Scale Up! How to Expand Your Career as a Nurse or Allied Health Professional

Hero Scale Up How to Expand Your Career as a Nurse or Allied Hea
Cross Country Search
August 17, 2023 08:30 AM (GMT-04:00)
Provider Tips

Strategies to Continually Level Up as a Healthcare Provider

Career growth can be different for everyone. What does it mean to you? When you think about “leveling up” or “scaling up” your healthcare career, does that mean:

  • Taking on a leadership role
  • Increasing your income
  • Optimizing your quality of life
  • Earning a higher degree
  • Specializing or subspecializing
  • Contributing to research
  • Mentoring new colleagues
  • Teaching at a university or college
  • Advocating for patients
  • Learning groundbreaking treatment methods
  • Using innovative tools and equipment
  • Working at a leading institution
  • Building your professional network
  • Pairing work and travel
  • Expanding into telehealth
  • Joining or leading a professional organization
  • Having an online presence as an expert in your field
  • Getting published in a journal
  • Presenting at conferences
  • Improving your organization’s culture
  • Enhancing the patient experience

There are countless ways you can expand your career as a nurse or allied health professional! The ideas above are merely a start. Here’s how to pinpoint what career growth means for you and isolate the steps it takes to level up, no matter your goals.

  1. Define what career growth means to you. Take some time to brainstorm where you want to be in the future. If the goals above don’t speak to you, consider what you love to do, what you find most rewarding, and what would bring you the most joy in your career. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Would you like to travel across the continent and practice in a new region? Do you see yourself as the head of your department at a hospital or a professor in your specialty at a college someday? Would you want to be caring for children who live on reservations or underserved U.S. Veterans? Can you envision yourself coaching or presenting to colleagues in a nursing or allied health continuing education program? Would you like to be deeply embedded in your specialty, an expert in your field? Do you want to earn more to retire early? Identify what your top goals are and write them down.
  2. Zero in on what it would take to reach each goal. Now, break each goal into steps and record them. For example, if leveling up your career means traveling, write something like, “Search for agencies that place travel nurses (OTs, SLPs, respiratory therapists, etc., depending on your profession), choose my top 3 agencies, contact those agencies by the end of the week.” Or if your goal is to pursue leadership, write: “Find a mentor who is also a leader, read books on strengthening leadership skills, sign up for continuing ed or certifications in leadership, express my interest in becoming a future leader to my superiors, keep an eye out for leadership opportunities, contact a recruiter to get into a leadership position.” If your goal is to earn more and retire early, you might write: “Identify the specialties, locations or facilities that pay most in my field, get skills and qualifications that would improve my earning potential, ask for a raise, if appropriate, be willing to negotiate for what I’m worth when applying for a new position.”
  3. Get moving on the steps to reach your goal. Now comes the tricky part: keeping your eye on the prize amidst the demands of a busy day…and another busy day…and another busy day. Those busy days can add up, and before you know it, time will slip away. That’s why prioritizing your goals and the steps it takes to reach them is critical. Executing plans can be particularly challenging when goals and steps are ambiguous. But if you can put them on paper and post them where you’ll see them or keep them on your phone or your laptop, they’ll feel like solid, achievable plans. Schedule some time each week to devote to the practical steps it will take to reach these goals. You'll be surprised at the results, even if it’s devoting just an hour or two on your days off.
  4. Document your progress along the way. Add accomplishments, awards, and accolades to your resume as you move throughout your career. Create a paper and an electronic file to store this information. Retain all certificates, diplomas, licenses, records of leadership roles, professional organization participation, feedback and reviews, etc. Write details about when and how you improved processes, advocated for patients and families, enhanced workplace culture, or solved other challenges. Keep products of your coursework, including research, dissertations, publications, videos, and posts.

Working with a recruiter who specializes in nursing or allied health opportunities can help you reach your goals. A skilled recruiter will ask about your top career aspirations as well as your current wants and needs. They’ll have access to various positions at all types of facilities. They’ll even know about opportunities that aren’t advertised. An expert recruiter at a trusted and established staffing agency can help you negotiate a higher salary. They can locate jobs with opportunities in leadership, research or teaching. Plus, a recruiter can help you travel to different locations, take your ideal job close to home, or transition to telehealth. They can even help you navigate getting licensed to practice in various states across the country!

We’re here to help you continually scale up your career. Explore our latest opportunities for nurses and allied health professionals at Cross Country Search.

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