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How to Take Charge of Your Nursing Career in 2020

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

It’s the new year – and while nurses across the UK recover from another busy Christmas period, many will start to cast their minds to this time next year…will you be in the same role, or will you have made some alterations to your career so that you are in a different more senior, or better-paid position?

The potential to shape your nursing career in whatever direction you want is in your hands – wherever you want to take it.

There are many opportunities available to nurses who wish to upgrade their skills, switch employers, undertake training or work towards becoming a manager; where will you take your nursing career in 2020 - and beyond?

In this article, I want to share with you some of the top ways I have witnessed successful nurses take charge of their career, to give you some inspiration of how you can take your nursing career to the next level.

1. Realise Your Goal

Many nurses that I work with have a vague idea that they want a new role, or that they want to get away from their current employer for various reasons. Taking a new nursing role simply because you’ve outgrown your old one is sometimes the right choice, but there will come a point where you need to think ‘what am I aiming for?’

Before you became a nurse, what was the motivation that caused you to start a nurse training course, go to university or whichever route you took to get you where you are today?

Do you want to become a head nurse? A nursing manager or even a nurse educator? People with ultimate career goals are proven to be happier and more fulfilled in roles than employees who have more conservative, or no career goals – so this is an incentive in itself to come up with an ultimate career goal for yourself to work towards.

Your ultimate career goal does not have to be completely set in stone; it can be changed and altered as you progress through your life as a nurse. Remember that all training and development will ultimately lead to you being the best nurse you can be.

2. Plan Your Credentials

Once you have realised which direction you want your career to go in, you can start to research, and put in motion the steps to make it a reality.

If you are currently an HCA looking to upgrade your skills to become a nurse, you will need to decide on which specialism from the adult, child, mental health or learning disability nursing courses that are offered along with your degree. You can find more information about careers paths from HCA into nursing from the RCN here.

Upgrading your nursing skills can mean pursuing a further degree to strengthen your current specialism, or researching ways into positions of more responsibility, leadership roles or running nurse-led clinics.

Working with a specialist nursing recruiter is one of the best ways you can explore the career paths that are available to you.

3. Become a Leader

Even if your ultimate career goal is not to be a direct leader or manager, becoming a leader in your own right and owning your specialism is one of the best ways to achieve success in your career.

You might not realise it about yourself yet, but – all nurses are in fact, leaders. The responsibilities you have, the decisions you make during every shift, when you volunteer yourself to help your colleagues – all of these are examples of your ability to lead, no matter how small they seem when they are buried within all of your other daily tasks.

As your career, and your confidence grows, you will eventually discover how comfortable you are as a leader, and how much you want this to be a part of your role.

If you are starting out in your nursing career, aim to take advantage of learning as much as you can from your supervisors to strengthen your nursing skills and knowledge.

Veteran nurses often take immense pleasure in sharing their expertise with less-experienced nurses, so consider this as an option to enhance your career. You can offer to help fresh nurses with their training, or enter into an NMC-approved mentorship course.


If this article has given you some inspiration as to where you want to take your nursing career, and you want to explore the options that are available to you, get in contact with us at Clayton Recruitment today.

We work with hospitals and healthcare organisations in the North-West, and we have a variety of roles available to skilled nurses to help you along your chosen nursing career path.





Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability. 

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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