30 November 2020

How To Develop Your Nursing Career

When you first begin your career as a nurse, what are you planning for? What are your goals? You might not have any, and that’s fine; if you like what you are doing and can see yourself doing it for the rest of your life, then it’s good that you enjoy your work and can remain in a safe position forever.

However, you might want more. You might want a higher salary or more responsibility. You might want additional qualifications, such as a DNP. You might do this to challenge yourself, or to show others what you can do, or perhaps to reach your ultimate career goals. Whatever the reason, if you do want to develop throughout your nursing career, there are a number of steps you can put in place to do so. It’s good to start planning as early as possible, so you know you’re working in the right way and heading down the right path, so why not begin today? 

Look At Your Own Workplace 

Nurses shouldn’t just assume that, just because they have earned their DNP or other qualifications, they need to then begin looking elsewhere for work. If you are already working in a hospital, a clinic, a private setting, or anywhere else and you enjoy your place of work, then start there. This is a good idea for two reasons. 

The first reason to do this is that you will already be comfortable in that setting, and therefore, should you need to go to an interview for a position in a different department or in another area of nursing, you will automatically be more confident. This, plus a great resumé and your DNP, will help to make you stand out as an ideal candidate, and will give you much more chance of getting the job you want. 

The second reason is that there is a big emphasis on nurse retention in most hospitals. It is cheaper and easier to keep nurses who already work there than it is to lose a nurse who knows exactly how a particular hospital or department is run, and then have to hire a new one. Advertising, the time to interview new people, making sure they have the DNP that is required for the job, and so on, all takes time and money, which is lessened greatly if you can hire someone who is already working there. 

On a personal level, if you like where you work and are happy with your commuting time, with the hours, with the way it fits with your life, and with your friends and colleagues who work with you, it’s much less mentally challenging to stay in that familiar place—albeit working at a higher level—than it is to start again elsewhere. 

So, if you’re looking for career development opportunities, always start with where you are now. Ask around in departments you are interested in working in to see if there are any vacancies or any chances to switch, and your career can go from strength to strength without any disruption to the rest of your life. 

Use Your Benefits 

Depending on where you work and what your contract states, you might have some benefits that you can use to help develop your career. For example, your employer might offer all their nurses tuition time or even money towards gaining additional qualifications. After all, assuming the nurse earns their DNP and then stays at that hospital as mentioned above, it is an investment for the hospital to pay for training. Check out whether this applies to you, and if it does then make sure you use that benefit to your best advantage and develop your career further with it. 

These are not the only benefits that might be on offer. The hospital or other healthcare setting you work in might also allow its nurses time off to attend seminars and conferences, as long as these conferences help advance their knowledge in some way. If you want to go to a specific seminar then there is no harm in speaking to your manager about it. Prove to them that it will help you do your job better, or that the knowledge you gain will help the department work more smoothly, and they may well pay for you to go. 

There are so many different opportunities for nurses to enhance and develop their skills, knowledge base, and careers that you should always be on the lookout for these opportunities. Remember to put everything on your resumé, and by the time you are ready to use that document, you won’t have to try to remember everything that you have done, seen, and learnt. 

Become An Expert

As with any career, if you can position yourself as an expert in your field, you will have many more opportunities to advance your career. Plus, you are developing your knowledge and skills greatly simply by choosing to become an expert—the more you learn, the better you will become, so this is the kind of situation that will suit everyone. 

One of the best ways to become a true expert in a particular area is to specialize in it. Instead of being a general nurse who is able to do some of everything, you should look at becoming a specialist nurse who knows everything about one particular sector of nursing. Whether it’s working in the ER, nursing children, working with vulnerable patients, working in the community, being an OR assistant, or anything else—and there are dozens of different nursing career options to choose from—your DNP and your skills can help to point you in the right direction. Pick a sector that you are going to enjoy learning about and working in, and you can become an expert in it. 

When you are an expert, you will become an indispensable part of the team, and the career development opportunities that will open up to you will be immense. You might even become someone’s mentor or unofficial tutor. This may not have been in your initial plan, but it can definitely enhance your career and allow you to develop as a person as well as a nurse. 

Take On A Leadership Role 

If you want to use your DNP well then becoming any kind of leader in your nursing career is a good idea. There are many leadership roles you can take on that aren’t necessarily those you might think of. These could include being a nurse representative on committees and councils. When you take on a role like this, you will have a direct say in how processes are run, and how you would change the way procedures are carried out. This might be in terms of education, training, patient safety, procedure and policies, or even professional development. It could be anything that you find interesting and important.
  
