Small Networking Efforts Add Up

Small Networking Efforts Add Up

Despite their public-facing profession, many nurses put networking activities at the bottom of a to-do list. But keeping a strong professional network is important in good times and bad. You want to have colleagues and professional peers you can reach out to when you are looking for professional opportunities; but in a strong network, you are also able to offer help to others.

Even if you hate networking, keeping up a professional presence beyond your workplace is essential to your career. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to chat up 50 people at a networking meeting (unless you want to!). Networking encompasses a broad scope–finding what you’re comfortable with and staying active in that platform is important. Every now and then, add in activities that are beyond your comfort zone as those kinds of activities offer tremendous opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Here are a few ways to get started.

Get an active social presence

Nope, that doesn’t mean meeting people face to face. Nurses who have a solid professional presence on social media–including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok–are establishing a professional identity and building a reputation for expertise. Share important news from your organization, your alma mater, your professional organizations, or colleagues. Relay your own experiences and what you have learned in your life to help others. Keep all your posts professional, positive, and informative. Aim to make at least one post a week.

Show your face at events

Yes, in-person attendance is great, but not everyone is able to do that. Find professional organization meetings on Zoom and go to those. Attend seminars, both local and far away, that can help you meet other nurses and folks in other professions. Attend and participate in breakout sessions. Try to schedule this at least once a quarter, more often if you can.

Offer to help

Networking is not a one-way street. Good networking helps your career, but you can also help others–no matter where you are at in your own career. Even as a new nurse, you can offer to help nursing students who are trying to navigate their next steps. Nursing students can give talks at high schools to help introduce younger students to a nursing career. Or stretch past nursing and offer to share your talents in organization, communication, or advocacy with others. The key is to give back to keep your network moving both ways. Try to reach out to help once a month.

Don’t be shy

Networking is a dynamic process and requires attention. Send notes and messages when you see a peer has won an award. Inquire after an event to see how it went or wish good luck before a big presentation. React with praise if warranted to a peer’s LinkedIn post. When you are consistent about reaching out to others without asking for anything in return, it won’t seem so uncomfortable to ask for help when you need it. Nurses are used to taking care of things themselves and asking for something often is the last thing they want to do.

As you become more comfortable with networking and as your network grows larger, you’ll notice how frequently people rely on each other–whether that is for landing a job in your dream organization or for finding a speaker to fill in for a last-minute schedule change at a convention. Practice asking for help, watch how others do it, and begin reaching out to others. Connect with others frequently–this should happen at least once or twice a week.

Building and nourishing a network takes time and effort but will develop meaningful personal and professional connections.

Networking for a Healthy Career

Networking for a Healthy Career

As a nurse, you might think networking isn’t as vital to your career as the on-the-job skills you hone every day. But networking is a vital element of career success.

Networking effectively takes commitment and planning, so taking the time for an approach that will work for you will help you get the most out of anything you do.

You’ll meet people who can help you

When you network, you’ll meet a lot of people–some of them will be able to help you in varying ways and some are just good to know. Making connections is especially beneficial if you’re looking for a new job, but it’s also important for finding out about excellent academic programs, scholarship information, research collaborations, or new industry developments. And the more people you know in the nursing industry, the more information you’ll have to help you avoid anything that doesn’t match your own values and goals.

You’ll meet people you can help

Many people see networking as something that will help them, and sometimes that can detract them from really engaging with the larger nursing community. Nurses are notoriously focused on helping others before they spend time helping themselves. But don’t forget about the immense value you bring to the table. No matter where you are in your career, you have information and perspective that will help others. Whether you can share your technology knowledge, your perspective on diversity issues, or your history in moving to a new role, others will appreciate it.


You’ll gain professional credibility

Those who are prominent in any industry often earn that prominence because they strategically seek out new opportunities and people–they network even when they aren’t looking for anything specific. As more people become familiar with who you are, your name will come up for any range of opportunities. For instance, because you spoke on a local panel, you might be invited to speak at a national conference. Your work on a patient advocacy committee could lead to an invite to teach a course. Your collaboration with a medical center could give you an early heads about a new career opportunity.


