Whether you are an RN or LPN, it is important that you take control of your professional future and make sure that you are progressing wisely down your career path. Here are five essential steps to advance your nursing career.

1. Further your education.

Going back to school and getting an advanced degree or certification will improve your nursing knowledge and skills necessary to further your nursing career and promotion. Advancing your education will also give you the tools and credentials necessary for taking on new challenges.

2. Find a mentor.

Mentors are great sources of information and career guidance. You should identify an experienced and successful person who you are most comfortable with either inside or outside of your organization, and don’t be afraid to ask for career advice and guidance.

3. Join nursing organizations and attend nursing conferences.

This is the best way to build your professional network and advance your nursing knowledge and skills. Networking is a great way to make personal and professional connections and build relationships with other nursing professional colleagues. Attending conferences will give you the opportunity to gain knowledge from experts and meet with other professional colleagues who have similar interests from different organizations.

4. Volunteer and get involved.

Showing your interest and willingness to get involved, you will stand out as a leader. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and broadens your support network that could be beneficial to your nursing career. Getting involved gives you a chance to incubate your talent, cultivate skills, and make contacts so you can more easily boost yourself to greater success in your next career move.

5. Leverage communications and interpersonal skills.

Effective communications and interpersonal skills are vital to your career success. They can make employees at any levels valuable to their workplace. Applying your own interpersonal skills in professional conversations is more of an art than a science that requires practice. Be friendly, passionate, and self-aware, listen carefully to people, and practice being a clear and effective communicator. These skills have a positive impact on your success and offer you the chance to advance your career.

Nuananong Seal, PhD, RN

Nuananong Seal, PhD, RN, is an experienced researcher in health promotion and project director of a non-profit health and wellness program.

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