When you volunteer for leadership roles, you are proving to those above you that you have the skills you need to move forward in your career. Not only that, but you will learn a huge amount and be able to supplement your DNP and other qualifications with real-life, hands-on experience that is like no other, and that will certainly help you to develop your role further. 

Share Your Knowledge 

When you are able to share your knowledge as a nurse, you are helping in all kinds of ways, including potentially developing your career (although this will depend on the route you take when it comes to sharing your knowledge). 

You might, for example, publish a paper in a nursing or medical journal. These publications are usually highly regarded, and if your name is attached to a paper that is impressive and perhaps even instigates any kind of change within the nursing profession, your career will be enhanced greatly. Rather than looking for positions yourself, employers will come to you with lucrative and exciting offers. Of course, this may not happen on the back of just one paper, so you will need to spend time developing a series of ideas and having them published. If you know that you can do this and that you are good at it, then it could be an ideal way to develop as a nurse. 

You can also create a blog and publish information there. This may be less in-depth than a full paper would be, so if you have less time or don’t necessarily have ambitions to become a published author as well as a nurse, this option could work out well for you. 

Set Goals 

It is difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to truly develop their career without having goals in mind. If you have a goal that you want to work towards, you will know just what opportunities are going to be beneficial and which ones are going to take you away from the path you should be working on. 

Before you can develop your career, in other words, you need to know what you are developing it into. In order to do this, you should research your career thoroughly and determine what it is that excites you the most. Once you know, you’ll also know that you need to start working towards. 

Setting goals to reach along the way is a good idea. You won’t feel quite so overwhelmed when the entire process is broken down into smaller, more manageable elements that you can reach one by one. You might not even realize quite how far you have come until you look back at what you have achieved, but this doesn’t matter as long as you have goals to reach and an end result in mind. 

Stretch Yourself 

The problem for many people is that they fall into their comfort zone and they stay there. Even if they feel slightly discontented, the idea of changing anything and moving forward in any way is much less appealing than remaining exactly where they are. 

If you’ve already gained a number of different nursing qualifications such as your DNP, then you’ll know that nursing takes hard work and dedication, and, if you want to enhance your career, you must step out of your comfort zone as soon as possible. It will be difficult, and that’s the point; most people won’t do it, but if you want to develop your career, you must. You must leave your comfort zone behind and truly stretch yourself. Try to do elements of the job you’ve never done before in terms of making yourself a better nurse—what is missing from your career right now, and how can you obtain it? 

Go Back To School 

Following on from the idea above, one of the best ways to stretch yourself and develop your career is to go back to school. You will absolutely be stepping out of your comfort zone because you will be in a new environment and you will be learning new skills. You might looking to enhance your current knowledge with a DNP, or you could decide you want to specialize and therefore you might choose a course that will help you do just that. The choice is yours, and there is a lot of choice so take the time to think carefully about what you are going to do. 

Of course, going back to school full time might actually be detrimental to your career, even if you have taken the time out to learn more and become a better nurse. Luckily, you can study online for a DNP or any other qualification. This means you don’t have to stop working in order to learn how to develop your nursing career, as you can work at a time that suits you and at your own pace. This flexible, convenient option is why so many nurses choose to study online. They don’t have to leave their work or start working part time, and neither do they have to be at a certain place at a certain time on a regular basis in order to learn, which can be hard when you work shifts.


29 November 2020

GCSE English Language at Christmas


GCSE English Language and Christmas? It allows teachers to approach the creative writing aspect of the course from a slightly different perspective. There is always a picture stimulus in the exams, but these images can be something of a chore to gather. These two sets of pictures, each containing 30 different Christmassy narrative or description writing prompts, can take the pain out the advent of numerous Google searches for them. 

Plus, they are all ethically sourced – all of the pictures have been made available by their creators, so there are no copyright issues to worry about either. 

Before I go on, you can find the links here:

If you are not in the know, in GCSE English students are given a picture and asked to create a narrative or descriptive response suggested by it. This comes right at the end of Paper 1 – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing: this is where the writing comes in! They have around 45 minutes (if they have timed the exam properly) in order to do this question. This may sound easy peasy but there are twelve things that examiners look for in the responses – and I won’t list them here but they are classified firstly under “Content and Organisation” which is how the response is structured, the language used in it (and so on!). The second is “Technical Accuracy” which, very broadly speaking is spelling and grammar. 

