Working as a nurse in the National Health Service is one of the most rewarding ways to earn a living, and it takes a special kind of person to give so much of themselves for the benefit of others every day. There is no denying that a career in healthcare takes hard work and determination, but it can also provide plenty of opportunities for progression, as well as personal and professional development. The key is to know how to keep your career moving to the next stage, and that requires a proactive attitude.

This guide will outline how nurses can build a successful career with the National Health Service.

Professionalism and ethical conduct

To maximise your chances of professional progression, first and foremost, you need to maintain a professional attitude towards your patients, colleagues, and superiors at all times. From turning up on time and wearing a correct, clean and smart NHS Nurse Uniform every day to ensuring your conduct is always ethical and medically accurate, you need to build up a stellar reputation.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

It is essential that all nurses and medical professionals continue to refresh and advance their training. New medications and treatments are being developed all the time, and it is not possible to continue to work in healthcare if you are not up to date. This is why you must invest in continuing professional development or CPD. Through your CPD you will encounter new skills and knowledge which could lead to new specialities or career paths.

Raise your profile

While your career should be built on your skills and knowledge, it does not hurt to raise your profile and ensure that you are well-known in your organisation and the healthcare sector in general. Networking is an essential skill for ambitious nurses so consider joining a nursing association that organises networking events.

Further your education

Nurses with a higher level of education have a wider choice of career paths and can earn significantly higher salaries if they choose to enter management. Consider taking your nursing diploma to the next level via a degree course such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, by studying for a Master of Science in Nursing. You may be able to study for your degree online in your free time, enabling you to continue working.

Make the most of your appraisals

You should have regular appraisals with your supervisor, and it is important to use these appraisals to your advantage and not as a box-ticking exercise. Appraisals should identify your strengths, but also where you could improve your performance. By taking constructive feedback on board to improve yourself, you will show that you are committed to improvement. You should also ask about new training courses that could benefit both you and the wider team. If you feel comfortable, you should share your career goals with your superior as they may be able to advise you as to how to realise your ambitions.