How To Know When You’re Ready To Progress In Your Nursing Career

How To Know When You’re Ready To Progress In Your Nursing Career
Image by Daniel Dan outsideclick from Pixabay

When you first start out in your nursing career, you will probably be an RN. This means you are a qualified nurse, and you will do general nursing duties, but you won’t necessarily be in charge of anything or anyone. You’ll work in a team, but you won’t be an actual leader. For some, this is ideal; they like the idea that they don’t have as many responsibilities as those who are at higher levels in their nursing careers, and they enjoy the work they do.

For others, however, they are keen to progress. Yet knowing when the time is right to take that next step can be challenging. When can you really be sure that you’re ready to progress? It will always be difficult to decide, but there are some signs that the time might be right; read on to find out what they are. 

You Are Making A Difference Right Now 

There are some people to whom others are naturally drawn when it comes to seeking out advice and getting answers to questions. Are you one of these people? Do you find that your colleagues – perhaps even those who are at a higher level than you in terms of their career – come to you because they know that you’ll be able to help? Are you the one they consult with whatever it is they need to know? If so, they this is a good sign that you are ready to take that next step and submit your application for the promotion you’re interested in. 

When you are promoted as a nurse, you’ll immediately take on more responsibility, need more knowledge, and be a leader – hopefully an inspiration – to other people. If you’re already doing this and you’re already making a big difference in other people’s working lives (as well as the lives of your patients), then the new job title is really only a formality. 

You Seek New Learning Opportunities 

The best nurses, the ones who are most likely to progress in their nursing careers (assuming that’s what they want to do, of course), are the ones who are always looking for new learning opportunities. This might be actively applying for and studying for a new qualification that nursing practitioners need, for example. It could be reading industry publications or blogs from experts. It might be going to healthcare sector conferences and more. 

If you are interested enough in what you are doing to be looking for these learning opportunities and taking them when they come to you, then it is probably time you took the next step and progressed in your career. This is especially true if you have gone back to school and are studying an online nursing course; once you have this information, you’ll need to use it, and the best place is to gain your promotion and use it in your work. 

Wilkes University’s online RN to BSN degree completion program can help you take your nursing career to the next level. The program is designed for registered nurses who have an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and are currently licensed to practice nursing in their state. Wilkes University offers a variety of learning options, including online and hybrid courses, that allow you to continue working while you pursue your degree. You will also have the opportunity to network with other nurses from around the country and learn from some of the top nursing professionals in the field.

You’re Not Currently Challenged 

Being challenged at work is much more important than you might imagine. Although you might not think it sounds like much fun, to begin with (because a challenge indicates hard work), the truth is that it’s far better to always be busy and have to keep coming up with new and inventive ways to solve problems than it is to be bored. 

Boredom is what will set in when you’re not challenged in your career. If you find everything too easy and you barely have to think about it anymore, or you’re just not inspired to come up with clever solutions, then it could be that what you’re doing has run its course. When this happens, and you are not being challenged, you’ll have a few options. 

The first is to find a new career. This can sometimes be the ideal thing to do because if nursing is boring you, what’s the point in continuing? However, this is quite extreme, and what might be better – if you still love nursing, of course – is to progress in your career and take your abilities to the next level. In this way, you’ll still be doing what you enjoy, but you’ll find new and more exciting challenges that will need to be overcome due to the additional tasks and responsibilities you have to take on. 

You’re Getting A Lot Of Feedback 

If you are getting a lot of positive feedback for your work, then this can be another sign that it’s time to move on and do more with your nursing talents. This is because your manager or supervisor is going to be looking out for those who they think have what it takes to be promoted and rise through the ranks. So, if they are praising you and noticing that you’re working hard and doing well, they you could definitely be in their sights. 

Therefore, you should feel able to apply for any roles that you see. Your boss is already on your side and already knows just how hard of a worker you are and how great you are at nursing, so they will be keen to help you achieve your full potential. Even if you’re nervous about taking this step because you’re unsure you’re ready, just think about the feedback you’ve been getting; your supervisor believes in you, so it’s time you did too. 

You’re Comfortable With Change 

Change is a big part of progressing through a nursing career. Firstly, you might change departments and the people you work with, and you’ll certainly have different jobs to do within the role of a nurse – or whatever job title you move onto, assuming it changes. Plus, you’ll need a lot more knowledge as you move forward, and this is a big change too, especially if you need to work out a new routine to fit your studies in with your work. 

On top of that, as you gain more responsibilities and have a team under you, you’ll also need to be comfortable with implementing change. You’ll be the one in charge of everything that happens within a department or area of the hospital or clinic, and if that means making changes that might be difficult or even unpopular, you’ll need to be ready to do that. 

If you’re happy to make changes and don’t mind adjusting your schedule to accommodate changes other people make, why not look at what jobs are open right now? Then, you might be in just the right place to apply.

About the author


Steven Ly

Steven Ly is the Startup Program and Events Manager at TheNextHint Inc. She recruits rockstar startups for all TC events including Disrupt, meetups, Sessions, and more both domestically and internationally. Previously, she helped produce Dreamforce with Salesforce and Next '17 with Google. Prior to that, she was on the advertising teams at both Facebook and AdRoll, helping support advertisers in North America and helped grow those brands globally. Outside of work, Priya enjoys Flywheel, tacos, the 49ers, and adventuring around the globe.

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