How to be a successful nurse: 8 tips for career success

As a nurse, you play a crucial role in the health and well-being of your patients, and the career path you take can have a profound effect on the lives you touch. From advancing your education to finding the right insurance coverage, here’s a nursing career guide to help you thrive in your career and ensure you’re as well cared for as those you support.

1. Pursue an advanced nursing education

Starting a nursing career doesn’t require years and years of education. In fact, with just 12 months of dedicated training, you’ll qualify as an assistant or even a licensed practical nurse. However, if you’re thinking about how to advance your nursing career, consider investing more in your education.

Earning an associate degree or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) allows you to practise as a registered nurse, which opens the door to better earnings and career opportunities.

A BSN can also be your gateway to advanced roles like a nurse practitioner, giving you the autonomy to treat patients with as much authority as most physicians. For those who are research-oriented, a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing can pave the way to academic research or even high-level administration roles.

2. Consider specialising

The beauty of nursing is that there are countless specialties to choose from. And while it’s true each speciality has its own set of skills and educational requirements, don’t let it deter you. Instead, see it as a chance to grow and refine your skills.

Are you drawn to the fast-paced world of emergency nursing, or does the precision and care of surgical nursing appeal more to you? You have the freedom to try different specialties before deciding.

Consider asking to shadow nurses in various fields, or take different shifts in hospital departments. The practical training from your degree program is also a great opportunity to dip your toes into different areas of nursing. Remember, each specialty you explore adds a new layer to your nursing expertise.

3. Get a mentor

Imagine having someone with years of experience guiding you through the challenges of being a young nurse, and sharing insights that can only come from being a veteran in the field. That’s what a mentor brings to the table.

The benefits of having a mentor help you along your nursing career is immeasurable. Mentors can not only offer tailored feedback, but also help create professional opportunities. They can introduce you to critical contacts, recommend you for nursing projects, and advocate for you in places you’ve yet to reach. By connecting with a mentor, you’re gaining guidance from someone who’s been there and done there. More importantly, you’re gaining an ally who can help you unlock your full potential as a nurse.

But don’t wait for mentorship opportunities to fall into your lap. Seek them out. Whether it’s through your employer’s programs, local professional groups, or just reaching out to a successful nurse whose work you admire, take the initiative. A mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street. It requires commitment, respect, and a willingness to learn and grow from both parties.

4. Embrace leadership roles

To be a successful nurse, personal and professional growth shouldn’t be taking a back seat. But don’t wait for leadership roles to come to you. Instead, take initiative within your current position.

Look for tasks that others might avoid, support your team’s morale, or help ease your supervisor’s workload. These actions showcase your ability to handle responsibility, while actively prepare you for future leadership roles.

You can also improve your nursing skills through additional learning, such as participating in training programs, earning specialised nursing licences and attending workshops or seminars. Immerse yourself in podcasts or academic literature to deepen your knowledge in the nursing industry.

Also, think about joining a committee or engage in unit-wide projects. These roles may seem optional, but they help demonstrate your nursing skills, such as collaboration and effective presentation. They also enhance your resume and can positively impact your performance review.

5. Be a team player

A great nurse is also a great team player. Start by being there for your colleagues — assist them, take on extra responsibilities when you can, and always maintain respectful professional relationships.

This collaborative spirit isn’t just about helping your fellow nurses. It’s about creating a supportive workplace culture that benefits everyone, including you. When each member of the team feels supported, the quality of care provided to patients significantly improves, and so does the overall job satisfaction. In a profession where the pressure can mount quickly, knowing that your team functions like a well-oiled machine not only brings peace of mind but also contributes to better patient outcomes.

6. Develop your organisation skills

In a nurse’s daily routine, tasks can pile up quickly. The key to navigating this smoothly is developing good organisational skills. Prioritising tasks, efficiently allocating your time, and segmenting responsibilities are skills that can vastly improve your nursing experience.

If you’ve ever admired a colleague for their impeccable organisational skills, don’t hesitate to approach them. Chances are, they’ve got a trick or two up their sleeves that they can share with you. You can also seek out helpful tools, systems, or simple daily habits that can be incorporated into your routine. It’s not just about bringing structure to your role, but also about offering optimal care to your patients.

7. Prioritise your well-being

Taking care of others starts with taking care of yourself. And being a successful nurse requires you to be in your peak physical and mental shape.

Start by identifying what wellness strategies work best for you. Is it a quiet evening after a bustling shift, a nutritious meal plan, or a morning meditation session? Understand and honour your limits. Saying no to extra shifts or social gatherings isn’t selfish. It’s a strategic move to ensure you’re at your best when on duty.

Proper rest, setting boundaries, and acknowledging your needs are key to maintaining the stamina and spirit needed in nursing. When you’re well-rested and well-cared-for, you show up as a more attentive, compassionate nurse who’s ready to take on the challenges of the industry.

8. Insuring your nursing career

As a nurse, your focus is undoubtedly on delivering exceptional care to your patients. Yet, it’s equally crucial to consider how well you’re protecting your own nursing career.

A solid insurance plan is your professional safety net. Professional Indemnity Insurance covers potential legal claims that may arise throughout your nursing career, while Public Liability Insurance shields you from accidents occurring within your work. Lastly, Cyber Liability guards against data breaches or theft involving patient information. Having the right coverage offers security and peace of mind against the unexpected, letting you focus on providing the best patient care.

With BizCover, you’re only minutes away from a comprehensive insurance coverage that works as hard as you do. Take the first step towards safeguarding your future. Discover insurance options for nurses with BizCover today.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. © 2023 BizCover Pty Limited, all rights reserved. ABN 68 127 707 975; AFSL 501769

Compare multiple quotes online in minutes

Compare FREE quotes

Compare multiple quotes online in minutes

Trusted by over 220,000 Australian small businesses.

Compare FREE quotes

Popular Searches