and improve your performance as a nurse so that you can progress your career and get more from your job.


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