I am often asked by young nurses with plans and hopes for their future – how can I really stand out and get noticed in my organization? This is a very good question to consider especially in large health systems with many employees or if you regularly work a night tour. When opportunities become available for advancement, you want to be someone that the nurse leaders in your organization think about as a great candidate. Getting noticed is not about self-promotion. It is recognition for the work that you do, for being a team player, for your professionalism and for going that extra mile.
10 Tips to Get Noticed at Work
1. Look Professional
First impressions do count if you want to get noticed. Professional dress and being well groomed matter in creating a good image. When nurse leaders see nurses with wrinkled scrubs and dirty shoes, the impression is generally not favorable. You want to remembered as someone who will be a good candidate to represent the organization.
2. Stay Updated
It is important to stay updated by reading professional journals and attending educational programs. Be a “go to person” for new information in your specialty area. In addition to staying updated clinically, pay attention to the news and what is happening with health policy. Think about how proposed changes in health reforem could impact your organization and share your knowledge with other staff. Recognize that health care is also a business and become knowledgeable about the business of caring.
3. Take Leadership Roles
Take leadership roles at the unit level. They can be small but it is a great way to get started. Volunteer to take a leadership role on a unit shared-governance committee. Take charge when you have the opportunity. This is an excellent way to connect with other staff and leaders in your organization.
4. Volunteer for Task Forces and Committees
Volunteer for organizational committees and taskforces even if it does mean coming in on your day off to participate. Leaders do notice when a staff member is committed enough to an organization that they are willing to give back some of their personal time to be involved in activities.
5. Participate in Organization Sponsored Community Activities
Join the heart walk team, the breast cancer walk, the march of dimes or other teams your organization may put together to support the community. Get others on your unit to join you. You will find that organizational leaders participate in these activities and it can be a great way to introduce yourself in an informal setting and meet many new people.
6. Attend Staff Town Hall Meetings
Go to meetings that senior leadership hold for staff and carefully listen to what is being said. Represent your unit and manager in a very positive light by asking good questions. Very often, these meetings are held and few staff attend unless there are major announcements.
7. Be Professionally Involved
Join a professional nursing association and attend the local meeting. You will probably meet staff and leaders from your organization that you might not interact with in other forums. Local professional associations are always looking for members who are willing to assume some leadership responsibilities. This can be a good way to gain recognition by holding office in a local association.
8. Introduce Yourself to Leaders Visiting your Area
So often when organizational leaders visit nursing units, staff avoid them. There is nothing that makes a better impression than walking up with a smile on your face, introducing yourself and asking how you can help them. Even on the busiest day, this will take very little time. Senior nurse leaders enjoy being invited by staff to work a day with them on the unit if they ever have a chance
9. Serve as a Preceptor and Cheerleader to other Staff
Be ready to share your skills and knowledge with others. Sharing and volunteering to be a preceptor can be a great way to get noticed. Your manager will appreciate your willingness to be a strong team player. Be the first to congratulate others for their achievements and be the person who helps create a healthy work environment on your unit.
10. Keep your Commitments
I once asked a great nursing leader what he attributed his success to. He told me that he did what he said he was going to do when he said he was going to do it. This will get you noticed he assured me because so few people actually keep their commitments. This is really great advice. If you volunteer, be sure to follow through.
Will others feel jealous or threatened if you do get noticed in your organization and are identified as an emerging leader? This could happen despite your best efforts to be both a valued team member and supportive of others. There is a great quote about leadership to keep in mind if this happens…..“if not you then who, if not now then when”.