The Importance of Networking as a Nurse

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    Networking is something all nurses owe to themselves to do. In a changing economic climate, workplaces can change quickly (and sometimes without notice). Hospitals close or merge with other healthcare systems. Jobs are cut. Departments shuttered and staff redistributed, and nurses can find themselves out of work. When the latter occurs en masse, you and your colleagues might find yourselves competing for a few jobs, in the same area, at the same time.

    The Importance of Networking as a Nurse

    “Networking? But I’m not looking for a job! Who has time anyway?” I thought that way once. I was a novice nurse and just trying to learn the ins and outs of nursing in my new job. As I became comfortable in my nursing role though, I found I wanted more, and networking helped (and still helps) propel me to where I am today and hopefully beyond!

    Networking is something all nurses owe to themselves to do. In a changing economic climate, workplaces can change quickly (and sometimes without notice). Hospitals close or merge with other healthcare systems. Jobs are cut. Departments shuttered and staff redistributed, and nurses can find themselves out of work. When the latter occurs en masse, you and your colleagues might find yourselves competing for a few jobs, in the same area, at the same time.



    So how do you go about networking? It’s actually easier and less time-consuming than you might think. Check out the ideas below to network your way to a new job, a new adventure, and new friends!

    4 Ways to Build Your Professional Nursing Network

    1) Social Media.

    You’re probably already on social media through Facebook or Instagram, but do you have a LinkedIn profile? If yes, are you a member of any nursing professionals groups? LinkedIn and its nursing groups have members that are the Chief Nursing Officers and Nurse Recruiters of many health care systems. You never know whose eye you will catch. Also, LinkedIn will send you notifications of companies and healthcare systems currently hiring. Knowing which employers are looking for new nurses cuts out a lot of the guesswork that a job search entails.

    2) Join an Association.

    There are local and state chapters of many organizations. You probably have a few members of different associations in your workplace. Check bulletin boards or in your Director of Nursing’s office, and join a group aligned with your interests or passions. Don’t be intimidated by an area of nursing that you don’t know or have experience in. Many groups are welcoming of nurses of every type, no matter your background, if you have an interest in the type of nursing the group represents. Joining an association is a great avenue for information gathering on a new path in your nursing career.

    3) Volunteer in Your Community.


    Networking doesn’t have to be limited only to nursing circles. Have a passion for theatre? Gardening? Working with your hands? Lots of professionals give their time to local causes and with “six degrees of separation” working for you, you may find yourself with a new contact that sets your nursing career on an unexpected and exciting new adventure. One nurse I know volunteered her sewing talents to a local theatre and met an executive that organized humanitarian groups that traveled to Central America to give dental care to poor communities. She went on her first trip, made a lot of new friends and contacts in the healthcare world, and was asked to come work at a major healthcare system in Cleveland.

    4) Showcase Your Strengths.

    We all have strengths. We’re nurses after all! But how often do you showcase your strengths at work? This is one of the most important things you can do for your networking efforts. People take notice when employees shine at work. Go the extra mile. Offer to handle something that someone else does not like to do. Are you passionate about writing? Public speaking or presenting? Be innovative in showcasing your talents and passions. Start a blog or a YouTube channel. If you detest being in front of the camera, how about starting a Podcast? There are all sorts of ways you can put your talents and passions front and center so they’ll get noticed. A byproduct of your efforts is all the positive energy you create around your nursing career. People automatically start to think of you as a possible go-to person for projects or a new position. And that is a great benefit of networking because you’ve left such a positive impression that people seek you out for your talents.

    Do you have a process for networking your way through your nursing career? What steps have you taken to network in your community? In your state? I’d love to hear of your experiences and find out what has or hasn’t worked for you!
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 20
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    6 Comments

  3. by   not.done.yet
    Excellent article! I would add in the importance of building bridges throughout your career as part of networking. The medical community can be remarkably small. Leaving people with a good impression as you negotiate your career can be quite important when it comes time to move up to the next rung, whether it be from references and word-of-mouth recommendations or even applying for a new position at a healthcare system you worked at earlier in your career. This impression carries through from fellow nurses, former supervisors, but also physicians and ancillary staff, such as unit clerks and patient care technicians.
  4. by   The Nurse Motivator
    Well written article with some fabulous points! Every exchange we have with people around us is an opportunity for networking. You never know who you may be sitting with or standing next to for that matter. While standing in line waiting to board a plane to a professional conference, small talk led to meeting the editor of a professional nursing journal. At the time I was eager to figure out how to publish a journal article. This very unexpected interaction helped me gain needed knowledge to find my way into the publishing world. Be authentic in your human exchanges and your network just may find you!
  5. by   ElizabethScala1
    Quote from not.done.yet
    Excellent article! I would add in the importance of building bridges throughout your career as part of networking. The medical community can be remarkably small. Leaving people with a good impression as you negotiate your career can be quite important when it comes time to move up to the next rung, whether it be from references and word-of-mouth recommendations or even applying for a new position at a healthcare system you worked at earlier in your career. This impression carries through from fellow nurses, former supervisors, but also physicians and ancillary staff, such as unit clerks and patient care technicians.
    Thank you so much for your comment. I am glad that you enjoyed the article.

    Building bridges is a great addition! You are right on with this... you never know when you may need to reach back out to someone in your career past, and ask them to recommend you.

    Great points about adding docs and support staff to this list too!

    Thanks for your insights.
  6. by   ElizabethScala1
    Quote from The Nurse Motivator
    Well written article with some fabulous points! Every exchange we have with people around us is an opportunity for networking. You never know who you may be sitting with or standing next to for that matter. While standing in line waiting to board a plane to a professional conference, small talk led to meeting the editor of a professional nursing journal. At the time I was eager to figure out how to publish a journal article. This very unexpected interaction helped me gain needed knowledge to find my way into the publishing world. Be authentic in your human exchanges and your network just may find you!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this post!

    Wow, what a great place to be in... that line with the editor. I find that happens to me as well. And even if it is not that "exact" person... it is likely that they know them or are connected to them.

    What's that saying, six degrees of separation?!?!

    Great comments, thank you for sharing!
  7. by   AliNajaCat
    I'd add that when you join the organization(s), volunteer in them-- speak at conference on something, serve on conference committee, publishing committee, research committee, outreach committee... You get a lot of visibility that can turn into a steppingstone to an expanded role in a new career.
  8. by   ElizabethScala1
    Quote from AliNajaCat
    I'd add that when you join the organization(s), volunteer in them-- speak at conference on something, serve on conference committee, publishing committee, research committee, outreach committee... You get a lot of visibility that can turn into a steppingstone to an expanded role in a new career.
    This is a GREAT point! I have seen this happen in my own and in others careers. Thank you for bringing this up in the conversation. Excellent insights!

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