You’ll be ready for opportunity

Don’t wait until you need a new job to start networking–build it into your professional plan. When you are attending professional organization meetings or conferences and actively participating on committees and groups, you are establishing an important foundation. That solid foundation ensures your readiness when an opportunity comes along. You will know, and have built relationships with, people you can turn to for advice or for a reference. You’ll understand what experience and skills are important for your next step. And you might even find a new path in nursing you were unaware of.


Networking provides opportunities to make important connections while also giving some of your time and talent back to the industry.

Pursuing a Career in Nursing: The Beginning

Pursuing a Career in Nursing: The Beginning

There are currently nearly 4 million nurses working within the health care industry of the United States. It is the largest health care profession in the country, and for good reason. Nurses make a difference. They are often the first point of contact for anyone seeking medical attention, and they tend to go above and beyond what is typically asked or required of them.

Even though it is the top health care profession, there is always a growing need for nurses. Thankfully, it’s one of the easiest careers to pursue. Nursing courses are offered almost everywhere, including online, and once you’ve completed your coursework you can enter the workforce quickly. Plus, you can choose your own specialty, depending on your interests or passion.

Nurses also have the opportunity to work almost anywhere in the world, and job security will always be there. But, if you’re already interested in pursuing a career in nursing, you likely already have your own reasons to make it your life’s work.

The better question is, how should you get started? What should you expect as you go through your undergraduate studies, and which career path should you take when it’s time to make that choice?

Getting the Education You Need

The amount of education and training you’ll need to become a nurse depends on what type of nurse you’d like to be. For example, to become a Registered Nurse (RN), you’ll need a minimum of an Associate’s Degree.

If you’re already an RN or if you want to pursue something higher, consider getting your BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) at a four-year university or institution. No matter what degree completion you go through, everyone entering the nursing field needs to complete the NCLEX. This is an exam that is required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. You’ll need to apply to take the exam through the state in which you plan on working. A passing grade is required to become an RN, and the categories include:

  • Safe, effective care environment
  • Psychosocial integrity
  • Physiology integrity
  • Health promotion

Once you are an RN or have received your BSN, you can decide whether you’d like to choose a specialty or continue your education to become a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners must complete a Master of Science in Nursing program (MSN). On top of your previous education, the entire timeline can take anywhere from 6-8 years. If you haven’t yet started your educational journey toward becoming a nurse, it’s never too early. Some nursing programs are available online (at least partially). If you know nursing is your passion, you can begin to take courses early and gain experience that will help you once you find yourself in the workforce.

Facing the Realities of Nursing

No matter what level or area of nursing you decide to pursue, there are a few truths you’ll need to understand before you get started. Maybe you’ve been passionate about becoming a nurse since you were a child. Those passions and dreams don’t have to be “squashed,” but knowing as much as possible about the realities of nursing before you break into the field can help you determine if it’s really the right career for you.

First, it’s important to understand that you will always come second. That’s actually one of the reasons many people become nurses: to provide service to others. Doing so can help you to feel fulfilled and satisfied with your work. But, that doesn’t mean it will always be easy. Some potential “drawbacks” to keep in mind about a nursing career include:

  • You’re constantly on your feet, which can cause muscle aches and pains, or even lead to varicose veins.
  • If you work in a busy hospital, you may have irregular hours.
  • Nurses are at a high risk of experiencing workplace burnout.
  • It can sometimes be a “thankless job”.
  • Entry-level RNs only make an average of $41,000 per year.

Nursing can be a demanding profession, depending on where you work. But, most people stay in that profession for years because the rewards outweigh any of the disadvantages. It helps to have certain traits and characteristics to enjoy nursing as a long-term career. You have to enjoy working with different types of people every day and be willing to be a major component in a functional team.

How to Land a Great Nursing Job

Once you’ve completed your education and received your certification to become a nurse, the next step is to find the right job. Thankfully, due to the high demand for nurses across the country, your qualifications will often be enough for you to get hired quickly. Nurses are needed in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Local government agencies

Think about the type of setting that would be a good fit for you before applying to different open positions. You may want to start somewhere small to gain experience, especially if you eventually want to continue your training toward a specialty.

