Nurse to Nurse: Nursing’s Top Leaders Share Their Best Career Advice

Nurse to Nurse: Nursing’s Top Leaders Share Their Best Career Advice

If you’re just starting your nursing career, you already know how valuable it is to have a veteran nurse take you under his or her wing to show you the ins and outs of the profession. But, how great would it be if you could pick the brain of the nation’s leading nursing professionals to get their best advice on building a successful career?

Say no more! recently polled 30 influential nursing leaders to get their best career advice. Here’s a quick overview of what some of them said:


1. Let Your Voice Be Heard

“Don’t be afraid to speak up. Whether it is because you don’t know something, see something that makes you uncomfortable or have a fresh “outsider’s” eye for something that can be improved. When nurses lend their voice to their colleagues, it is powerful beyond measure.”

Clareen Wiencek, PhD, RN, ACHPN, ACNP

President, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)


2. Compassion is Key

“As nurses, we never fully know what patients or their families are thinking; so empathy, compassion, and respect are so important in times of distress. Treat patients and their families as your own, and never treat a patient as though they are just a number on a chart. Communicate clearly and compassionately with them, and remember that “listening” is 50% of open and interpersonal communication.”

Georgia Elmassian, MSN, MA, APRN, CPSN, CFLE

President, International Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Nurses (ISPAN)


3. Be a Lifelong Learner

“The best advice I can give to any new nurse is to never stop learning. Technology and the profession continues to grow and expand. You are the resource for the lives you touch. To be the most effective and greatest resource for each patient is to keep your knowledge fresh. Even if your state doesn’t require continuing education to renew your license, please challenge yourself to obtain the specialty certification in your area or areas of specialization. When you do, your profession transforms into your passion. When it becomes your passion, the term ‘job’ transitions to ‘joy’. I wish you a long career filled with joy.”


Board of Directors, American Association of Managed Care Nurses (AAMCN)


4. Explore the Profession’s Many Opportunities

“Be aware of the varied career possibilities that will enable you to best use your unique passion and gifts, whether it is at the bedside, home or community, or as a teacher or researcher, and eventually in board rooms and in political offices.”

Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN

Senior Adviser for Nursing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)


5. Network, Network, Network

“If you have a specific problem, most likely one of your colleagues have run across that problem too and through networking with your peers you can find an answer to your ‘problem’, and by the way this also helps reduce turnover!”


Executive Director, Nursing Administration in Long Term Care (NADONA)

To read all the advice shared by nursing’s top leaders, check out the full article here.