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Top 4 tips that benefit RNs and help advance their careers

Wednesday February 19, 2014
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Donna Cardillo, RN
It is imperative that every nurse – new and experienced – realize the healthcare landscape has completely changed. There will be plenty of opportunities for RNs and APNs who stay current with trends in education, technology, care and personal and professional development. Nurses must be willing to step outside their comfort zone and learn new ways — and places — of working and thinking about their profession. Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, RN, EdD, CAE, FAAN, executive director of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses and the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses. stresses that, to stay competitive, nurses also will have to be able to articulate the value that they bring to outcomes, beyond tasks, in any setting. So what does every nurse need to do? Here are four key areas:

1| Skill building

Clinical skills alone won’t see us through in this new paradigm. Self-marketing, computer skills, oral and written communication, conflict management, negotiation, leadership and networking skills must be learned and practiced. Hnatiuk said nurses also need to be more business savvy, with an understanding of finances, staffing, acuity and productivity.

2| Education

Higher education is no longer optional. It is a foundation for practice in any setting and fundamental to professional and personal growth and development. Hnatiuk advises that formal and continuing education, along with clinical certification, will help nurses take their practice and careers to the
next level.

For those considering advanced practice, particularly becoming nurse practitioners, the NNCC’s Hansen-Turton advises: “Don’t think too long; jump in. Opportunities will be increasing for NPs over the next 5-10 years. NPs are and will continue to be a hot commodity.” Certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists also will see expanded opportunities.

3| Professional association involvement

Our professional associations are where we connect with one another, form communities, share best practices (local and national), stay current with trends and issues, and find support. Hnatiuk added that through association involvement, you learn more than you could by yourself and progressively learn leadership skills

4| Mentoring

Hnatiuk encourages nurses to take advantage of opportunities to be mentored and to mentor others. “We have so much to share. Mentoring will allow us to achieve all we’re capable of doing.”

For personalized career advice

If you have specific career-related questions, send them to Dear Donna at www.Nurse.com/AsktheExperts/DearDonna for a personalized response.


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/AsktheExperts/DearDonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit www.Nurse.com/Events.