Networking is just as important in the health care industry as it is in other business sectors. If you know anyone in the industry, don’t be afraid to reach out to them and market yourself to land a job. Many times, getting the job you want is about “who you know”, so use your connections wisely.

Finally, think about some of the most common questions you could be asked during a job interview. While it’s important to practice your answers for the interview itself, you can also gain more insight into what you really want to achieve out of your career. What are your goals? Why did you want to become a nurse? What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses? By understanding some of those things about yourself, you will have more direction in where you want to take your career.

Nursing is one of the oldest, most stable professions in the country, and it’s still seeing continuous growth. If you are pursuing a career in nursing, keep these ideas in mind to continue your forward progress, and know what to expect as you start your first job.

Thinking of Starting a Job Search?

Thinking of Starting a Job Search?

Are you thinking it’s time to test the water on a job search? Is your career feeling stagnant and you think it’s time to move to a new organization or even a new branch of nursing?

What can help you with your decision if you’re not ready for a full-fledged job search?

Testing out whether it’s time for a job switch takes some thought and a little bit of work. Here are a few ways nurses can gather information without jumping into a full search.

Sit in on Seminars

Find some seminars or classes that will help you decide if you want to move from emergency nursing to travel nursing or from infusion nursing to cardiac care. Get some experience, talk to a professor or class leader, and chat with others in the room (even in online classes) to get a point of reference in your job change decision.

Become a Visible Networker

Networking isn’t all about finding a new job, but it is about becoming noticed in your profession. And if you have an active and extensive network when you are looking for a job, you’ll have a valuable resource. Find association meetings, nursing groups, or even a few general business groups and regularly attend meetings. Meet new people and offer your help as well.

Go to a Career Fair

Find a healthcare career fair and take some time walking around. Come prepared with resumes just in case you find an excellent opportunity, but make gathering information your primary goal. Investigate what jobs are out there and see how your qualifications measure up.

Gain Skills

Whether you take on more responsibility in your current role or gain skills on a team to learn new skills (volunteering for your town’s emergency response team, for instance), know you need to learn more. Start the process for a new certification or volunteer to learn the new software at work – just make sure your skills are current, cutting-edge, and marketable.

If you decide a career move is your next step, you’ll be ready with a solid understanding of the available opportunities and how your skills will meet the market needs.

Nursing Students: 5 Things to Do this Summer to Advance Your Career

Nursing Students: 5 Things to Do this Summer to Advance Your Career

Summer is a great time of year to do some of the tasks that often get pushed to the backburner during the regular school year. Things usually slow down during the hot summer months and that gives nursing students some time to do those important, but not critical, tasks that will help advance their nursing career.

Here are 5 things you can do this summer to advance your nursing career.

1. Study for the NCLEX

Even if you’re not taking summer courses, it’s still a great idea to hit the books during the summer and study for the NCLEX exam. Set a weekly review schedule to keep the material top of mind throughout the summer. Carving out some summer hours to study will pay off down the line when you have a full course load during the regular semester.

Check out this post for some additional tips on how to prepare for (and ultimately pass) the NCLEX.

2. Network

Take some time to research nursing associations in your area and attend a meeting or two this summer. This is a great way to gain industry contacts and learn more about the nursing profession. Deepen your involvement by volunteering for a committee or service project this summer.

There are many nursing associations for minority nurses including Black Nurses Rock, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, and the Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association.

3. Informational Interviews

Joining a nursing association and researching potential employers will yield some new nursing industry contacts. Ask your new colleagues for informational interviews for insights into life as a practicing nurse. These connections can offer valuable information about employers and day-to-day life as a nurse.

4. Research Employers

Graduation day will come soon enough, so it’s a great idea to research your local job market. Make a list of all of the potential employers you may be interested in working for in the future and read through any job openings they have posted. Make note of the key qualifications and skills each employer is seeking and create a plan for how you will develop those skills in your own career.

5. Relax

Finally, don’t forget to relax this summer. Rest and self-care will provide the restoration needed to hit the ground running when classes start again the fall.