9 tips for young nurses seeking leadership positions

Many professional development strategies exist for young nurses looking to step into higher leadership positions, Tyler Faust, MSN, RN, a nurse manager at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, wrote in a blog post for Nurse.org.

Mr. Faust listed nine tips he wished he knew earlier in his career:

1. Some colleagues' career advice may be misguided. Faust said it is important to realize older nurses may have different career aspirations than younger nurses. As such, their advice — like putting off becoming a charge nurse — may not be beneficial to the career goals of aspiring nurse leaders.

2. Ask for opportunities. Younger nurses should not be afraid to ask their nurse manager or supervisor about departmental, unit-based or other leadership opportunities.

3. Focus on personal and professional development. The decisions nurses make in their personal lives can affect work performance. Therefore, new nurses must ensure they're developing both personal and professional skills to advance their career.

4. Don't wait to go back to school. Young nurses who go back to school to get their master's degree have the unique benefit of learning new skills and concurrently applying them to their daily work. "I know that going back to school early in my career helped [my] career greatly in the long run," Mr. Faust wrote.

5. Join a professional network. Joining a professional organization such as the American Organization of Nurse Executives is a great way for young nurses to learn more about the current issues and innovations related to their desired leadership position.

6. Hone your interview skills. Nurses must practice translating their job experiences into meaningful talking points during interviews. "No matter how senior you are in your career, perfecting the interview process is truly a lifelong process," Mr. Faust wrote.

7. Seek out constructive criticism. New nurses should find a colleague who can offer candid feedback about their performance in a constructive manner.

8. Don't shy away from confrontation. "Leaders cannot be afraid of confrontation," Mr. Faust said. "If you are paralyzed by the fear of confronting someone, you might not be fit for leadership."

9. Focus on what you don't know. Student nurses are often eager to show how much they know, but they should actually focus on showing how much they can learn on the job, according to Mr. Faust.

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