Working in healthcare spaces is an ongoing process. HCPs are expected to keep up with constantly changing technologies, knowledge, and best practices. This is why licenses have continuing education requirements that RNs or LVNs have to complete, if they want to maintain an active license status. If you want to excel as an HCP, however, you need to go beyond this. You want to continually seek growth, as you walk along your HCP path. Whether you are a Registered Nurse or a Licensed Vocational Nurse, you should always be seeking constant improvement. For the sake of your career and continued success, here are a number of key strategies with which you can improve as an HCP.
Invest in your education
You need to proactively seek opportunities to learn and improve your knowledge of healthcare and more specifically your field. There are a number of outlets available to you, to accomplish this. Subscribing to academic journals, looking for conferences and seminars held by medical leaders and experts, or earning additional certifications are just a handful of ways this can be done. The advent of the digital world has also expanded your options list, in this regard. HCPs can listen to podcasts or attend webinars from world leaders in healthcare. As long as you are seeking out opportunities, they will always be there for you.
Make professional goals for yourself
As a healthcare professional, it can be far too easy to “settle” in your station. This type of professional stagnancy is the perfect way to inhibit your growth, however. If you want to evolve, you must set attainable goals. Make sure to set goals that are measurable. For example: say you want to pick up a new certification. Figure out what you need to do, where you need to go, and how long it will take to achieve this landmark goal. You want to create attainable, smaller goals that eventually lead to bigger ones. Before you can even consider pursuing your master’s degree, for example, you need at least two years of clinical experience. This mix of bigger-picture goals and small landmarks will guide your professional growth, and ensure that you never stop evolving.
Open your mind to learning
Healthcare is an endlessly broad and evolving field. With so many concepts, procedures, and information, it is hard to internalize it all. Not even the most accomplished veterans in space know everything. Regardless of your experience level or station, HCPs must open their mind to any opportunities they can find, to learn. Do not be afraid to admit that you do not know something, even if it is in your field of expertise. Instead, ask questions whenever applicable. Even if you have to repeat a question, it is better than proceeding as if you knew all the answers. It is better than getting the medicine dosage wrong or forgetting a patient’s blood type. When patient lives are on the line, ego must be set aside for the greater good.
This may seem like a simple suggestion, but it can save your life. HCPs are expected to be extremely precise with the information they handle. For example: if you are handling medications for a patient, you have to provide them at the right time, dosage, and variant. Getting any of these wrongs, even by just a little, can lead to fatal consequences at worst. If you get your orders from your supervisors, and you are unsure as to whether or not you got something wrong, do not be afraid to double-check. See if you are providing the correct medications at the right time, dosage, route, and to the correct patient. When you make double-checking a habit, you are far less likely to commit these small yet disastrous mistakes.
As was mentioned earlier, technology in the healthcare industry is evolving at a rapid pace. Hospitals are using smart beds which automatically track a patient’s condition or automatic IV pumps which administer intravenous drips at a precise level. Nursing records have long been transitioning from print to electronic formats, and HCPs can now access them at any time with their facility’s Nursing Portal. All of this information can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. Instead of rejecting progress, you want to embrace technology and its benefits. Take the time to read about new facility implements if you have not fully wrapped your head around them. Even if you have, consider taking the time to help your less tech-savvy contemporaries. The transition can be a rough experience, especially for older HCPs who are far less acclimated to the digital world.