Networking provides a support system to build and grow productive relationships with like-minded people who can ultimately advance a social agenda or help a career flourish. In nursing leadership, access to a network of professionals facing similar challenges can save time and energy, the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) said.
Rose O. Sherman, RN and the editor-in-chief of AONE’s periodical Nurse Leader, also said the new generation of nurses should view networking as a personal investment in their career growth.
“Attendance at a professional meeting such as the AONE yearly conference is an ideal opportunity to network,” Sherman said. “Networking at a national conference can give you a better perspective on whether certain challenges are unique to your setting or more a national trend. You never know what new opportunities can open for you as a result of a conversation. Many young leaders have jump-started successful careers by getting involved on committees, participating in association projects and/or running for office.”
Indeed, registered nurses (RNs) who graduate from a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, including an online DNP program, should use all opportunities for DNP networking. Part of being an effective nurse manager is utilizing expertise and contacts for self-improvement and improved patient care and outcomes.
Professional Networking for Nurse Leadership
While many kinds of networks are available, Nursing.org said three types are the most fundamental:
Operational networks consist of colleagues, supervisors, managers and those who help nurses succeed in their day-to-day jobs.
Personal networks consist of friends, family members and acquaintances located outside of an operational network.
Strategic networks consist of nursing and healthcare professionals who aim to achieve a broad goal, such as changing policy or increasing access to healthcare.
Regardless of the path chosen, they all have common steps, Sherman and co-author Tanya M. Cohn, RN, said in “Why your nursing networks matter.”
The authors said the first step in networking is determining goals and identifying who can help to achieve them. Next, interact with those people or organizations to work toward the goal.
“If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, building a professional network might seem daunting or unclear,” the authors said in the American Nurse Today article. “Start by putting yourself out there in the nursing profession.”
The authors also suggested nurses always be prepared to network by remembering their objectives and keeping topics and talking points in mind. Attending nursing conferences or professional events is a great way to make face-to-face contacts.
Also, Nurse.org recommended joining organizations that align with career aspirations, either current or in the future. Attend formal and informal networking events, utilize virtual chats and message boards and use resources to make connections.
Tips for Networking
Sherman and Cohn, in the “Why your nursing networks matter” article, outlined tips for nurses to consider when networking:
Remember that networking takes time
Like any relationship, networking relationships build over time. Never reach out to a new professional acquaintance and immediately ask for support.
Craft a positive professional image
A positive professional image includes having an updated LinkedIn page, a professional email address and a polished voicemail greeting.
Build relationships by showing interest in others, asking about their careers, aspirations and personal lives.
Consider the long-term investment
Networking is a long-term commitment with an ongoing professional investment, so plan accordingly.
In addition, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in its landmark Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report, said several nursing associations have organized networks to facilitate opportunities for nurses and the profession. The associations include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National League for Nursing (NLN). The IOM supports networking for nurses to advance the profession and improve patient access to healthcare.
Nurse Leadership Networking
For nurses pursuing advanced degrees, networking helps with professional connections, career advancement and healthcare improvements. DNP networking puts professionals in contact with peers to make positive changes.
At Duquesne University, RNs enrolled in the online DNP program connect with healthcare professionals from around the United States. These connections can help develop networking opportunities.
About Duquesne University’s Online DNP Program
Since 1935, Duquesne University has been educating nurses to take leading roles in healthcare. University administrators, professors and staff work to ensure RNs receive the best DNP education to learn evidence-based skills and practices to improve health outcomes for patients. At the same time, students develop networks that assist in career and professional goals.
The DNP program coursework is 100% online, allowing RNs to work toward an advanced degree while continuing career and family responsibilities. For more information, visit the university’s online DNP program website.
Building a Professional Network: American Organization of Nurse Executives
Professional Networking in Nursing: Nursing.org
Why your nursing networks matter: American Nurse Today
Networking Tips to Advance Your Nursing Career: Nurse.org
The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health: Institute of Medicine