Being a nurse is a great career because you’re part of a growing profession in the
medical field, and you also get to see your efforts have a tangible, positive effect
on your patients every day. The thing about this is that many other career-minded
people are taking note of these benefits for themselves. As a result, you may want
to think about what you can do to improve yourself as a nurse. This will not only
improves your career prospects, it may also help you appeal to a higher tier of
employers, which could mean more money and more potential opportunities. Of course,
we can’t ignore the fact all of these areas also help you take better care of your
Cultural Awareness: This one may strike you as an odd thing to mention, but empathy
has always been considered an important skill in the nursing profession, and this is
an extension of that. Depending on cultural (and religious) beliefs, different
patients may have different views on things like health, care, treatment, death, and
many other things that are a daily part of the medical world. Your plans and
delivery for nursing care may hinge on these when it comes to keeping your patients
comfortable. A good way to start here is to take note of your own possible biases
and work on those, then start learning more about different cultures and how their
viewpoints may impact your care.
Learn To Teach: Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean going back to school.
However, part of being a good nurse is not only being able to take good care of a
patient, but also being able to communicate with them when it comes to taking better
care of themselves. Debbie Hensley, BSN, RN, CURN, practices at University of Texas
Southwest Medical Center in Dallas, and was also a former president of the Society
of Urologic Nurses and Associates. She believes that if you want to teach
effectively, it starts with knowing your patients.
“Before you begin teaching, you need to understand the patient’s culture and
background and to assess their level of learning,” she explains. “You look at each
patient as an individual and talk with them about their background. Through
conversation, you should work to get a sense of their level of understanding. Ask,
‘So tell me what your thoughts are on this?’ ‘Do you think this is something you
will be able to continue to do?’”
Get Certified: Another thing worth considering is trying to minimize the amount of
time that you spend on professional development—without compromising on the quality.
This means that you can still advance in your career without worrying about your
work-life balance, something that’s becoming more and more of a premium. For
example, instead of getting your recertification done in a classroom setting, you
may want to go online with ProMed Certifications. We offer ACLS, PALS, BLS and CPR
training that can re-up your certification in a matter of hours. This lets you focus
on other ways you can improve as a nurse.