Best Nursing Career Advice | Information for Career Advancement

Ever had someone give great nursing career advice? What do you do with that info? Here are a few examples of career advice and what I did with it.

Everyone’s got an opinion but only few have great advice. There are a lot of people who think they know what’s best for you. They are not always right. Sometimes those whom you looked up to for advice you come to later find out they don’t give great advice like you thought they would. Or you find out that the advice was good for that time but not good for where you are going. 

I have received some great advice along the way and some not so great advice. Great advice will and should confirm what God has already spoken into your heart. It should line up with the direction you were already thinking. However we should not try to curate it for ourselves. Meaning us trying to convince other people that what we are thinking is a good idea. What I will describe is advice as well as some encouragement  I received from leaders to move forward in my career.

Tap on the Shoulder

A former president of the American Nurses Association whom I had the great pleasure of talking to told me that when someone taps you on the shoulder to do a job you never thought about, you should strongly consider it. They were able to see something in you that you did not see. That advice trained me to look at taps on the shoulder in a different manner. Many times we shy away from certain duties and jobs thinking we would never do that. When in actuality its the one thing that may very well prepare you for that next great move in your career. Always consider the tap. You never know where it will take you.

You Shouldn’t be Here

One day while working at the bedside in the ICU, I had a nurse practitioner say to me “Why are you still doing this? Why are you still at the bedside? You really should be doing more. You are different than the regular nurse.” She was right. I was already thinking about what my next move was. I had spent 7 years at the bedside by this time and was looking to do more in my profession. Up to this time I had gained great clinical experience and I was looking to get more involve in the administrative part of healthcare. Her asking me that question gave me the confidence and push I needed to accelerate my process of working towards something new and different in healthcare. It was the spark I needed to move forward. 


I needed more. I had moved to a job that was different but I captured the concept and general jist of the job within 6 months and that is not good for me. I always need a challenge. That’s why I started my nursing career in Cardiothoracic Surgery step-down. It was the great and complex challenge I needed in my career. Now that I was away from the bedside, I needed that challenge work wise on the administrative side. In the new job, I was not receiving it. It was time to move on. I am not a job jumper but I whole heartedly agree with evaluating where you are and getting the challenge that you need. I had found a new job. The director who hired me left the department about 3 months earlier. On one of her last days in the department she told me “You are a great person. You will be doing great things in the future. I am excited to see you grow from afar.” Again it was great encouragement for me that I was on the right track. It was the spark I got to move forward. 

Great advice can come in the form of encouragement or just plain old advice. Its a word that you always need to keep in your back pocket. Little did I know, I leaned heavily on that advice and encouragement when I found myself in a dream job that I hated and caused me to question who I was in my profession. I hung on to the encouragement that others saw great things in me. It reminded me that I am a great person and there is great work for me to do but it just wasn’t in that job. So keep moving towards the taps on the shoulder. Hang on to the great encouragement you receive from others. Especially those whom you least expect it coming from and when you least expect it. The encouragement I received came at random times from the most unlikely persons. I didn’t even know they were watching. Someone is always watching you. Do your best and God will do the rest. 

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