I hope that these two packs of pictures will enable teachers to have a ready-made selection of Christmas-focused pictures to give a class a certain theme and to draw even the most reluctant learner into the story-making process. As such the pictures differ in tone and composition so the right picture can be chosen for the right student! 



Each question is formatted so that it includes the picture and the question on a single A4 sheet -  you can see an example above. In this way, learners can keep it next to them on their desk while working through their story – they don’t have to keep flapping back and forth. I have included PDFs of the sets and also a file with just the pictures (with each source credited) if picture-only is the preferred method – that is, without the question. 

I have used both sets with my students and they do like them!

28 November 2020

What's Inside a Black Hole?


This animated short was created by Beakus for the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  It asks the question – what’s inside a black hole?

It answers (in language specifically designed for a young audience) where black holes come from and how we know they are actually out there, not to mention what would happen if someone got near one…

Maramures Hyperlapse


Never heard of Maramures?  It’s an isolated region of Romania: effectively a valley, it is surrounded by the Carpathian mountains and was difficult to get to for many centuries.  As such it developed its own style of rural architecture which is quite amazing.  Home to some of Romania’s historic wooden churches not to mention the Merry Cemetery, Maramures is an intriguing, beautiful place as this hyperlapse shows.

The Ant-Mimicking Treehopper

This is not a photograph of a pair of ants attacking some harmless bugs.  They are, in fact, the ant-mimicking treehopper (Cyphonia clavata) which keeps itself safe from predators by mimicking an ant.  What looks like an ant here are actually extension growths on its body.  Fascinating enough you might think, but these appendages only developed due to a freak of evolution which is incredibly rare in the insect world.  Read more about it over at the Ark in Space.

Image Credit Andreas Kay

Constantine: Algeria’s City of Bridges

Town planners today might not automatically choose a plateau 2,100 feet above sea level upon which to situate an urban development.  Times change, but over 2,000 years ago when Algeria’s third largest city, Constantine, was founded, this place, framed by a dizzying ravine, was ideal for defensive purposes.  Later, as the city prospered, it became known as the City of Bridges.

Ashes to Ashes


The Grim Reaper never had an easy time of it, what with his unrelenting schedule and punishing hours (that would be twenty four a day).  So, what happens if his latest ‘job’ turns out to be nothing less than a phoenix?  Find out what the ultimate bringer of death does with something which refuses to remain dead in this entertaining animated short by a group of six students at Georg-Simon-Ohm University in Nuremberg, Germany.

22 November 2020

How the Ancient Greeks Shaped Modern Mathematics


Number 536 in our What did the Greeks ever do for us? series.  Here, we take mathematics (thanks to 12foot6 and the Royal Institution.  It may blow away a few cobwebs for you if you don’t engage (consciously) with math on a daily basis with lots of great, pithy facts about dead Greek guys such as Pythagoras and Archimedes.  Sounds a bit dry? Take a look – it’s great fun.

Sail Away


This is marvelous – especially if you have enjoyed the works of Robert Louis Stevenson. As a young boy Stevenson was beset by ill health, so much so that his nurse fondly called him Smout, which is a Scottish word for the runt of the litter. This particular runt, however, was not averse to flights of the imagination and here, thanks to five students of ESMA in Toulouse, France, we can witness one of them. Wonderful!

Dance With Me


Dance With Me offers us snapshots of a relationship, beautifully transitioned to give us a sense of the dynamic between the couple.

Written and Directed by Cristina Molino, Dance With Me is a Think Mol & BalletBoyz film for the UK's Channel 4 UK in association with Arts Council England.  It is exquisite, elegant and elegiac.

Donny the Drone (Starring Guy Pearce)


Featuring the voice of Guy Pearce, Donny the Drone is an interesting short film about a drone which, when fate intervenes, gains self-awareness. Directed by Mackenzie Sheppard and written by Andrew 'Oyl' Miller it focuses in on the moment that Donny receives the “Person of the Year” award and is given an opportunity to tell his story. I’m going to leave the philosophy to you but I found this an interesting take on the nature of humanity and the occasionally fine line between altruism and megalomania.

19 November 2020

Fly Geyser – Not Quite of this World

They look as if they were taken on another planet, or at least on the set of a new and very expensive science fiction movie. Yet these pictures are of the Fly Geyser which is very much of planet earth (Nevada, US to be exact). However – and herein lies the surprise – it is effectively man made.

