Carving Out a Successful Career in Nursing

There is so much potential to discover within your nursing career, and there is so much you can achieve. Quite often, you will find that you are actually holding yourself back. When it comes to carving out a successful career in nursing, you will need to invest in yourself and your future. Setting ambitions and personal and professional goals will help you achieve your full potential. You need to break down the process to make this journey a little easier and more enjoyable. So, why don’t you get started?

Why Nursing is Right For You

Firstly, you need to establish why nursing is right for you. If you are a newly qualified nurse – why did you choose this profession? If you are experienced with a few years tinder your belt, then what pushed you to go into nursing? You will struggle to build a successful career unless you know why nursing is right for you (and best suited). For instance, do you have a personal experience that has left you wanting to help others? Or, do you perhaps want to see improvements in how care is given and provided to others? The reasons, or reasons that nursing is right for you, are important to establish as they will be the driving factors that push you forwards and keep you going.

Taking the Right Steps

A successful career will not just happen overnight. Positive steps in the right direction need to be taken a follow. Creating a career plan or guideline that you can follow is one of the positive steps you will need to follow. Building and boosting your confidence is going to be another step. The right actionable and achievable steps will help you fulfill your ambitions. Breaking down those larger goals and ambitions into smaller steps is going to prove advantageous. If you are unsure about what steps to take, start looking at what paths others have taken. What have they done to get to where they are? What rules have they taken up, or what professional development have they been involved in?

The Future of Healthcare

Healthcare has a changing face. Ongoing and future needs will help to reshape healthcare as you know it. To be successful in a nursing career, you must be prepared to adapt to these changing needs and requirements. You may get stuck in a rut if you are not fully on board with embracing changes and development. Looking at the future of healthcare and preparing yourself is important. Establishing where you will need to further your knowledge or increase your experience and awareness is going to help you maintain your position as a sustainable health and nursing professional. No one is certain about what the future in healthcare will look like, but if you are prepared to adapt, change and grow, you can be certain you will not fall behind.

Always Being Open to New Opportunities

It can be easy to get comfortable within a nursing role. However, how is this going to help you carve out a successful career? It is important to be open to new opportunities as or when they arise. You may find that new opportunities present themselves in new areas of the healthcare industry/sector. Or, you may find that they present themselves in a new role. Opportunities that arise within nursing must be grabbed firmly with both hands. Letting opportunities slip by may result in no further opportunities being offered in the future. Staying assertive and staying alert will help you be ready to grasp those opportunities.

Building Your Soft Skillset

As a nursing professional, you need to enhance your soft skill set. How you talk to colleagues and how you respond to patients in your care are important. Improving your active listening and communication skills and even building more empath is going to be advantageous to your career. To see where your soft skillset needs work, you need to evaluate what you are doing and offering. For example, are there occasions recently within your role where you could have listened or communicated better? Or, are there instances when you could have shown more empathy to patients or colleagues? As a nursing professional, your soft skills form a large part of your role and responsibilities. Staying in tune with them and investing in developing and advancing them is always going to be essential.

Facing New Challenges

There will be points in your career when you face new challenges. How you approach these and deal with them is key to your future success. New challenges such as shift working or relocation may be part of your role and your future. How you handle and adapt to these challenges will say a lot about the longevity you can have in your career. To ensure you face challenges positively, you need to always work on your mindset. Adopt a growth mindset that is focused on the future and focused on reaching your best. When you have this mindset, you will find that you have the endurance and resilience to overcome anything. When new challenges are presented, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are always support networks around that you can reach out to, and colleagues can lend you a listening ear. Trying to tackle everything by yourself can be emotionally draining and exhausting.

Building Your Experience

Experience can help your career in more ways than you initially realize. It can help you decide what role you want, and it can help you push for those inevitable progression steps and promotion opportunities. When you are looking at building your experience, it is important to know that it counts at all levels. For example, the experience you gain working in other areas or sectors will help you develop as a professional. Being open to gaining experience is going to be just as crucial as the experience itself. Seeking out voluntary placements within your existing healthcare setting, or even seeking paid placements in other areas, may prove beneficial. When you think about the experience, always think about what you want to learn (and gain from it). When doing this, you can ensure that every opportunity is as full as possible.

