Whether you are currently an advanced practice registered nurse or you hold a master of science in nursing, what does the future hold for you, and where do you want to be in the next five years? Do you see yourself still on the frontline? Working within nursing can be challenging, fulfilling, and rewarding all at the same time. However, now might be the right time to start looking forward to the future and looking towards returning to studying, pushing forwards, and achieving a leadership role.
Hands-on experience is invaluable within the nursing field, as is continuous education. To achieve the role within leadership that you desire, you need to invest your time in gaining a DNP in strategic leadership careers and outcomes. A solid understanding of leadership, coupled with your experience, will put you in good stead and allow you to see where you would like to focus your efforts. So, what do you see yourself doing, and what changes do you want to make?
Going For A Doctor Of Nursing Practice Degree
DNP programs are the highest credential a nurse can achieve. A further degree, especially those degrees that are tailored to leadership, is very highly respected and valued. A doctor of nursing practice degree in leadership offers you the opportunity to apply your real working experience and to get enhanced education concurrently. Your enhanced education and experience can be applied to a healthcare practice or establishment as part of a leadership role.
Going for a DNP truly gives you the opportunity to apply change and improvement within any leadership role that you take on. As the degree is the epitome of nursing, gaining it will put you in a strong position for advancing and enhancing your career.
Why And When Should You Return To Studying?
You should return to studying as you owe it to yourself to realize your full potential. You deserve the chance to be heard, and you deserve the chance to be part of change. If you do not return to studying, then you will most likely stay stagnant within your current job and role, which is no good for personal development or career development. The right time to study comes down to your personal circumstances; there will, however, never be a perfect time.
The time to return to studying is when you feel you are stuck in a rut. When you feel you are no longer having an impact or making a difference, and simply when you yearn for more, and to be more, then you are already. When you long for change and development, then it is probably the right time to start looking at studying once again.
Whatever age or stage of your career you are at when you decide to return to studying, you should remember that support is essential. Whether it has been five years since you studied last or 15 years, you have to be aware that you will need support to fall back on, especially for those times when everything gets on top of you, and it all feels a bit overwhelming. Friends, family, and work colleagues will all be there for you, as will a good university.
A university that cares about your education and development will ensure that you are part of an inclusive and supportive community at all times, even those who are learning remotely. Excellent universities are there for you, and they are there to assist you as and where they can.
Studying Conveniently Online
Developing your career doesn’t have to involve major sacrifices; in fact, quite the opposite. You can study for your DNP from the comfort of your home and around your existing work and family commitments. You don’t have to put your life on hold when you return to studying, and you also do not have to sacrifice earning money. Good universities ensure that they offer flexible classes and learning opportunities that can be fitted around you and your commitments, so you don’t have to worry or be burdened with stress trying to fit everything into your schedule.
Quite often, classes and educational material will be available for you to access at a convenient time and place, meaning that if something comes up at work or at home, your studying will not be adversely affected.
Studying While You Continue Earning
The benefit of studying online is that you can continue to work and earn. There may be times when you feel a little bit overwhelmed and possibly overworked, trying to achieve everything in relation to your studies and place of work. However, it is important to remember that you can achieve what you set out to do, you just need to be highly efficient and organized. To successfully study and earn at the same time, you need to plan your time wisely and ensure that you do not spread yourself too thin.
It can be tempting to put off doing jobs or academic work that is not due immediately but to juggle work and studying, you have to complete tasks and jobs when you can. Getting things done in advance and being prepared for all eventualities will help reduce the amount of stress and pressure you put on yourself, and it will eliminate that last-minute panic to get work completed by the deadline.
Focusing On Achieving A Balance While Studying
When you begin studying for your degree, you may struggle to find a balance. After a few weeks, you will settle into a routine, and you will find it easier to manage your workload. The key to achieving balance is to not try and do too much at once. Study regularly and often and do not try and study for long periods of time. You will not retain information if you are sat for hours on end. So, remember that quality is important and not always quantity.