15 November 2020

Lila


Hankies out. This is one of the most charming short films I have seen in a while and if this doesn’t bring a tear of joy to your eye then I am afraid nothing will! Lila is a young woman who helps people through her art, in a way you might not quite expect. At its heart I think Lila (written, animated and directed by Carlos Lascano) is a single extended visual metaphor about how individuals can help others through small acts of kindness. Hankies at the ready? Then press play…

The Pop-up Book of the Brain


The brain was misunderstood, side-tracked or ignored for centuries for a number of reasons.  Yet how did the knowledge we have of this, our most important organ, evolve and shape?

Directed by Åsa Lucander, this great animation was created for the BBC’s Science Club as part of a series to both educate and entertain. It does both wonderfully.

The Island Dwellers


I am not sure quite how to describe The Island Dwellers but I have to add right away that it had quite an impact on me.  It is a history, as it were, of three creative souls who are sustained and inspired by nature, represented here by the sun and her daily cycle through the heavens. Yet when life is so interdependent, what happens when change comes?

Written, directed and animated by Christina Moliterno, watch this significant piece of film-making right to the end or you will miss the final piece of the jigsaw. It's the kind of ooooh moment you got at the end of the original Planet of the Apes.  Watch it and you will see what I mean!

Sahara el Beyda: The White Desert of Egypt

The word sahara means desert in Arabic so when you hear the name Sahara el Beyda you could be forgiven that it means one thing – sand, sand and more sand.  Yet the sight of Egypt’s Sahara el Beyda belies the traditional way one imagines a desert.  Are those icebergs on the horizon?

How Do Cranberries Grow?


One of the few intensively farmed indigenous fruits in the US, the cranberry outranks almost every other fruit and vegetable for anti-oxidants.  However, many people think that cranberries grow under water but that isn’t the case at all!  Here the good people at How Does it Grow? give us some cranberry secrets and explode one or two myths about this marvelous fruit at the same time (plus there is a killer recipe for cranberry sauce in the video!).

7 November 2020

Frost on Glass: Ice Flower Art

When a pane of glass is exposed to very cold air on the outside while inside the air is reasonably moist, frost can form.  Known as ice flowers or fern frost, it is remarkable for the intricate patterns it creates.  The surface of the glass influences the way that the ice is formed so that the first process of crystallization, known as nucleation, is randomized.  The patterns, then, are almost infinite in variety.  Science aside, ice flowers are a source of wonder, things of elegance and beauty.  They are nature’s art at its most exquisite.

1 November 2020

Take a Stroll in Paris with Two Top Ballet Dancers


…and when you do, it’s not quite like any usual promenade through the streets of the French capital.  San Francisco Ballet dancers Kimberly Braylock and Anthony Spaulding display a certain joie de vivre and are obviously very happy to be there in this short by Calvin Walker.  Parisians as usual refuse point blank to be nonplussed by anything but they do manage to attract the curiosity of a very excitable little dog if you watch carefully!

Mont Saint-Michel as Seen by a Drone is Amazing


More than 3 million people visit Mont Saint-Michel each year yet none have seen it quite like this.  The island in Normandy, France is famous for the magnificent abbey which overlooks the town below.  It’s a stunning sight but this video by Freeway Productions goes one step further.  Using a NHK Tokyo drone their team captured Mont Saint-Michel in a way that has never been done before.  You even get close up and personal with the golden statue of Saint Michel at the very top of the abbey’s spire.  Simply amazing.

The Devil in the Cathedral: the Lucifer of Liège

Cathédrale Saint-Paul (Liège 2017)

The Cathedral of Saint Paul in the Belgian city of Liège was founded in the tenth century.  As one might expect from a Catholic place of worship it is full of representations of the men and women from the history – Biblical and otherwise – of Christianity.  Yet as the pulpit is approached, a striking white marble sculpture arrests the eye: a beautiful young man in an agony of thought. Which venerable icon of the church might this be?  A martyr? A disciple? Or even an angel? It is the latter but this angel is notorious, despised, fallen. It transpires that there is a sinner – and a significant one at that - in the midst of the saints.

The Lucifer of Liège

Checkout


If a parent has ever left you in the supermarket checkout queue then you will almost certainly have a lot of sympathy for young Jacob’s predicament.  When dad goes looking for paper towels, Jason and the groceries edge ever closer to the payment point – and the closer he gets the more his imagination goes in to overdrive. Checkout was written, directed and rather joyfully edited by Jared Rosenthal.
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