Enhancing Your Education

The education that you hold is going to be imperative to your development and to your career goals/future. There will be times when you need to invest in your education to get that promotion or push for that next level. When it comes to enhancing your education, you must always think about your end goal and what you would hope to achieve. For example, if you wish to move into a leadership role, look at studying nursing leadership. Or, if you are looking at working with older patients, why not look at completing an online post masters AGNP? To get the most out of your education, you must decide what you want to achieve in your future. Choose an educational provider that understands your needs, wants, and requirements. When you do this, you know that you have the support you need to succeed.

Growing as a Nursing Professional

When you start as a nursing professional, it can be hard to find your personal identity. Over time, you will learn how to grow as a nursing professional. You will learn what you need to do to succeed and what is required and expected of you. Growing as a nursing professional is something that requires your full attention all of the time. Simply trying to grow on an ad-hoc or sporadic basis is not going to work (or be beneficial). Growth happens over a period of sustained time, and it happens when you are proactive about it. Finding the commitment and dedication that you need and sticking with it is essential. You may find in the journey that you need to make changes or move to a different specialization, and this is perfectly acceptable.

Focusing on Your Well-being and Health

Even though a large part of your nursing career and role is dedicated to helping and assisting others – you must not forget about looking after yourself. Your mental health, physical health, and well-being are crucial to your career. They play an important role, so make sure that you nurture these areas when you get the chance. Taking time out for yourself and learning what your limitations are is a crucial part of your life as a nurse and your career as a professional. If you neglect to look after yourself, then how can you comfortably (and confidently) look after others? To give your best in your role and in your future, you must invest in yourself in many ways. If you fail to look after your health and well-being, you may find that you struggle to realize your ambitions or reach your full potential.

Gaining Valuable and Insightful Feedback

Growth and change are essential in your nursing career.  Seeing how you can grow and develop yourself can be challenging at the best of times. Listening to what other people have to say and gaining feedback will be insightful. It can be hard at times to reach out for feedback and criticism and, of course, take it on board. However, to grow, you have to be resilient to what others have to say and to what they think. To grow, change and develop, you need to see where your weakness and strengths exist and something that can be hard to do through a period of self-evaluation or self-assessment. Regular feedback from assessors, peers, or mentors will help you establish what areas you need to invest in and develop. Taking feedback from a professional angle instead of from a personal angle will help you learn and grow.

Networking with Other Healthcare Professionals

As a nursing professional, you have to realize that you are not alone. If you feel that you are alone or not supported, then you need to change this. Reaching out to others and building a strong support network must be high on your list of priorities. Other healthcare and nursing professionals can help you build your skill set and help you grow as a professional. To make the most out of your nursing networking, you are going to need to establish goals. Who do you want to meet within your networks, and what do you want to gain out of those connections? There are always lots of networking opportunities that you can take advantage of both in a virtual setting and a physical setting. So, make sure that you make time to network, as it can help your career in many ways.

Learning From Others and Finding a Mentor

There is a lot to learn from peers, colleagues, and mentors. Nursing practice and experience can often be shared with others and passed on to you if you are receptive to receiving it. You can learn from others by observing their work and function within their role. You can also learn by finding a mentor. A mentor will be someone who has been through what you are experiencing. They will have direct, insightful knowledge and awareness that they can share and impart. Mentors can hello you look at problems and solutions differently and help you grow as a nursing professional. If you want to get a mentor on board, then reach out to the healthcare setting or provider you are working for, and see if they can hello you find a suitable match. If this is not as fruitful as you hoped, then look at those you study and learn with. See if they have professional connections and networks with mentors that you can utilize.


There are many ways for you to start a successful career in nursing, and these are just a handful of the most useful tips for you to follow to get you thinking about building the foundations for a solid future. As long as you have the passion to help others, and the drive to always be pushing forward and enhancing your knowledge and skillset, you will go far in your nursing career.

Adrianna Tori

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