Think About These 5 Things Before You Decide On A Specialization

Now that you’re a registered nurse, what’s next? You’ve completed nursing school, gone on to work a few years and have gained experience in some wards. You decide that you want to pursue a specialization, for their multiple career growth benefits. Or maybe it’s for the higher salary that you have the potential to earn as a specialized nurse.

But hold your horses. While the benefits can be very enticing, choosing a specialization demands time, energy, and finances that you must be willing to sacrifice for a set period of time. You might not even see immediate benefits; they might come later in your career.

Still interested? Good. The nation needs more nurses like you. Ambitious nurses who are passionate about developing themselves and striving towards self-improvement. Here are five things your should consider before choosing your nursing specialty.

1. What Is Your Motivation To Pursue This Specialty?

What do you want to achieve by becoming a renal nurse? A perioperative nurse? A geriatric nurse?

You need to know what is exactly the reason for your interest in the specialty field of your choice. You want to help others? Is money a motivating factor? These are all acceptable reasons. If you are thinking of pursuing a specialization because of a family member or friend’s influence, that is fine, as long as your goals and objectives are in line with theirs.

Ultimately you are the one who has to go through and live with the decision. Knowing what motivates you will help you stay focused and succeed later, even through trying times.

2. How Are You Going to Obtain the Education and Training Needed for Your Specialization?

You should research a bit about the diplomas, post-basic certifications, degrees, and training courses that are required for the specialty you wish to take.

You can read up our guide to career advancement for nurses here.

Being a high-level nurse is a remarkable investment of money and time. It would be wise for you to think out how to pay for your education, and balance doing that with completing the required coursework.

If you have only a diploma in nursing and need to obtain your BSN degree from an expensive institution, a bit of planning ahead can help you save up for tuition fees. Some universities offer financial assistance that you can take advantage of.

Read here for our article on how to increase your income as a nurse. Every little increase in salary helps over time. It could mean the difference in you being able to take that course next year, or in two more years.

3. Does This Specialization Fit Your Strengths And Personality?

Not good around kids? Finding it hard to connect with younger patients? Then don’t take up paediatric nursing.

Are you a high-energy, challenge-seeking nurse that likes difficult situations? Or do you love to be in a more stable setting, working one day at a time, employing your full focus on things that matter? Are you an introvert? Extrovert?

Each specialization requires different skillsets and personality traits. Consider this well and evaluate how the work would mesh with your personality.

4. How Will This Impact Your Family And Personal Life?

Think wisely and carefully about this. Consider how your family might be affected if you have to work nights, weekends, or on call. Some courses are done at night after work.

Some employers do not grant study leave to their nurses. Think about how your family might be financially impacted if you were to quit your current job in order to study.

It is imperative you give it some thought now before you make the leap into your specialization.

5. Where Do You Want To Work?

Based on your working experiences, where do you think you’d like to work? Most importantly, which type of environment would you be most comfortable, and most successful?

If working conditions at hospitals are too hectic and large, then specializing as a cardiac nurse in cardiology would not be a good idea. Maybe you’d like to work more regular hours, in a small nursing center. Specializing in nephrology to become a renal/dialysis nurse would be a great idea. Some would also opt to practice nursing independently, doing house calls. A specialization in home care would be the best course of action.

Do you want to work near where you live? Or are you willing to move to another city for better prospects? Don’t limit yourself! Nurses are still needed at places you wouldn’t normally think of, like military bases or schools.

To get an idea of what nursing jobs are available in the area you wish to work in, check out our job portal, MIMS Career. Search for nursing jobs across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. New jobs and vacancies are being updated every day. Browse through our extensive database, and apply with our convenient 1-click process.



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 Résumé’s (also known as CVs) are great. They sumarize your experiences onto a few pages so your employer can quickly get a sense of who you are before hiring you. However, employers have to go through a lot of résumés in their search for a potential hire, so making a great résumé can result in a good first impression. 

