Nurses are entrusted with one of the most important yet critical jobs— to save people’s lives. They must provide the best care to patients to help them recover from their illnesses.
The profession is challenging because the patient care requirements continuously change. With them, nurses must upskill themselves and adapt to the changing needs. Their patients expect nurses to know about their illnesses, answer all their questions, and make no errors in care delivery.
This is why you will find most nurses engaging in one or the other nursing degree programs and certifications throughout their career.
The perpetual expectation of performing par excellence in their job is stressful. On the positive side, it keeps nurses on their toes—always looking for new learning and upskilling opportunities. No one can deny the challenge these expectations bring. But getting these skills becomes easier if you have a plan of action and know how to hone your clinical and non-clinical skills.
So, here is a list of ways through which nurses can upgrade their skills.
Find a Specialization of Your Choice
One of the surefire ways to upgrade your skills is to specialize in the area of your choice. You might be working as an RN (Registered Nurse) for years, doing the same work repeatedly. When you get into specialized roles, you get a direction for your career.
For instance, if you have a BSN degree already, you can enroll in MSN FNP online programs and get into family health. Or, if elderly care is your desired area, you can specialize in AG-ACNP (Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner) and offer services to the elder only.
With specialization, you will have greater responsibilities and perform more meaningful roles.
An FNP-level specialization also allows you to establish your independent clinics and treat patients without the direct oversight of a physician. The bottom line is that specialization enhances your autonomy, increases your grasp on your subject, and improves your clinical skills.
Enroll in Training Programs
Another way to improve your skill set is by attending new training programs in nursing. Training ensures you have the skills to work with critical healthcare technology, administer dosage, and help physicians carry out complicated surgeries and procedures. Training also improves your ability to care for your patients safely.
Simulations are often part of such training programs. These simulations provide a replica of the original environment, and you get to act as you would in an actual patient care setting.
Apart from improving your skills, recurrent training keeps the nurses motivated too. Instructors often remind them of their motivation and initial intention to work as a nurse. Keeping nurses motivated is important because motivated nurses can better use their skills and provide more patient-centered, high-quality care.
Participate in Conferences as Guest Speaker
A big part of working as a nurse is engaging in effective communication. Nurses communicate with doctors, patients, management, and other fellow nurses. They also report the patient’s changing conditions to their families.
Survival without effective communication is impossible. So, nurses need to improve their communication skills.
Besides training to improve communication skills, nurses must participate in public speaking forums such as medical conferences and seminars as speakers. Communication skills improve as much as you practice them, and there is no other way to practice than presenting your views in front of a diverse audience.
Become a Member of a Professional Organization
It is always a good idea to join an organization focused on your profession. When you affiliate yourself with a professional nursing organization, you meet with like-minded people from various cultural, social, economic, and working backgrounds. Sharing your ideas opens doors for more networking opportunities.
You can also participate in various seminars, webinars, and conferences and possibly meet people from other countries. This kind of environment continuously improves your knowledge.
Often professional nursing organizations bring together employees, employers, mentors, sponsors, etc., on one platform. You can land your next job because of someone you met there. Or, appraising your contributions and achievements at your workplace, someone might get a scholarship for higher education. So, professional organizations improve your networking skills and provide career development opportunities.
Get Familiar with Technolog
Technology and its applications are fast becoming an integral part of healthcare. Often cloud applications are used for storing patient records and excessing them wherever you are and whenever you want.
In addition, medical equipment is also being upgraded at a rapid pace to monitor changes in patient conditions effectively. All nurses must use the medical equipment and work with patient portals and interconnected healthcare systems.
To keep up with the changes technology brings, you must stay connected. Learn about computer skills, practice working with patient health systems and portals, and participate in workshops that help you hone these skills.
When you have onsite technology trainers, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Try to work on systems and applications in front of them. This way, they can correct you promptly if you falter at any point.
Also, practice with various computer programs and stay updated about operating systems to make this exercise easier and more manageable even if you are someone who doesn’t excel in technology.
Keep Your Curiosity Alive
Curiosity fuels a desire to know about things you are unaware of. In nursing, curiosity can help you learn new skills and upgrade those you already possess.
Always remember that you are in this profession to provide the best service to your patients. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to get new answers, unlearn old stuff, and replenish your skill set.
Healthcare is undergoing immense change, and so is the job of nurses. They must upgrade their skills at the same pace as the changes are taking place in the healthcare sector.
Patients also expect them to be the best in their job and provide all the answers to their grievances. But upgrading your skills is only possible if you have a learning and growth-oriented mindset. You need to be more eager and take the initiative if you want to deliver par excellence performance in your career.