A framework for success in nursing
Join a professional organization. As part of active membership, professional organizations typically offer journals, conferences, resources, and networking through blogs, committees, special projects, and membership events. You can choose a generalist organization that supports the nursing profession across a wide range of practice settings, such as the American Nurses Association. Or, you could focus on an organization that's related to your specialty, such as medical/surgical nursing, emergency nursing, pediatrics, or critical care nursing. You can also elect to join both types of organizations—there's really no limit. Of course you'll pay dues, but the amount is usually well within a range that's affordable for most nurses. Active membership confers a myriad of opportunities for connection, education, and professional growth.
Become certified in your specialty. Specialty certification validates that you possess a defined body of knowledge and demonstrates a commitment to professional excellence. Investigate the certification options and requirements. Some certifications, such as the CCRN, carry a defined practice requirement to ensure that you have the necessary clinical experience before you sit for the exam. Once you've met the prerequisites, studying for the test might seem daunting, but the learning that occurs translates into enhanced knowledge and better informed clinical practice.
Continue your education. This advice ultimately motivated me to pursue my master's degree in nursing. Whether or not you decide to pursue one or more formal degrees following graduation, a commitment to lifelong learning is key to remaining current in evidence-based practice and is a cornerstone of professionalism. Science evolves. It's our duty and obligation to keep our knowledge base up to date.
I hope this advice serves you well, no matter where your professional journeys take you.