 Traditionally, résumés have been blocky, information-dense pieces of paper that you send out to employers you’re checking out. With the advancements in personal computing, software and printing, people have been more and more creative with how they craft their résumé’s. 

 The more traditional approach can look more professional and neat, but a creative approach can often help you stand out from the crowd. Choose a method that best presents you in a positive light. 

 Before you write your résumé 

 Before you write down your résumé, sit down and take note of what you’ve done. Any interesting projects taken? Achievements? List it down. 

 Also verify the dates of your education background. It can be easy to forget, especially if you’ve left your academic studies for a long time. Also try and find out the full course or programme names of your certificates, degrees, doctorates. 

 Doing great things lead to a great résumé. Take up as many opportunities as possible that can be put on a résumé, like volunteer work, teaching, skills training, etc. 

 The traditional approach 

 Easy way: Use a predefined template from Word, Pages, or Docs. 

  Tools needed: A PC, tablet, or smartphone.  

 This is as simple as it gets: 

 
	 Open the word processor, and select from the list of templates given. 
	 You can add, remove, or move around certain sections which do not pertain to you. 
	 For example, for a fresh graduate, your education background would come above your work experience because the former is more important at that stage of life. Vice versa for those already working. 
	 Want more templates? Check out  https://r  ésumégenius.com/résumé-templates . 
 

 Normal way: Build it from scratch. 

  Tools needed: PC, tablet, smartphone. Word editing software needed.  

 Building your résumé from scratch allows you to customize every single aspect of that you can present to your future employer. 

 Start by writing down your info. Be concise, truthful, and accurate. 

 Then  add your work experience , or educational background. As previously mentioned, this depends on whether you’re still studying or have already worked. Put it in reverse-chonological order; meaning the latest job first, and the first job last. Same with education. 

  Add in your skills.  It helps employers a lot if you could put in the degree of proficiency. To keep it simple, just rate it from 1-5. For example, ANSYS = ⅘ , SolidWorks = ⅗, verbal communication ⅗, and so on. Some skills to add include software (ANSYS, SPSS), or equipment handling (telemetry, ECG, cardiographs). 

  Don’t forget to add in your language ability.  When working in sectors like healthcare, where you deal with a diverse set of people (especially in multi-cultural Malaysia!) it helps to be bi- or trilingual. Employers love that. 

 Now that you’ve added all you have to add, start by styling the text appropriately. A good rule to follow is to enlarge each point by a few titles, then bold it, so the reader can quickly skim through your résumé. 

  Ensure there is enough spacing.  Think of whitespace as breathing room. You want your text to be able to breathe in order to be legible. A cramped document is not fun to read. 

 Add in the headers and footers. A good use of headers would be your  name and contact number , in 9-pt font. Employers often put your résumé in a stack, and putting something to identify you there would help a great deal. You can put a page number on the footer for continuity purposes. 

 View over the entire document. Ensure the margins are properly aligned. Is the font legible? Clear? Then head over to save and print it out. You’re done! 

 The creative approach 

 With easy application processes from job portals like MIMS Career, employers now are as equally likely to read your résumé in a digital format, on a screen. 

 This allows for some creativity, as current screens can now reproduce millions of colors, in different shapes and sizes. 

 Remember not to overdo a creative design; keep it subtle, keep it clean, and keep the information legible. 

 Easy way: Use an online résumé builder. 

  Tools needed: PC, with keyboard and mouse recommended. An internet connection is important.  

 My favorite résumé builder is, by far,  Novorésumé . 

 Very intuitive controls. A good degree of customization available. 

 Their presets are killer design. They’ve matched out complementary colors in each of their templates so you don’t have to. They’re all subtle, yet sophisticated. Clean, yet intricate. 

 It’s also multi-lingual, so you can craft your Bahasa Malaysia résumé in it as well. 

 Have a look at Elon Musk’s résumé, generated by Novorésumé. It’s simple, packed, and most importantly, eye-catching. It already looks superior compared to a lot of the résumés we have seen. It also proves that you don’t need many pages to list down your info, despite being one of the world’s most successful visionaries. 

