Many times I get asked about returning to school for further nursing education or securing a nurse specialty certification. Before I share a few resources and tips with you, I even have a real-life story of this exact topic that happened just this past fall.
In late September, I was giving a keynote speech at an annual state nursing convention. I was at the part of my talk where I was describing how, as adults, we often lose direction. From role models who pass on good intentions to memories and experiences we endure growing up, sometimes by the time we reach adulthood, it’s hard to know what it is WE want versus what we feel others think is best for us.
It’s kind of that feeling of ‘I should’ do this or that based on what I see going on around me.
So in the talk, I said something along the lines of ‘If a nurse on my unit goes back to school, does that mean I should too? If my manager tells me to get certified, does that mean it’s the right decision for me?‘
Just as I finished up that statement, I heard someone in the audience say ‘Yes!’ aloud. And trust me, they weren’t in the first row… so it was loud enough for many to hear. I found it quite alarming that just because someone tells us to do something we SHOULD go out and do it. I do understand the value of nursing education and continuing to keep pace with our profession through specialty certification- it’s just is it the right choice for all of us?
Now, as I said in the opening of this post, I have been asked this many times. So many in fact, that I created a FAQ page on my site that I email to people when they ask me about getting certified and the next steps they ought to take in their nursing education. You may want to visit that by clicking here.
Some other resources I have created include past blog posts about these topics:
- A Fork in the Road: Nursing Education, Specialty, Certification, Oh My!
- Changes in the Nursing Profession from Nurse Survey Findings
- 3 Types of Nurses: Try Something New to Eliminate Burnout
I do understand that we are all pressed for time. So maybe you don’t have a chance to view the blog posts or FAQ page listed here. So I’ll summarize now below. However, I do encourage you, if you are seriously considering nursing school, advancing your degree or obtaining a specialty certification- check those pages out.
- Reflect on Your Career History. Look back on the roles you have had as a nurse. What did you enjoy? What was less satisfying? Where did you like to work and with what type of patients and colleagues? Is there anything that you couldn’t stand doing in a previous job? First, you want to figure out what it is you don’t want and what it is you do want in your nursing career.
- Focus on Your Career Desires. Once you have that list of careers wants and don’t wants- you want to put them into action. Make a list of your goals, as they pertain to your job. Goals for now, in the short-term future and longer off (the big picture of your career path). Where is it you are going as a nurse? Are you heading into academia? Do you want to do research? Is management for you? When you know where you are heading, figuring out if further education or nursing specialty will be easier.
- Do What is Best for Your Nursing Journey. Finally, think about your personality and what it is you enjoy. Work cannot be all toil and trouble. You need to have fun and enjoy yourself, even while being a professional nurse. I cannot tell you which path to take or how to get there. That comes from within. If you need help tapping back into the nurse inside of you, you may want to check out my bestselling book, ‘Nursing from Within‘ which can help you do just that. The only person who can tell you if going back to school and/or getting certified is the right choice… is you!
About the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within‘, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.