10 Pieces of Nursing Career Advice You Didn't Know You Needed

Helping You Find The Best Career Path

Great news - there are many ways to be a nurse. However, all the different pathways can make it difficult to find the best way for you. So we've rounded up some of the best advice to help you find the best nursing career path.


  • Specializes in Workforce Development, Education, Advancement. Has 25 years experience.
Helping You Find The Best Career Path

Nursing isn't a one job fits all career. There are so many ways to be a nurse, which makes it exciting and challenging. However, all the different pathways you can take can make finding the right fit for your nursing career tricky. 

If you're looking for nursing career advice, you're in the right place. We've rounded up some of the best career tips below and hope there are a few on here you've never heard before. 

Going Back to School Isn't Always the Answer

If you're unhappy with your job, you might wonder if it's time to return to school to gain more skills and knowledge. However, it's crucial to remember that schooling doesn't always lead to different job opportunities. 

Before you apply to school, research the other specialties you're interested in and look at job postings for these roles. Find the educational requirements for applicants who fit the job and see if you already meet them. Another great way to discover what education is needed is to network with professionals in the specialty and find out what degrees or certifications they hold. 

Embrace Others' Opinions

Nursing teams can be diverse groups. This diversity can be vast and cause differing opinions. However, these differences aren't weaknesses. On the contrary, they are one of your team's greatest strengths.  

So, the next time things get heated in a team meeting, embrace the opinions of others by asking them for more information. It's okay if you still disagree, but be respectful and understanding. These actions can show respect and appreciation for the other professionals you work alongside daily.

Change Leads to Growth

Staying in one job for 20 or more years might make you an expert in one area of nursing. However, you'll likely get bored and tired of the "same old, some old" long before you reach that anniversary. And guess what? It's okay!

Not only is it okay, but changing your job and trying new things will probably propel your career faster than staying in one place. So, don't settle! Don't let fear hold you back if you have a new opportunity on the horizon. Instead, try something new and watch how quickly your knowledge, expertise, and even your salary grow. 

Ask for Feedback

Feedback isn't only for your annual performance review. It's one of the critical pieces of information that can help you improve and excel in your nursing practice. So, ask for feedback from your peers, supervisors, colleagues, and even people who report to you. Encourage them to be open and honest with you because this is the kind of feedback that will help you grow. 

Questions Show Strength

You've been told all your life that no question is a dumb question. However, have you praised yourself for asking questions even when it felt hard or embarrassing? You should! 

Taking time to ask for more information saves lives. So, the next time you worry about calling the doctor, stopping the nurse manager, or spending five minutes looking something up, do it and remind yourself that you're strong and smart! 

Tell Others You Appreciate Them Often

Nursing is challenging. Feeling appreciated can be the difference between good and bad days. So, always understand the power of telling someone you appreciate them. And it's that simple. Just saying, "Hey, (insert name here), I appreciate you,” will put a big smile on your colleague's face. Trust us! 

Strive to be a Life-long Learner

If you want to be challenged and feel accomplished as a nurse, learn something new. You can take a course, read an article, or listen to a lecture. It doesn't have to be a college-level class to learn something new. But, the feeling you get when you can share your knowledge with others will help you feel job satisfaction and happiness. 

Speak Up

If you see something that makes you uncomfortable or know it's wrong - speak up! Calling these situations out is powerful whether you're helping a colleague, patient, or someone else. 

You're Never "Just a Nurse"

Nurses are trusted, respected, and essential to the health and well-being of the general public. You worked hard to get your degree and pass the NCLEX so you could write those letters after your name. So, be proud and remember you aren't just a nurse - you are a NURSE! 

"I Don't Know" is Always a Good Answer

Nurses are used to having most (if not all) of the answers. However, if you're asked something to which you honestly don't know the answer, say so! "I don't know, but I'll find out" is an appropriate answer to tell a doctor, patient, or another nurse. There is no shame in not knowing, only in never trying to find the answer. 

Did this list give you some new or much-needed advice? Or could you add something to make this list complete? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Melissa is a registered nurse with over 23 years of experience. She loves workforce development, training, and operations. Challenging the status quo and accomplishing stretch goals keeps her getting up in the mornings. She is a lover of all things apple - pie, cider, streusel, and more! When she isn't doing nerdy work things, she is outside with her husband and dogs hiking or exploring local parks.

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790 Posts

Has 9 years experience.

Loved this ❤️

My three favorites were:

1. You're never Just a Nurse (aaaaah, truer words).  When traveling into work I mentally prepare myself for what it is I'm there to do, and that is to serve. It's not glam nor glorious but if I tell myself I'm here to help this person in this time of their life, it's so much easier.  Also, you don't know how many times I've gotten report and the nurse before me is just rambling off about some procedure I don't know about or some diagnosis they have and blah blah blah blah....and I stop them dead in their tracks "what is that".  And they look at me and explain.  I wonder if they had to look it up for themselves as well because sometimes they don't know either.  You really have to advocate for yourself out here.  NO shame.

2. Questions Show Strength.  Yes they do, and again, NO shame here.  Having a thorough clinical picture of what is going on with your patient is immensely rewarding.  Not only will you be better at critically assessing and treating but you will also be more effective with teaching and feel relaxed and comfortable around your patients.  Trust me, patients feel our vibes.

3. Tell Others You Appreciate Them.  You have to mean it though.  lolol.  Don't say it if you don't mean it. 😇


Melissa Mills, BSN

140 Articles; 317 Posts

Specializes in Workforce Development, Education, Advancement. Has 25 years experience.

@HiddenAngels So glad you liked the article. Nursing is hard, and we have to ban together and help one another. It's the only way to survive, right? Glad that words resonated with you!

Specializes in NICU. Has 40 years experience.
Melissa Mills said:

Not only is it okay, but changing your job and trying new things will probably propel your career faster than staying in one place. So, don't settle!

This makes me laugh,OK try it but do you really want to go back to the bottom of the pit as far as seniority goes,vacation pics,assignments,money(not every new  place counts and rewards experience),floating.If you have to do it plan carefully.