To get the balance just right, you have to create a schedule, and you have to implement your schedule as soon as you can. If you are juggling work, study, and family, then it is important to factor all of this into your schedule. If you have important family occasions on the horizon, then plan your study time around these and do extra work in and around the upcoming days if possible to ensure that you do not fall behind.
While trying to balance so many things at once, it can be easy and very convenient to let things slip, whether this is standards when you are at work, time spent with family, or time that you should be studying.
Balance is achieved when you accept and acknowledge that you cannot do everything, no matter how hard you try. If you do your best at everything you are trying to do, then that is going to be good enough. Perfection is an illusion that you will certainly not achieve while trying to study, work, have a family, run a home, and so on.
Challenges That Await
Getting your doctor of nursing practice degree will open doors and new challenges, especially if you are moving away from the physical side of working as a nurse. It can be hard to adapt to change when you have been doing something for a little while, but it is important to embrace change and challenges as they present themselves. A challenge you may have to overcome may come in the guise of relocation.
When you are seeking leadership roles and positions, you may have to expand your search area and criteria and possibly consider other states to get the role you desire. In addition to potentially having to relocate, you have to juggle family and life commitments, even more so when you get a role within leadership. There will most definitely be more time constraints on your life as your career progresses, and as this happens, you need to evaluate how you will split your time to ensure that you are happy and fulfilled, and so is your family.
The challenge is to achieve the right balance. There will, of course, be times when you need to reevaluate your schedule to suit your new role or family commitments, but this should not put you off going for that next career move.
Career Development And Career Enhancement
With the help of a solid educational background that is also full of work experience, career enhancement and development should now be firmly set in your sights. You need to decide where you see your career going once you have gained your DNP. Have your visions changed since the start of the course?
Are you looking to make changes to national or state health policies? Are you looking for a leadership position within a local healthcare facility, or are you focusing on achieving a position as an expert clinician? Fortunately, when you have a good education behind you, including your newly gained degree, you will have lots of opportunities available to you to advance your career and achieve whatever you set out to do.
Remember that setting development and career goals can be enjoyable to do, but it is not always the most efficient way to achieve your aims. Quite often, when you set goals, you are creating extra hurdles and obstacles for yourself, so push your career forward as organically as you can. Focus on the core values you will be providing when you get the job you deserve and not the time taken to get the job.
Rewards On Offer
As well as the financial rewards that come with a bigger job role, there are other rewards such as increased job satisfaction and personal satisfaction. Job satisfaction is important at any stage of your career, and especially so when going for a position within leadership. The feeling of accomplishment at changing health policies or practices or the sense of self-worth when changes have been implemented as a direct result of your hard work is second to none. No amount of financial reward can compare to the care and attention you provided as a nurse or now as a leader.
Leading From Experience
One of the best things about becoming a leader within an organization or provider is the experience you bring to the role. Your firsthand knowledge and experience from working as a nurse can potentially help change and shape the future of care, both at a local level and potentially a national level. When you lead from experience, you will soon see that you can lead others confidently and while also helping others to grow, improve and develop.
How To Be A Good Leader – Do You Have What It Takes?
So what makes a good leader? A good leader is someone who is approachable, aware, and effective. You have to be approachable from people and other leaders, as you will have to work closely with others to implement change. If you are not approachable, then you will notice business relationships will struggle to survive, they will feel forced, and when this happens, positive change and progress will grind to a halt.
You need to be aware of others, your environment, and your surroundings. Within healthcare, policies and areas are constantly changing, and so as a result of this, you have to ensure that you stay on top of areas of change and development and that you implement them as soon as possible. Being aware and adaptable to change will ensure you are a successful leader, as will being effective. If nobody listens to you, they fail to take notice, or they fail to change, then you are not an effective leader.
Being an effective leader is not all about winning every battle; it is about continuously and tirelessly working for improvement and change. When you implement policies, strategies, and ways of working that improve and change working life for others and the healthcare industry (be it at a local or national level), then you can say you are truly an effective leader.
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