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How to Advance in the Field of Nursing

Nursing is an important career, but it’s also a very competitive one. There are a lot of nurses in hospitals all competing for the top spots in nursing and only so many positions. So here are some skills that are needed for advancing in the nursing profession.


Far above anything else, you will need excellent communication skills. You will need to communicate both with your patients and the physicians with whom you work, along with the patients’ families. Both of the parties will need different types of communication. Doctors will need the technical information while patients and their families need the information in layman’s terms. Even when a nurse is working in education and research, information has to be able to effectively communicated. 

It’s not a bad idea to know a second language, since being able to communicate in more than one language can be helpful to the nurse, her patients, and her career.


Among the most important things that a nurse must be is patient. Nurses work long nights and days, sometimes 10-12 hours at a time. You have to know how to pace yourself and not get frazzled by frustrating things in the job, like a lot of paperwork. You have to keep calm since you will often be managing distress. Patients and families who are distraught are often a part of your job, and you are never going to find two cases that are exactly the same.


Clinical care and administrative work are very hard to keep in balance for some people, so it’s important to pay close attention to the details.  When you have patients whose lives are at stake, you need to know which patient gets what medicine, what kind of illnesses they have, and what their schedule is. Otherwise, you may find that you have lost a patient and you may have a lawsuit on your hands.


There’s no doubt that the nurses who are best at their jobs are going to go onto getting leadership positions. That’s why it’s important to show that you have leadership skills. Charge nurses are going to be assigned to oversee specific departments in hospitals. If you become a charge nurse, you may have to track and order inventory of medications, create schedules, and delegate the nursing assignments. Registered nurses are often promoted because they’re taking charge of different situations.

One way that you can demonstrate that you have leadership skills is to exude confidence. You have to show that they have the skills by working independently and giving patients the very best care. A nurse who shows self-doubt during crisis situations can be very dangerous.  

Mental toughness

Many times, emotions run high in nursing due to the patients, the patients’ families, long hours, and a lot of other harrowing factors. No matter what has just happened, no matter if you just lost a patient, you have to press on. You will need mental, physical, and above all, emotional strength. You will need to have a lifestyle that’s healthy and that provides a high level of energy. You won’t be able to take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself.

If you are a nurse and you want to advance in your career, working on these skills will give you a better chance of moving up when positions become available.


Image Source: Think Progress

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