As with any profession, it’s important to consider career progression in nursing. Nursing has been an age-old profession in the UK, but, it is undergoing a transition to take the shape of a much more professional career. This transition in the nursing career is still in its nascent stages and has a long way to go before it reaches a full-scale advanced career.
A number of registered nurses are looking towards agency nursing jobs as they pay better and offer flexible working hours. Also, the variety of work is more which helps to enhance your skills. With career progression in mind, it becomes imperative that nurses work in a variety of settings to understand their preferred area of work. If you are a nurse looking for nursing agency jobs, below is the career progression path that you should consider.
To begin a career as a nurse, you will have to get a nursing degree from an NMC-approved institute. Most of the nursing courses involve about half study in class while the other half is practical training. After you have completed the required postgraduate program in nursing, you can pick a specialization.
The most common specialties until now have been child nursing, adult nursing, mental health, or learning disabilities nursing. However, there are many other specializations such as neonatal nurses, critical care nurse, dialysis nurse, nurse advocate, nurse educator, nurse researcher, etc.
Registering With the Nursing and Midwifery Council
All qualified nurses need to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to work in the UK. Nurses from outside the UK need to apply for a Tier 2 visa and register with the NMC to become eligible to work in the UK. All nurses need to be proficient in the English language.
Most registered nurses in the UK are moving towards agency nursing. There are many advantages that agency nursing offers over traditional nursing. Agency nursing offers nurses the flexibility to pick their working hours, the kind of setting they want to work in, and quick payment options.
It also offers nurses a chance to work with different kind of patients, thus enhancing their skills. Agency nursing also offers benefits such as paid time off, sick pay, and career advancements options. Those looking for nursing agency jobs should consider all these before selecting the agency they want to work with.
Okay, so, armed with a nursing degree, registered with the NMC, and working with a nursing agency. What next? Well, nursing is an evolving career, and there has never been a better time to become a nurse in the UK.
You will start off as a clinical support worker, and advance to an emergency care assistant or an occupational therapy worker. The next level after that will be a nurse associate practitioner. From there, you can move to become an operating department practitioner (ODP), learning disability nurse, or practice manager.
The next level is advanced nurse, then modern matron, a nurse consultant, nurse team manager, and finally a nurse consultant.
Take Charge of Your Career
Nursing is becoming like any other profession. Those willing to step out of a comfort zone and look for new opportunities can make significant progress. If you are the kind who wants career advancement, then you need to think about your career in terms of more than just caring for patients.
You will have to look at advancing your skills by way of additional courses and different work settings. You can check what advanced nursing courses are available and enroll for one that matches your skills and area of interest. You can also work with a GP by shadowing a practicing nurse.
Volunteer to Enhance Your Skills
Sign up for as many volunteering activities as you can. There is nothing more rewarding in terms of giving back to the community and in terms of learning than volunteer work. It will give you immense exposure to a variety of patients and health outcomes. Volunteering will not only enhance your current skills but, will allow you to learn new skills as you work with a wide spectrum of the population. Also, it will look good on your resume.
Networking Is Critical
Networking is crucial for career progression, and it applies to nursing as well. Participating in job fairs, conferences, and RCN congress can give you exposure to a lot of new opportunities in nursing. Also, having a LinkedIn account will help you reach out to potential employers. Participate in local job fairs and RCN branch meetings. Such networking will ensure that you remain updated on the latest developments in the nursing industry and plan your career advancement accordingly.
Success in any career largely depends on your pro-active approach and ability to be “out there”. Agency nursing can be extremely rewarding as not only do you have the flexibility to work on your terms, but, you get the opportunity to advance your career.