Becoming a Nurse: How to Jump-Start Your Career

For nursing students, becoming a nurse is only the first step on the path to career success.

Becoming a Nurse: The road to a career.

Because of the nursing shortage, plenty of job opportunities exist for new graduates. According to the American Nursing Association, more than 50 percent of the nursing workforce is close to retirement. The country also continues to see a growth in elderly citizens who have more medical and health needs. With the recent healthcare reforms, millions more people will have access to an already strained healthcare system. These are just a few reasons why a career in nursing can be a valuable choice. 

Beyond becoming a nurse, there are many ways you can advance your career quickly. Here are a few ways to get started.

Specialize

Although being a traditional floor nurse can be a very rewarding and long-lasting career, developing a specialty can prove incredibly beneficial. Specialization opens up new career options that weren’t previously possible for a nurse. It can also allow nurses to find more lucrative job opportunities because some nursing positions pay more than others.

There are a wide variety of specializations to consider. Nearly every field in medicine has a need for specialized nurses. From pediatrics to oncology, there is a need for professional, highly trained nurses.

If you are interested in pursuing a specialization, you can start by contacting professional organizations devoted to your field of interest. Most specializations have their own groups that discuss issues pertinent to their field, allowing you to learn more and discover job opportunities and the skills you need to succeed.

Associations and Organizations

Professional organizations offer a wide variety of benefits for members. They are primarily networking groups for nurses to meet and make connections. They also provide a forum for nurses looking to discuss pressing issues and new ideas. These organizations will discuss nursing trends that are influencing the profession.

Here are a few nursing organizations that can help nurses learn more about the profession and better their career prospects.

National Nurses United

In 2009, the California Nurses Association, United American Nurses and Massachusetts Nurses Association merged to create the National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union and professional nursing organization in the United States. The NNU is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and in its short history, it has been very involved with current events related to nursing as well as negotiations. The NNU strives to offer resources for nurses looking for better working conditions.

American Nurses Association

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is another large nursing organization in the United States, but it isn’t a union like the NNU. The ANA is committed to representing registered nurses in the United States. They establish nursing standards; protect the rights and interests of nurses in the workplace; and work to advance the general welfare of nurses. They also help nurses become credentialed in their specialties. 

Specialty Groups

There are a wide variety of specialty organizations for subsets of nurses. For nurses who work in a special field such as neonatal, AIDS care or oncology, specific professional organizations exist. These groups tackle industry issues that may not apply to the entire nursing profession. They are also a great resource for nurses interested in entering these areas of the field.

There are also groups for nurses in different demographic groups or regions. For example, the National Black Nurses Association was founded to represent African-American nurses. Also, many states have their own nursing organizations, some of which may be affiliated with a larger group but help unite nurses in a specific area. For example, there are several Ohio nursing resources for learning more about the profession and meeting with other professionals in the field.

Online Nursing Resources

Because of the Internet, many resources are now readily available online. Whether it’s a job site just for nurses or a blog to help nurses through the day-to-day challenges, there is a tool out there for every nurse in need. Here are a few websites that can be of great help to today’s nurse.

Nurse.com

The preeminent source for nurses, Nurse.com is a one-stop shop for everything a nurse needs. Most importantly, its job board is second to none. It hosts thousands of open nursing positions across the country. Nurse.com also offers great educational resources, including hundreds of courses in text, audio, video and even webinar options. They also have a calendar featuring several networking and career fairs. The Nurse.com magazine is also one of the most popular nursing publications.

The Nursing Site Blog

Written by 30-year nursing veteran Kathy Quan, The Nursing Site Blog is dedicated to offering career advice to nurses. Quan has plenty of experience and delivers information in smart and easily readable posts. She has the know-how to help nurses at any stage of their career.

Off the Charts

The blog of the American Journal of Nursing, Off the Charts, is a great resource for nurses interested in the scientific side of the profession. Its educational yet accessible posts are helpful for nurses looking to learn more about the industry.

All these tools are great for nurses looking to jump-start their careers. They will give invaluable information for plenty of situations and help give nurses a leg up on many of their colleagues. With these tips, a nurse will be able to navigate the wide variety of options available to them and find the one that’s best for them.

Our Program

The RN to BSN nursing program through Notre Dame College Online provides advanced scientific instruction that overviews the crucial knowledge nursing students need to be high-value employees in the workforce. Our graduates enter the nursing workplace with a strong grasp of the nursing profession and the tools to learn more.