The nursing industry has some of the best career opportunities in terms of growth and income. Nursing careers offer job security and provide lots of room for advancement with a wide variety of career paths that you can pursue. Where do you see your nursing career taking you in the next 5 years? What about the next 10 or 20? If these questions are running through your mind, it will do you a world of good to know all the options you have in store for you.

Regardless of whether you are an RN or LPN, it is vital that you take control of your professional future and make progress down the career path of your choice. When you’re first starting, it can be difficult to get your career going; new graduates can jump-start their nursing career by doing extensive research on their options before they choose which path to follow. In this article, we provide tried and tested tips to help graduates move up the ranks, and these tips also work for nurses looking to move their stalled career forward. We will answer all your questions.

Taking the Next Step in Your Nursing Career:

New Graduates: Newly graduated nursing students need to know that there are many avenues they can take, but to do so, graduates need to continue their education and attain advanced certifications. Regardless of the experience you’ve gained, having a degree as proof of your education will help you get into the growing number of professions in nursing. If you haven’t graduated and want to enter the nursing field, go through the prerequisites you need to get into nursing school at the given link.

Experienced Nursing Professionals: If you’re an experienced nursing professional, there are several opportunities in advanced practice nursing that you can pursue.
Advanced practice nurses fall into four categories:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

All these careers require an advanced education certification and a sizeable clinical experience. Depending on the career, the certification and state licensing requirements may vary along with the salaries. These factors differ according to your location, educational levels, and practice setting.

Which nursing specializations will transform your nursing career?

A nurse can lead his/her career path in many different ways, especially those who have taken the time and effort to add specializations and credentials to their general RN designation. Let’s take a look at some interesting nursing specializations that will help you change things up:

  1. Travel Nursing: Travel nurses seek out some of the most competitive offers and opportunities in nursing and get to explore different parts of the country. According to TravelNursing.org, travel nurses can earn about $75,000 per year. Travel nurses are hired for short-term positions that range from 8 to 20+ weeks, by staying on your toes and doing good work, your travel nursing agency employer will be keen on placing you in new positions and sending you to new places.

  2. Health Policy Nurse: Nurses looking to become part of a team that works to change and improve the existing healthcare system should consider becoming health policy nurses. Choosing this career specialization will take you into public health issue territory. You will work with legislative changes, public policies, health education, and research programs.

  3. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: CRNAs make a significantly more amount of money than RNs. According to the BLS, the annual mean salary was $158,900 as of May 2014. Salaries can go over the $200k mark in some cities. Moreover, the demand for this position is expected to grow by 25 percent by the end of 2022.

  4. Nursing Informatics: Heading down this path will take you away from the mainstream clinical duties and send you down a more analytic/research path. The need for specialists in this career is huge, according to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) up to 70,000 nursing informatics specialists/analysts would be needed in the next 5 years.

  5. Nurse Educator: If the physical demands are too taxing for you, and you have a passion for teaching, becoming a nurse educator will help you parlay the knowledge and experience you’ve earned.

5 Tips to Advance Your Nursing Career:

  1. Invest in your education: Going back to school is the ideal way to acquire the skills you need to survive in a nursing landscape, which is largely impacted by advancing technology. Since nursing is a lifelong career choice, longevity is very important. Stagnation in your career occurs when you don’t have the education qualification required to move forward. Hence, it’s important to invest in continuing education.

  2. Build a strong network and utilize it: Join nursing organizations and attend nursing conferences to meet eminent personalities and connect with them. By doing so, you can call back on them and get the advice you need at crucial points of your career. Attending conferences will allow you to pick up knowledge from experts and meet with other professional colleagues who have similar interests so you can get a better understanding of the career landscape.

  3. Choose a mentor: A good mentor will become your source for good information and career guidance; every nurse, especially new graduates, need to find a mentor they can rely on when they feel stuck. Mentors will give you personal advice on what can be your next step and how to advance your career.

  4. Practice self-promotion: Tooting your own horn isn’t always bad. Sometimes it will help organizations recognize your skill, and potential employers can find you easily. Promoting yourself among experienced nurses who are well-established in the nursing field will give you the recognition you are looking for. Just don’t overdo it.

  5. Pursue a specialty: There are umpteen areas of specializations a nurse can choose to pursue. Each has its own perks and can provide opportunities for career advancement. Pursuing a specialty is often a driving factor among new graduates who choose to further their education sooner rather than later. It’s also an effective way for you to drive your career in a potentially more lucrative direction.

Scope of a Nursing Career

Your nursing career can take you a long way in the next few years if you nurture and tend to it appropriately. The need for well-trained competent nurses is on the rise, and there will always be a need for them. There are many lucrative career opportunities in the nursing landscape, choose a career, depending on your strengths and preferences. By building connections, furthering your education in a specialty, choosing a good mentor, and practicing self-promotion, you can take your nursing career to its highest peak regardless of whether you are a new graduate just starting out or have years of education.

Consider applying to a Nursing/Pre-Nursing Internship abroad with International Medical Aid to gain practical, real-world experience that can help you determine which nursing career path is best for you!