Boost your career trajectory
The right plan and tools will help you carve out a successful career.
Tips on how to change jobs
When you're ready for a new career direction make a flight plan first.
Salaries on the upswing
Find out how your salary compares to RNs across the country.
Legally protect your practice
Know the tools you need to protect your license from potential liability.
Learn how to keep the peace
Conflict management isn't easy, but it's worth the time and effort.
Make 3 mammoth decisions
Choose your goal and platform before heading back to school.
Job satisfaction study
RNs reveal how they really feel about their jobs.
Job search like a pro
Become a savvy job seeker by following these guidelines.
5 tips for job interviews
Make a memorable first impression at your next interview.
Create a winning resume
Jump ahead of the competition with a top-notch resume.
FREE CE: Become empowered
Learn how to gain a greater voice at your organization.
Avoid turbulent travel nursing
Seek advice on travel contracts before signing on the dotted line.
Is travel nursing for you?
If you have an adventurous spirit, you might like this specialty.
Get to the heart of bioethics
Big ethical decisions have a way of influencing all aspects of RNs' lives.
CE COURSE: Terminal degrees
PhD, EdD, DNP — which one should you pursue?
Get on boards when job hunting
Nursing job boards can help you find the perfect job.
Speak their language
Bilingual nurses are in demand by recruiters.
Engaging millennials
Nurse leaders are finding ways to retain younger nurses.
Healthcare in the outlands
Rural areas seek nurses willing to make the move.
Continuing education catalog
Read this list of CE modules geared toward your professional growth.
CE COURSE: Precepting
Find out why preceptors are critical to the nursing profession.
Protect against retaliation
Nurse attorney discusses your discrimination rights on the job.
How to Navigate
Move forward or backward between articles by clicking the arrows.
Click or tap to bring up the Table of Contents.
Share articles by clicking on one of the social media icons in the upper right corner of the page.
Use your mouse wheel, keyboard arrow keys, or scroll bar to move up and down in an article.
Boost your nursing career trajectory
The right plan and tools will help you carve out a successful career
© 2021 from Relias. All rights reserved.
By Robert G. Hess Jr.
PhD, RN, FAAN Executive vice president and chief nursing executive
I’m in the big room now, wired for audiovisual. I have four techs for support. My back-to-back sessions may have 1,000 participants. The demand is high because I’m speaking about how to find the right job for the 15th time at the National Student Nurses’ Association’s annual conference.

Attendees are exceptional nursing students, the kind who come up to me and ask heady questions such as,
“How do I become a nursing leader?”
But after graduation, it comes down to a question that’s on the mind of nurses throughout their professional lives, “How do I get the right job?” Assuming you have researched and found what you believe is
the job for you
, there are things you can do to increase your chance of getting it, regardless of how long you have been a nurse. The job market is flooded with equally qualified candidates, so you need to sell yourself as the one special nurse who is uniquely suited for that position.

Remember, organizations that have a job opening have a problem, a vacancy that represents work not being done. If you market yourself as a product that represents the solution, you have a better shot at success. But what makes a good product?
As nurses, we all have basic education that allowed us to become licensed. However, the most successful job candidates have supplemented their entry-level program with further formal and continuing education and certifications. Plan for lifelong formal credentialing, and you give yourself a leg up on competing nurses who haven’t. If you don’t have the resources right now to enter graduate school, make sure you’re certified in your specialty. has
certification courses
that help you prepare for every conceivable specialty examination. You also can count on to stay abreast of emerging specialties.
Nurses need to be rock solid in their credentials, experience and expertise. You must be able to deliver on what you say you have, so people can depend on you, whether you are a new or seasoned professional.
Fair or not, people evaluate products not only through their own use but also through word of mouth from others. Always do your best and know that others are watching. You need good references, not burnt bridges. You should be mindful of your reputation; it will follow you around like a vengeful devil or a guardian angel. It’s your creation.
Once you have developed yourself into a desirable product, you need to make yourself available. Make sure your email address and phone number are accurate and reliable, and your voicemail message is polished and professional. Be ready to respond within 24 hours to employer queries. If you’re going away for an extended time, be sure to reflect that in your email and phone messages.
Methods for nurses seeking a job haven’t changed, but some of the traditional tools have. Tips on resumes,
interview techniques
job boards
and emerging specialties are all discussed within this career guide, as well as what the nursing job market and salaries look like today. You’ll also find referrals to online sources that can help keep you in charge of your career path.

Learn how to apply innovations to enhance your status as that special nurse whom organizations are seeking. Once you have satisfied the product basics listed above, you can devote your time to making yourself stand out among your colleagues. In the months ahead, I will be writing the careers blog devoted to just that.

to read my perspective on building successful nursing careers.

Check out all our Digital Editions
Read More
Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, is OnCourse Learning's executive vice president and chief clinical executive, and founder and CEO of the Forum for Shared Governance. As an editor for, Hess has penned several editorials on career topics. As a presenter at professional conferences, Hess often addresses participants on how to find the right job and steps for building a successful career.