Advancing Your Nursing Career – What are Your Options?

advanced-nursing-degree-career-pathsWhether you are a new nurse just starting your career or have been working for a while, it is never too early or too late to think about your career goals. There is nothing wrong with wanting to stay in your current position, but if you are interested in working your way up the career ladder, it is helpful to understand your options and know what steps to take to advance your nursing career. Below are a few different areas to consider.

Shift Supervisor

A shift supervisor manages the nursing staff during a specific timeframe or shift. Shift supervisors may divide work assignments, coordinate staffing, deal with patient complaints, and handle other administrative duties as needed. Although facility policies vary, nursing shift supervisors may also perform clinical duties as needed. Shift supervisors should have strong leadership skills and several years of nursing experience.


The responsibilities of a nurse manager may vary depending on where they work. In general, nurse managers supervise the staff in their department. They may coordinate the scheduling, budget, and hiring and training of staff. Nurse managers and shift supervisors both are in leadership roles, but shift supervisors have a more limited role. In order to work as a nurse manager, a bachelor’s degree in nursing is usually needed.


Nurses who are interested in advancing their career may want to consider becoming an educator. Nurse educators are needed to teach nursing students and also develop and implement educational programs for staff. Educators often need to have at least a BSN degree and several years of experience.

How to Move up the Career Ladder

If you are interested in advancing your nursing career, there are several steps you can take to get the ball rolling.

Obtain your BSN degree.

One of the best things you can do for your career is obtain a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree. A BSN is becoming more common, and it is usually required for supervisory and education positions. If you want to climb the career ladder, why stop at a BNS degree? Obtaining an advanced degree, such as a master’s in nursing, will make you even more marketable.

Gain experience when you can.

Look for opportunities to gain experience and training when you can. Many healthcare facilities offer seminaries and continuing education opportunities for staff. There are opportunities for learning all around. Take advantage of them.

Find a mentor.

Find a nurse who is working in a position you are interested in and try to determine how he or she advanced their career. Learning how other successful people reached their goals can give you ideas on what you can do. Having a mentor can help you reach your goals sooner.

Take initiative.

Talk to your supervisor if you are interested in moving into a supervisory role. Let someone in charge know you are interested in taking on more responsibility. When an opportunity presents itself, they may consider you for the position.

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