Building Your Nursing Career Starts with Networking in Nursing

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Networking in nursing is valuable throughout your career. Networking helps build a solid community to support you in your career and help others in theirs, while providing job opportunities and skill development. Your nursing clinicals also give you a head start to practice networking and job interviewing with healthcare peers.

Nurse working on computer

You may already know that a nursing career requires critical thinking skills, communication, empathy and compassion, but another skill you should pay attention to is networking.

Networking skills are essential in health care professions. In fact, according to Zippia, 85% of job leads come from people in your personal or professional network. Effective networking can expand your nursing skills, strengthen your support system, and lead to potential job leads.

Recognizing the importance of networking in nursing starts in nursing school. As a student in Pacific Lutheran University's Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, you'll have numerous opportunities to start building your nursing network in our 16-month program near Seattle, Washington.

Read on to learn networking benefits, tips for effective networking in nursing, and how to use your nursing school experiences to build your professional network.

Benefits of Networking for Nurses

Networking in nursing offers numerous benefits. Firstly, it fosters professional growth by connecting nurses with mentors and colleagues, creating opportunities for skill development.

Secondly, networking enhances career prospects by opening doors to job opportunities, promotions and career advancement. It can help nurses gain diverse perspectives and insights, improving their problem-solving abilities and patient care.

Moreover, networking builds a support system, allowing nurses to share challenges and successes, reduce feelings of isolation and promote emotional well-being. It can also lead to collaboration on research projects or policy initiatives, advancing the nursing profession.

Networking empowers nurses to take control of their careers, stay informed of current best practices and new policies, and positively impact patient care and health care systems.

Nurses gathered around manikin

Networking is just one of the skills you will need as a nurse. Read more to learn nine other necessary nursing skills.

6 Tips for Networking as a Nurse

When most people think of networking, they think only of in-person meet-and-greet events. Face-to-face networking is a meaningful way to network with other nurses and health care professionals, but online and virtual options can also open additional pathways for networking in nursing.

Below are six tips to enhance your professional development and career opportunities and expand your nursing network.

1. Online Networking

The internet has vastly expanded opportunities to connect with people beyond your local community into national and even international circles. Professional platforms like LinkedIn and nursing-specific forums like achieve two things: expand your possible connections and narrow your industry. These platforms offer a much broader scope of opportunity than networking in a traditional workplace.

When you create a nursing profile and connect with other health care professionals, you can reach a specific group of peers and more of them. Connecting online also allows you to participate in numerous discussion groups and learn about virtual events you might not have known about.

woman sitting at desk using laptop

2. Attend Conferences, Workshops and Webinars

While networking may be accomplished online, things like your personality, empathy and charisma can be lost in digital exchanges. There is still something unique and special about connecting face-to-face with nurses and fellow health care professionals. Nursing conferences and workshops provide opportunities to make meaningful connections with other professionals, learn about the latest advancements and exchange ideas. Meeting people in person helps establish trust and credibility.

If you are looking for opportunities to attend these events, start by seeking out nurse educators in your nursing program who might have resources for you to utilize. Search online for conferences in your area that might be useful to you. Many webinars and online learning opportunities can be found at the click of a button.

3. Join Professional Associations

Nurses can connect with peers by becoming members of nursing organizations, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA), the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), or the International Council of Nurses (ICN). These associations often offer networking events, conferences and online forums; some may include local chapters you can join in your community. Joining professional organizations often gives you access to professional magazines, journals, the latest research, meetings and events happening in the nursing world.

4. Nursing School Alumni Networks

Even though you didn't attend school together, the nursing classes before you might have done something trailblazing that might help your career. You never know what amazing things your previous alumni have done since graduating that might help you expand your network. An added benefit is that you will have shared experiences and values as those who attended the same nursing school. Utilizing alumni networks from your time at Pacific Lutheran University can be a valuable resource for networking, mentoring and accessing job opportunities.

PLU ABSN students looking at IV

5. Volunteering and Community Engagement

Whether health care-related or not, involvement in volunteer work or community events can help nurses network while giving back to the community and showcasing their skills. You can work alongside other professionals, demonstrate your abilities, build relationships, and express relevant interests. You'll get additional time to practice your nursing skills that you may not have in the skills and simulation labs. Volunteer opportunities may include helping with local health department vaccine clinics or minor injury care in the medical tent at a marathon. You'll likely meet other health care professionals who like to give back to their community.

6. Connect with Coworkers

Don't discount networking connections with your coworkers as well. Effective networking can lead to career growth, knowledge exchange and a supportive professional community for nurses seeking to excel in their field or pursue further education, such as a nurse practitioner degree.

nurses with clipboards

Becoming a nurse practitioner is one of the ways you can advance your career. Read more to learn how to become a nurse practitioner.

Maximize Your 16-Month Job Interview

Nursing clinicals are often the most exciting part of nursing school. Clinicals are where you get to put your nursing theory and clinical skills to the test. But nursing clinicals should also be viewed like a 16-month job interview. Each day during nursing clinicals, you can meet someone to show you a new skill, inform you of a job opening or introduce you to their network and help you achieve your career goals.

Here are some ways you can stand out during your nursing clinicals to make a strong impression and gain valuable experience:

Research the Clinical Setting

Look for information about the health care facility where you will be placed, such as its mission, vision, values and the types of patients served. Familiarize yourself with the unit's specific policies and procedures. This knowledge will demonstrate your dedication and professionalism to the clinical staff and instructors.

Professional Appearance and Demeanor

Dress professionally in your nursing uniform and maintain a clean appearance. Practice your communication skills, both with patients and colleagues. Always be on time and reliable, and approach each clinical day with a positive attitude. Displaying professionalism and respect will leave a lasting impression.

Clinical Preparation

Prioritize clinical preparation by reviewing relevant patient cases, medications, and care plans. Focus on strong critical thinking skills to provide safe and effective patient care. Ask questions and seek guidance when needed, showing your commitment to learning and improving. Keep organized clinical notes and documentation, emphasizing attention to detail and accuracy.

By approaching nursing clinicals as a job interview, you will excel academically and build a strong foundation for your future nursing career.

Your Nurse Network is a Chance to Give Back

PLU ABSN students looking at IV in simulation lab

Networking can help you advance your career or learn a new skill, but at some point, you may be able to help other nurses by sharing your network. Just as your connections may help you, you never know when you can help connect someone in your network with the right people. Building a solid nursing network is another way to give back to the nursing profession.

Whether it is a job lead, skills development or building your support system, networking in nursing is vital to a long and successful nursing career.

A Strong Nursing Network Expands Opportunities

Remember the importance of networking in nursing throughout your career. Building your nursing network with your classmates, professors, and mentors during nursing school can help you find job opportunities tomorrow. You never know when someone you meet today might later help connect you to the next great job move, teach you new nursing skills or be a resource when you need help.

Start practicing your networking skills as an ABSN student through Pacific Lutheran University's accelerated BSN program near Seattle, Washington. Through our ABSN, you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing in as few as 16 months and prepare for a rewarding and exciting nursing career.

Contact an admission counselor at Pacific Lutheran University today to learn more about our ABSN program.