As the largest healthcare profession in the U.S., the nursing career employs over 4.2 million people nationwide. Though overworked and underpaid, nurses remain the nation’s most trusted professionals for more than two decades in a row. But there’s a nursing shortage affecting patient outcomes worldwide, as per different WHO surveys. The world will need 13 million additional RNs by 2030 which means it is time you start advancing your nursing expertise and building your medical acumen the right way.

Advancing in your nursing career means you can have a higher salary, better career prospects, and even a healthier work-life balance. This article will share some quality tips on how to improve your nursing skills. So, follow these strategies and learn how to climb the ladder of success in the nursing field:

  • Pursue advanced education

Your journey to excellence begins with navigating the proper academic route and attaining a nursing degree. Nursing policymakers are already trying to make a BSN mandatory for all nurses. But experts suspect that soon an MSN will serve as the minimum requirement for the nursing workforce.

However, you must stand out from the crowd and surpass your peers. You can easily gain a competitive advantage by pursuing post masters nursing certificate programs to continue your academic efforts. A post-master’s certificate program can be pursued online, and you may complete it in 12 to 24 months. You can choose from different nursing majors, such as FNP, WHNP, PMHNP, and other choices.

  • Acquire specialty certificates

Even after pursuing your advanced nursing education, the learning pathway never stops. As a nurse, you should embrace the idea of lifelong education by getting additional certificates. These certificates can help you advance your expertise in various nursing subdivisions, such as pediatrics and geriatrics. Some popular certifications include CPN, PALS, and CCRN.

These certificates help you gain more experience and bolster your employability as well. As many RNs today earn post-master’s nursing certificates, these specialty certifications can help you get more exposure. 

  • Develop your soft skills

Your “soft skills” refer to certain abilities required in every profession. For instance, collaboration and communication are two soft skills nearly all organizations look for in every candidate. These skills make you an ideal candidate for better job opportunities and promotions. Since nurses work in a hectic environment where life-and-death decisions are made every day and a patient’s well-being depends on the quick thinking of medical professionals, developing the following soft skills can make you a better nurse:

  • Effective time management
  • Adapting to changes in healthcare 
  • Empathy and compassion for patients
  • Emotional resilience to cope with stress
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Cultural competence and speaking two languages
  • Passion for lifelong learning and constant development
  • Learn about the latest trends

Nurses lose their relevance when they stop learning about the latest trends in the industry.

You should stay relevant in this vocation by reading about the current developments in healthcare. So, watch relevant YouTube videos, follow industry trendsetters on social media, read nursing journals, and search for relevant information online in leisure. Make nursing research and study your hobby. It will help you learn which new nursing strategies are being introduced in the field and about all the new policies. This “education” helps you advance in this career.

  • Seek mentorship opportunities

Have you found your mentor yet? All greenhorns should look for a mentor at the workplace. This is an experienced nurse who has served for many years (or decades, ideally) in this profession and knows the nursing industry from the inside out. While nursing interns shadow a professional to learn the ups and downs of this profession, newly-hired RNs find a mentor for guidance. So, a mentor can share relevant insights from their experience with you and let you advance in your career by:

  • Identifying areas for skill development
  • Introducing you to valuable connections
  • Showcasing professionalism, ethics, and best practices
  • Providing encouragement, motivation, and a sense of accountability
  • Offer a safe space for nurses to discuss their concerns, fears, and experiences
  • Develop your networking skills

Networking helps you know well-connected people, learn about hidden job openings, and establish a decent reputation in the nursing industry’s inner circle. You can network by attending nursing seminars and conferences. Join professional nursing organizations and leverage their academic resources today to advance your knowledge. You should consider joining any of these well-known organizations:

  • National League for Nursing (NLN) 
  • American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • The National Student Nurses Association (NSNA)
  • Keep growing your experience

The more clinical experience you get, the more money you can make in nursing. That’s why you must continually expand your experience and improve your medical skills. Entry-level nurses make less than $70,000 on average in the U.S. as of June 2023. However, senior nurses are paid more than $80,000 in some states, such as New York. Ultimately, it’s all about choosing the right location to work and gaining adequate experience in your career. Dazzle your employer/s with your knowledge.

Gaining experience is just about toiling hard at work and spending years serving your patients.

  • Participate in research projects

You may participate in the ever-evolving medical science field and contribute to your profession’s advancement. That’s how you can hone your knowledge while showcasing your willingness to become a part of research into your vocation. Demonstrate your commitment to the advancements of the nursing field and impress your current and future employers with your passion for research.

Your research experience will enhance your employability and bring you closer to attaining leadership positions in the future. You will be leaving your mark on the progression of this industry forever.

  • Focus on self-care

Never disregard your well-being while pursuing excellence in your career. Many nurses suffered from burnout and depression due to excessive work overload. Surveys show that thousands of RNs left this vocation altogether because their burnout prevented them from being productive at work. Similarly, thousands of other nurses contemplated quitting this job.

While more than half of nurses feel burnt out in 2023, you can improve your well-being easily by focusing on self-care. Eat healthy foods, sleep 7 to 8 hours, exercise regularly, and make more non-work friends. Self-care lets you advance in your career and be more productive at work.


Many greenhorns and professionals in nursing are looking for different ways to advance in their careers. A nurse should develop their soft skills, network with people, seek mentorship opportunities and stay up to date with the latest trends to excel in this industry. Moreover, nurses should pursue advanced learning and seek additional certificates for better employability and higher chances of getting a promotion.

Follow the suggestions mentioned in this article, and soon you’ll become a full-blown, well-skilled RN!


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