Pushing Your Nursing Career Forwards and Becoming a Leader

Whether you have been nursing for two years or you have been in the role for ten years, change happens. Being proactive, making the decisions, and then implementing them will ensure that you move forwards with both ease and success. To move forward into the world of leadership, you have to think about what you have to offer. Deciding you want to become a leader is simply not enough. Wanting to make a change is better, but still not detailed enough. So, if you were asked why do you want to become a leader, how would you answer? What can you offer that isn’t already there within nursing and leadership, and what can you implement? What changes can you bring about, and by when?

Why a Change of Role Is Necessary

Being a nurse is rewarding, even if it has changed over time. You see first-hand how your care and time can improve the lives of others, and you also see the impact your care has. However, if you want to make an impact on a larger scale, you have to make a bigger ripple. To make the bigger ripple, you have to change your role, you have to push forwards, and you have to get into leadership.

Quite often, within nursing, you can feel like you get stuck in a routine. It is easy to feel that you are not having the impact you once had. Unfortunately, unless you change your role, you will continue to feel like this because if you don’t instigate a process of change, then nothing will change, and eventually, you will fall out of love with the profession you were once so dedicated to.

Remembering Why You Became a Nurse

Just because you have decided to take a different path or route in your career, it doesn’t mean that you have lost your direction. Change is important, and so too is development. However, put simply, sometimes it can feel that change is just too scary. Feeling scared or anxious about change is perfectly normal, and the best way to overcome these feelings or concerns you may have is to remind yourself why you became a nurse. Remembering what you wanted to bring to nursing and remembering what changes you wanted to influence and impact will put you in good stead for the next stage of your career, which is, of course, leadership.

Why Leadership is the Correct Route to Take

You are naturally leaning towards leadership, and quite rightly so. Once you have been on the front line of nursing, you are best placed to implement and raise change. Leadership within nursing needs those with valuable and transferrable experience, and this is you. When you are in a position of leadership, you are well placed to make positive changes and improvements. Perhaps you want to change how care is given to families? Or, you may want to change how care is given to younger children, ensuring that they get more consistent care from the beginning. If you do not get into leadership, then you will remain frustrated and stuck, as there is nothing you can do to implement change.

Making the Commitment and then Making the Leap

Making the decision once and for all is often the most difficult thing to do. Once you have made the commitment to progress your career, it is time to start taking action. You can start the process by looking at leadership roles and seeing what skills and attributes are required, and then from here, you can begin harnessing and perfecting these. You can also start to look at returning to education. As a leader, you will have to brush up on your skills, your knowledge, and your awareness of the challenges and obstacles the nursing industry faces.

Setting Clear and Achievable Goals

Now the commitment to change has been made, it is time to begin setting clear and achievable targets and goals. Deciding what you will do and by when is essential. Without goals and targets in place, you will struggle to achieve what you want to and within a time period that is acceptable to you. So, what goals are you going to set? For instance, are you going to say that you will be in a leadership role within three years?

Becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Now that you have set your goals and targets, it is time to look at what nursing roles you can do that will allow you to step into a leadership role. Becoming an FNP, or a family nurse practitioner, is definitely one route you will want to follow. Being able to carry on caring for patients, such as whole families, while liaising with other nurses and nursing professionals to create a team is a position that you would naturally grow into. When you want to influence and lead change, but you still want to feel connected to patient care and treatment, focusing on becoming an FNP is your best option.

What Does an FNP Do?

An FNP focuses more on families and overall care like a GP or family doctor would. The role of an FNP is to guide individuals and families through their lives with the best medical advice and guidance they possibly can. As an FNP, you will utilize and call upon your advanced nursing skills, and you will put your knowledge and experience into play with such things as medication. Usually, an FNP follows similar rules and guidelines as a doctor would. For example, an FNP would be able to prescribe medicines (just as a doctor would) which can save time while also ensuring that a high level of consistency within care is provided.

Skills and Attributes of a Strong Leader

When it comes to becoming a leader, you will want to ensure that you are as strong and successful as possible. So, what are the skills and attributes of leaders that make a difference and inspire change?

  • Dedication – Strong leaders are dedicated to positive change, and they are dedicated to the families and employees they work with.
  • Vision – Good leaders need to have a vision in place, and they need to always be persuasive and informative to achieve their vision.
  • Honesty – Good leaders and strong leaders do not have to lie or even bend the truth to get what they want. Honesty is always the best way forwards.

 Continuing to Care and Improve the Lives of Patients

You may be concerned that as you transition into leadership, you will lose the chance and the opportunity to administer personal care and guidance to the patients who you may have known for a long time. You do not have to be concerned, as you will still be able to provide care through an FNP role, and you will still be able to ensure consistency within care, which is crucial for patients and their journey.

Returning to Education

To qualify as an FNP, you will have to return to studying and education. You will have to split your time, and you will have to make compromises. However, the compromises that you make in the short term will benefit you in the longer term. Returning to studying can feel like an uphill struggle, especially if you have not been in an educational setting for a while. However, you do not need to panic, as there are online learning opportunities to become an FNP that will allow you to study and work at the same time.

Studying and Balancing Life

When it comes to finding a balance between studying and life, it can feel like an uphill battle. Feeling like you have enough time for everything or physically finding the time for what you need to do can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Finding a balance and splitting your time and your energy will ensure that you do not burn yourself out. Trying to stretch yourself too thin can affect you mentally and physically. Always try and allocate time for your studies, time for yourself and your family, and time for your life, interests, and hobbies.

When you have this time, and when you have this balance and division within your life, you ensure that you do not take too much on. You also ensure that you do not neglect your mental health and well-being. Looking after yourself is just as important as finding a balance.

Searching for New Opportunities

You have achieved a balance, and you are now approaching the end of your studies. So, a short while before your studies come to an end, you will want to start looking for a new job opportunity. When it comes to finding the perfect nursing role for you, you need to look at your existing place of work, and you also need to look further afield too. Opportunities may not be in abundance, dependent on industry conditions, and within the area where you live. However, FNP roles are increasing over time, and so too is the demand. Be prepared to make compromises and sacrifices to land your first FNP role. Then, once you are in the role, you have the opportunity to once again change or move until you get the right mix for you and your career.