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Managing Your Career
A Great Start to Your Career
How a new nurse can build a resume.

The way you start your career as a new nurse is important—but often overlooked. With so much to learn, we tend to focus mostly on the job – we’re so worried that we’re going to hurt a patient. It takes a while before we discover that we’re never going to know everything. So as you start your new job, think about launching your career. Here’s how to get started:

Continue Your Education
The mere fact that you got your first job as a nurse means you have at least an embryonic resume. Perhaps you worked at a grocery store to get through school, or worked as a nursing assistant or a ward’s clerk.

Your resume is something you should be adding to the rest of your life, both formally and informally. And continuing your education should be one of your high priorities. The person with the most skills is going to have the most choices in life.

If you graduated with an associate degree (roughly 75 percent of new nurses), then work towards your BSN. If you just completed your BSN, start work towards a masters degree. You’ve got the study skills. You’re in the student groove. So stay in the groove, especially since the many hospitals today reimburse you for the tuition.

Doing so enables you to build your educational resume at the expense of your employer.

If you don’t think you can endure another four credit course right away, take advantage of noncredit courses. Your employer, for example, may have a course in the hospital on wound care. Often you will get the time off work to take the course. You’re not paying for tuition while adding confidence to your self and skills to your resume. That will be worth money in your next job, if not your current one.

Believe me, your continuing education will get noticed, if you are in a hospital or other employer with a career ladder. Continuing education is one way to step up the economic pyramid.

Look for my next post on how to build your resume through leadership opportunities.

Look to Lead
Whether you coach baseball, volunteer at church, do blood-pressure screenings – start developing skills that require you initiate activities, manage people, and get things done. Not only will it add joy to your life, it will open up other avenues. A resume is not only about your work and educational experience, it should show your interests as a human being.

There’s a terrible shortage of leaders in nursing. It’s the biggest dilemma confronting the profession. We have few nurses who have learned to think strategically. Few can talk to other professionals who aren’t nurses. We’re in a ghetto – 94 percent white females. We read the same magazines, go to the same meetings, eat at the same tables in the cafeterias. Most don’t know how to be effective in a world that isn’t comprised of white women.

So nurses who learn to work and talk with people who aren’t like themselves - whether these nurses learn it from working in their church or schools, or organizing the run for the cancer society – those are the women and men who will succeed in the wonderful profession called nursing.

But you need to start now.

Connie Curran, RN, Ed,D, FAAN, is president of Curran Associates, a healthcare consulting firm. She was also the founder, president, and chief executive officer of CurranCare, LLC, a national management and consulting services organization that delivered dynamic leadership to the healthcare industry. She is a former editor of Nursing Economics and a prolific scholar with more than 200 publications and articles to her credit. She served as the director of two of the most comprehensive national studies on staff-recruitment, retention, and labor market participation.

Read more Managing Your Career articles

One Response to “A Great Start to Your Career”

  1. Myk Says:

    Great advice especially for nurses starting on their career.

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