Whether you’re a seasoned nurse or just starting your career, constantly improving your practice will keep you on your toes on the job and achieve KPIs. There’s always room for growth in every nurse who wants to provide their patients with high-quality care. If you want to become a better nurse, here’s what you need to do:
- Find a mentor
Seek mentorship opportunities within your healthcare organization and learn from your seniors’ experiences. You can tap into the wisdom of someone who has spent years decoding the secrets to succeeding as a nurse.
A mentor doesn’t just help you develop professionally via guidance and support, but also provides excellent networking opportunities. When in doubt or facing burnout, a mentor keeps you resilient, motivated, and dedicated to progress. Along with mentorship, you can also find shadowing opportunities where you observe a professional at work to hone your skills.
- Never stop learning
Learning never stops; continued education has become a necessity in every profession. The “BSN by 2020” initiative sought to make 80% of nurses BSN-prepared by 2020. However, the evolving nature of nursing demands more advanced education in the future.
Distance learning allows RNs to improve their knowledge and skills easily. You can pursue a Masters in Nursing online and specialize in different concentrations. Earning your MSN will enhance your ability to improve patient care.
Even after completing an MSN, keep boosting your education by gaining relevant certificates.
- Join nursing organizations
You can join a nursing organization to access many educational resources for improving your nursing practice. These nursing organizations are perfect for networking, meeting experienced nursing leaders, and learning about exciting new career opportunities.
Which nursing organizations should you join? There are plenty of well-known nursing organizations in the United States. Different organizations have been established for different nursing concentrations and purposes, but some of the more popular ones include the following:
- National League for Nursing (NLN)
- American Nurses Association (ANA)
- National Association of School Nurses (NASN)
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
- Update your knowledge
Keep updating your knowledge and stay familiar with all the latest developments in the ever-changing field of medicine. You can subscribe to different nursing journals, magazines, and content creators to update your expertise. These sources publish news about what’s happening in medical science and informative articles on different nursing practices. Like mentorship, reading magazines will also help you pick up new skills to be a better nurse. Among the plethora of options, here are some recommendations:
- Journal of Clinical Nursing
- American Journal of Nursing
- Journal of Advanced Nursing
- The Journal for Nurse Practitioners
- Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing
- Hone your soft skills
A brilliant nurse doesn’t just have well-maintained medical expertise but also amazing soft skills. You must hone your soft skills to develop professionally and interact properly with your patients. Some important soft skills a nurse needs to work on are the following:
- Critical thinking:- It helps you evaluate information
- Problem-solving:- It makes you a valuable team member
- Conflict resolution:- You need it a lot in the chaotic hospital environment
- Time management:- This one helps you create a healthy work-life balance
- Out-of-the-box thinking:- Nurses need to be creative and capable of thinking on their feet
- Embrace technology
Besides your soft skills and nursing know-how, you also need to work on your tech skills. As technology infiltrates every aspect of the healthcare sector, RNs should be more familiar with it if they want to deliver better patient care. Technological innovations, such as EHRs, smart wearables, and automated medicine dispensers, are becoming mainstream in healthcare facilities. Telehealth and remote monitoring make nurses more productive at treating patients. Mobile apps and wearable devices are putting patients in control of their well-being. You can become a better nurse by becoming familiar with these trends.
- Be more compassionate
Compassion fatigue refers to a condition when you become indifferent toward people’s suffering. It may happen with 1 out of 5 nursing students, and even seasoned nurses are vulnerable to exhausting their sympathy for patients. Compassion fatigue undermines your ability to care for your patients and interferes with your productivity. You can overcome it by:
- Practicing self-care
- Seeking therapy and counseling
- Setting some boundaries at work
- Engaging in stress-reducing exercises
- Take more breaks to recharge your empathy
- Ask relevant questions
Never be afraid of asking questions because there’s nothing like “too many questions” in nursing. You are dealing with the well-being of your patients, so it’s necessary to be clear about even minor details. Asking relevant questions ensures your patients’ health and bolsters your nursing acumen as well.
So, whenever in doubt, ask questions about a drug, an injection, or a procedure. Go to your seniors and ask them to explain something to you. As a nurse, you need your seniors’ guidance to show room for growth and affinity toward teamwork. Questions contribute to your professional development.
- Always double-check
Medical errors haunt all new nurses, as these mistakes cause 250,000 annual fatalities in the US. Even seasoned healthcare practitioners can make trivial mistakes, such as confusing one drug name with another. But these can still be fatal, which is why it’s important to verify, authenticate, and double-check your work. Be extra careful to avoid medical mistakes, and you can improve your nursing practice.
- Don’t neglect self-care
Your progress depends on your well-being; nobody can focus on self-improvement without a healthy body. Focus on self-care to avoid stress, anxiety, and burnout. A survey shows that 100,000 RNs quit their jobs because of burnout. That’s why you should never neglect self-care.
You can improve your mental and physical well-being by:
- Taking 10-minute-long breaks more often during your shift
- Sleeping properly, exercising regularly, and eating nutritious meals
- Creating a healthy work-life balance and never bringing your work home
Improving your nursing practice is supposed to be a never-ending journey. Education must never stop, and nurses should always explore new ways to improve their practice. Seek opportunities for growth and development by implementing the guidelines mentioned in this article and make a lasting impact on your patients’ lives. Keep advancing your education and picking up new insights into nursing. With time, you’ll expand your knowledge enough to become eligible for leadership positions in nursing.