4 Tips for Nurses Trying to Advance Their Careers


Nurses can fill a variety of roles, but they also have many opportunities for advancing their careers. The challenge for many is understanding their options and knowing how to move forward. Here are five tips for nurses trying to advance their careers. We’ll focus on practical, actionable advice anyone can follow.

Consider Your Options

Nurses have a variety of career paths available to them. Do you want to manage a team of nurses? Do you want to be a specialist like a midwife or a nurse anesthetist? Do you want to become a nursing educator, training the next generation of nurses? Do you want to be a patient educator? List all of your options. Then you can list the pros and cons of each and the steps you need to take to move into any of them, if necessary. Maybe you could advance your career by simply earning a new certification or applying for a promotion. In other cases, you will need to earn an advanced degree, earn industry certifications, and get experience in that field to achieve both.

Get Educated

Nurses know that pay is generally correlated with education, such as when you move from an associate of nursing and working as an LPN to a bachelor’s of nursing and becoming a registered nurse. You’ll see more career opportunities when you earn a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing. Consider enrolling in a DNP online degree. Doctoral degrees like the one from Duquesne University Online prepare you to influence the design of healthcare delivery systems, working as a healthcare administrator or becoming a nurse executive.

Another option is earning certifications related to management rather than earning an advanced degree in nursing. You could see opportunities open up if you continue developing soft skills like active listening, writing, leadership skills, and conflict management.


Join professional networks so that you can learn from other nurses. Many of these networks hold educational conferences and meetings that could help you learn about trends in the industry. You could use the opportunity to make connections that could lead to a new job. You could consider joining research groups or reading groups. Or you could see a mentor for one-on-one development; this is something you could find through a networking group if you cannot find one at work.

Branch Out

You may find that the best way to advance your career is simply to try something new. Perhaps becoming a travel nurse is a good way to see the world, gain new skills, and earn a higher paycheck. Or, you could shift from pediatrics to geriatrics or another discipline. Rotating through a variety of positions gives you a wealth of experience while giving you an idea of where you may want to specialize later. Changing jobs is a good idea if you’re unhappy where you are anyway since someone dissatisfied with their job is unlikely to be considered for a promotion.


One of the best things about being a nurse is the flexibility it offers. Once nurses know the direction they want to go, they have a variety of ways of advancing their career. The only question now is where you’d like to go.

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