AURORA, Colo., Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In today's healthcare landscape, there's no shortage of specialty areas for ambitious nurses. American Sentinel University offers career-shift strategies for nurses switching specialties in 2016 to fulfill their career goals.
"Nurses have a powerful thirst for knowledge and a strong desire to learn and grow, and this often translates into motivation to make a career change. Many will reach a time when they would like to experience different professional opportunities," says Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Associate Dean, Nursing Graduate Programs at American Sentinel University. "This may mean moving from one type of unit to another, working in a different kind of facility, or even moving away from the bedside and into an area with less patient contact."
Career prospects are bright for nurses who have received advanced education and enter a specialty field.
Dr. Foster says there are a variety of reasons that nurses may consider a career change.
"It is not unusual to have a significant number of changes in the course of one's professional career. These career changes are often a reflection of what's most important to them at a particular stage of life such as an opportunity for leadership, flexibility in their personal life and the ability to pursue their professional interests."
She shares some career-shift strategies to keep in mind as nurses go through the process of switching specialties:
The better a nurse knows themselves and the more realistic they are about their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, the more successful they will be in navigating the transition.
She encourages nurses to read one of American Sentinel's nursing blog posts about 'Ten Considerations for Choosing the Right Specialty' to help nurses weigh some of the critical factors that come into play.
Before nurses take any concrete steps to make a change, Dr. Foster encourages them to spend some time investigating their area of interest.
"Read articles, talk to nurses in that field, assess the job market in your area, and learn everything you can about the specialty you are interested in," she adds.
She says a good place to start is The American Board of Nursing Specialties website that provides information about the 33 specialties that offer certification opportunities.
As an additional resource, American Sentinel has produced a complimentary e-book 'You Choose: 28 Careers That Every RN Should Consider' about many of the non-traditional nursing fields that relate to degree programs.
-Observation and experience.
Dr. Foster recommends that nurses shadow another nurse working in the field they're interested in to experience a new work environment and see first-hand what an average day is like for a professional in that particular field of nursing.
"It's a good way to get a better sense of a different job role before committing to change," she says.
And when nurses look for that first job in their new field, Dr. Foster says, "It's important to ask if there will be a preceptor available to guide and support them during your first few months."
Interacting with other professionals, either in person or online, can help nurses gather information about a new field, assess the current job market, build a list of contacts who can help them find job leads, and even find a mentor in their new specialty.
It's important for nurses to look for groups specific to their field of interest on Facebook, LinkedIn, and discussion forums, or attend a meeting or conference in their town.
Whether a nurse is still contemplating a switch or actively researching a new specialty area, education can be their ally.
Dr. Foster points out that many nursing specialties require a minimum of a BSN for entry. In other areas, a BSN plus a professional certification will position a nurse as a top contender for the job of their dreams.
"A BSN can also prepare a nurse for a leadership role or a career away from the bedside. The coursework will provide a broader perspective of healthcare systems, policies, and economics in a way that allows the nurse to 'connect the dots' between clinical nursing practice and the overall business and day-to-day operations of healthcare – which can potentially open doors to finding the career of your choice," she adds.
American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degree programs. Learn more about American Sentinel University's accredited online nursing programs (RN to BSN, MSN, or DNP) at http://www.americansentinel.edu/nursing or call 866.922.5690.
About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers accredited online degree programs in nursing (BSN, MSN, and DNP) and healthcare management (MBA Healthcare, M.S. Information Systems Management, and M.S. Business Intelligence and Analytics). Its affordable, flexible bachelor's and master's nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), of One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 530, Washington, D.C., 20036. The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) of 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga., 30326. The University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 234-5100, www.deac.org
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