Are you to the go-to person when someone on your unit has an obscure question about heart disease? Or is newborn care one of your specialties? If colleagues come to you for your specialty in nursing expertise, why not take some steps to establish yourself as an expert in your field?
How do you do that? Becoming known as an expert in your field isn’t an overnight process, but it will bring your career added clout.
If you can obtain specialty certification in your area of expertise, do it. Obtaining certification will back up the knowledge you already have with official credentials. It takes some time to get certified and you do have to pass the exam, but it’s worth it.
Network with Others
Join a professional organization that matches your interests if you can. Joining a nurses organization will help you network with other nurses, but they likely have a subcommittee or subgroup that is in your area of specialty. If you don’t find a group that meets regularly to talk about your issues, suggest starting one.
Share What You Know
Find a way to share your knowledge among colleagues, other professionals, patients, or the general public. Host a lunch seminar, a nighttime talk, or a weekend discussion group at the library, your local hospital, an elementary or secondary school, a university, or a nearby professional organization or company. Establishing yourself as an expert involves educating others and sharing your knowledge about a particular topic. The more you run your own information sessions, the more comfortable you’ll be in front of people. And the more people will associate your name with your specialty.
If you can fit it into your schedule, teach a class or ask if you can become a guest lecturer. Is your specialty high blood pressure? See if you’re qualified to work in a college. Adding this kind of experience to your resume builds your credibility.
Write an Op-Ed
Are rates of childhood obesity (your specialty) increasing in your region? Write a heart-felt and evidence-backed editorial for a newspaper. Many local papers and even some larger ones accept editorials from professionals who have the expert credentials and point of view.
Start a Blog
Whatever your specialty is, you know there are a lot of people out there who are also interested in the same topic. Whether it’s something far reaching like post-surgical care to something more obscure like a rare disease, there’s an audience who wants information. Start a blog with your observations, your tips, personal stories, and new findings. Let people know about it and the followers will find you.
Be Available to Talk
Ask your organization if they have protocol for naming you as an expert spokesperson to the press. Reporters are always looking for credible, personable experts for stories and frequently approach hospitals or health care organizations, universities, or professional organizations to find them. Try to position yourself once you have the required experience under your belt.
Yes, there’s some effort involved in establishing yourself as an expert, but if you already have loads of knowledge about a specific subject, it probably won’t be that much of a reach for you. In addition to being great for jump-starting your career and opening up opportunities, you’ll probably bring in a higher salary as well.