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The right steps to grow your career may not always be the obvious choices. For instance, you may be faced with a choice between two job options, one of which pays much more money. If the monetary gain is your only criteria to grow a career in healthcare, this might be the choice you make. However, if you use other criteria to grow a successful and challenging career, the choice you make between those two jobs may not be as obvious.
Where do you think you’ll be in the next five years? How about in the next 10? Unless you’re making decisions based on a plan of action, you may be right where you started years from now. Here are five important action steps you can take right now to ensure the career you grow is the one you want.
It might seem obvious, but you won’t know where you’re going until you’ve made a plan. Start with a goal of where you would like to grow your career. Are you interested in teaching? Do you need a master’s degree to get that done? Would you like to get into administration? Are you more interested in having your own practice as a nurse practitioner? The goals you set for yourself will be based on your own interests, and you may find these change over time. In other words, once you reach your first goal, you might find it’s not exactly what you thought it would be and your plans may change. This is when having a strong mentor can be a significant advantage.
A mentor is a role model who can pass along their wisdom to you as you’re growing your nursing career. One way of using a mentor you may not have considered is the mentor doesn’t even have to know they’re mentoring you! In other words, you may find someone in the healthcare field who has done exceptionally well and whom you would like to emulate. You can follow their career path and make your decisions based on what they would have done. They won’t even know they’re mentoring you! However, if it’s possible, there’s nothing that can replace the real-life experience of someone who has traveled the path you want to take. This is not something you’re going to find in a textbook. Don’t limit yourself to one trusted colleague, as it may be necessary to gather information from different people for different purposes.
Once you know the direction you’re taking and are working with someone, it’s time to step out and move forward. Evaluate the skills you have now and compare them to those you’ll need to achieve your ultimate goal. To achieve those skills, you may need a new certification or have to go back to school. Consider joining a professional organization since it looks great on your resume and offers you the opportunity to network with people like yourself who want to improve their perspectives and build strong connections. Volunteer for leadership positions. While working in an unpaid position might sound like work you don’t have time for, it is a great way to gather new skills without paying for them. You upgrade your resume, gain experience and network with more people, all at the same time.
It’s important you build your own network of individuals who are interested in some of the same things you are. This offers you the opportunity to exchange ideas and gather new experiences. Networking within the healthcare environment is a vital step in growing your professional career. However, your career goals may also lend themselves to networking with individuals outside of the industry. You can build a network by volunteering, attending workshops and conferences, and even participating in webinars. This can also be a unique way of finding a mentor who is exactly where you want to be.
Any growth in your career requires additional experience, and oftentimes education. Your investment in growing your professional knowledge takes time, energy and commitment. It’s a personal journey that comes with significant rewards, eventually helping you become successful. Depending on your current level of education and your ultimate goal, you may need to consider further college education for a higher degree or want to evaluate specialized courses and sit for specific certification exams. Furthering your education also helps you be an active member of a community of exceptional nurses.
By remaining curious, asking questions and continuing to learn, you’re able to challenge yourself, enrich your days and provide exceptional patient care. If you’re interested in taking the next step in your career, our professional recruiters at Capital Healthcare Solutions are ready to work with you to achieve your goals. Contact us today!