7 Things That Might be Hurting Your Nursing Career

7 Things That Might be Hurting Your Nursing Career

By Laure Justice, Contributor

As a nurse, you provide nurturing care and support to others, but you might not offer the same degree of attention and devotion to your nursing career. In fact, you might be doing a few things that keep you from advancing in your career in nursing without even realizing it.

Learning about some common things other nursing professionals have done that put a halt on career growth can help you avoid those same pitfalls.

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7 Things That Can Hurt Your Nursing Career

1. Ineffective communication with colleagues

Learning to communicate with patients is something that's stressed when training for a nursing career, but the concept of effectively communicating with colleagues can fall by the wayside.

According to Dr. Cheryl Dellasega of Sigma Marketplace, "In the course of a typical workday, most of us experience make-you-or-break-you situations with coworkers that can be navigated through a learned set of skills such as proactive prompts, cup-of-coffee conversations and careful confrontations."

2. Skipping the opportunity to go for advanced education

A great nursing career can begin with an associate's degree, but advancing your education can increase opportunities for career advancement and higher earnings.

According to Sandy Griffin, an LPN from Hospice of South Louisiana, "With just a marginal increase in schooling, nurses can earn far more money while building on their knowledge and skills. For example, a Registered Nurse can earn nearly 60 percent more than a Licensed Practical Nurse with just one more year of education."

3. Changing positions too quickly

Becoming established in your nursing career and learning the fine nuances of a job take time. Changing jobs too quickly robs you of the chance to develop expertise, according to Dr. Deborah Kelly, Chair/Nurse Administrator at Clarion University.

Dr. Kelly says some nurses move "from one position to another, not giving themselves enough time to learn their current position. Changing positions too quickly will never allow the opportunity to transition from novice to expert in that particular position.”

4. Settling for a position that doesn't deliver the experience you need

After finishing training to become a nurse, it's normal to be eager to begin your nursing career and start earning money right away. However, settling for the first job that comes along can sometimes hold you back in the long run.

According to Sheila Rae of Medalert Help, "Based on my observations, one of the biggest things RNs do that unknowingly hurts their nursing careers is taking on jobs that won't allow them to gain solid clinical experience."

5. Hiding your ambition

Sometimes ambition gets a bad rap, but asking for the opportunities you're seeking can increase your chance of getting those opportunities. Don't be afraid to express your career goals to your supervisor.

According to Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN, NEA-BC, from Registered Nursing, you should always "be clear with your leader about your career goals. Leaders are not mind readers. Ask for challenges. Ask for feedback and be ready to learn from what you hear."

6. Resisting the need to become an advocate

Becoming an advocate for your patients can be a helpful approach for advancing your nursing career. It's part of making sure each patient receives the best care possible, and you can advance the cause of patient advocacy by joining and being active in professional nursing associations and serving on boards to increase awareness.

7. Giving off a feeling of negativity

Make sure you use language that expresses your intent in a manner that doesn't sound like constant criticism and negativity, because that can hinder your nursing career. Burger says, "If your intent is to present the challenges of a new project, your concerns could be perceived as negativity. Ensure that your leadership team knows your intent of shining a light into the corners to make sure every obstacle is visible before implementing changes."

Explore your full potential as a nurse and prepare to advance your career in nursing by becoming aware of these seven common pitfalls that hold nurses back. After you become aware of these issues, you can take steps to make sure they aren't part of your professional experience.

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