   

 There are also other résumé builders online:  Reed  is one of them. Just do a Google search, you’ll eventually find out with layouts or usability that you really like. 

 The Normal way: Design it yourself! 

  Tools: PC, Keyboard + Mouse, Drawing tablets optional, PhotoShop/Illustrator/Any online sketching tool.  

 To do this, you might need some additional skills with illustration software. 

 The idea is to create a layout that draws attention but doesn’t compromise on information legibility. 

 You can have a look at great designs from dribbble.com, a site where great designers like to post their work. Have a look at the ones you like, and determine what you like about them and incorporate them into your design. It’s good inspiration. 

  You need to keep in mind 4 things:  

  Typography  

 
	 Use 15-25px only. A too large text-size can look goofy and awkward. 
	 Like a kids book. Use a big font for headlines, and employ a low font weight. Like Helvetica or Lato. 
	 Since you’re sending this over the web, and it will be read on screen, go for a sans-serif font for easier legibility. 
 

  Colors  

 
	 Use only one base color. A résumé with too many colors will make it look amateur and is a pain to see. In the end, your résumé is an official document used to represent you in a good light. 
	 Never choose black for your base color. Black never appears in the real world. It is sombre, demure, and lacks energy. 
	 It is always a bad idea to use black for anything that is to be displayed on-screen, other than text. 
 

  Icons  

 
	 Icons can help increase aesthetic features and help you stand out. 
	 Use icons that are recognizable, like a suitcase for work experience, a graduation hat for education, etc. 
	 I recommend the use of icon fonts. They are scalable at various dpi on-screen. 
 

  Whitespace layout  

 
	 Whitespace is space where there’s no stuff. 
	 Use it to define hierarchy by putting some space between your education, work, skills, and information sections. 
	 Use that whitespace to build flow for the résumé reader. 
 

 Conclusion 

 That’s it! It all depends on how much time and effort you can put in to your résumé. Remember to keep it simple, accurate info, and not too long; 2 pages should be the absolute maximum. 

 You what would be a great use of that résumé? Use it when applying for jobs in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia with our job portal,  MIMS Career .. A lot of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners have been using the service, and many of them have landed the jobs at the location they’ve always wanted. Signup and apply now using our 1-click application feature. It’s fast, safe, and free. Any problems? Email us at mycareer@mims.com for more inquiries.

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 Why do we, as nursing professionals, have to put in effort to continuously learn? 

 The rate of progress in technology is growing at an exponential rate. The more things we discover, the faster we do it. What we learnt in nursing school 10 years ago might already be obsolete next year. As nurses, we are at risk of endangering our patients as our skills are steadily becoming more outdated. 

 Lifelong learning is a term that is freely being thrown around these past two decades. Lifelong learning means that education does not end at the academic level upon graduation; it means new skills, knowledge, and practices are always there to be learnt to improve oneself. 

 New Methods of Nursing 

 Take CPR, for example. 

 A vital procedure, many lives are saved with it. You would think that for something used so much in hospitals, it would be a science that’s very well established. 

 Unfortunately, no. Researchers and new observations change the way CPR is done. A decade ago, CPR was considered futile after a certain amount of time. Now, you are encouraged to  not give up  those chest compressions until medical help arrives. 

 Even the steps for CPR ten years ago are in different order. It used to be A-B-C; clear Airway, apply rescue breaths, then begin compressions.  Now compressions come first and foremost . The reason is because rescue breaths lower chest cavity air pressure, slowing circulation (which is exactly what we do not want in cardiac arrest). 

 The new methods are more effective than the older ones. And it took only ten years for the old methods to become obsolete. 

 Not knowing the newer, more effective method could cost someone his/her life. 

 Renewing Your Nursing License 

 In Malaysia, you have to renew your license every year. 

 When you renew your license, they will check your CPD points:  Continuous Professional Development  points. These are points that you gain when you go for any nursing related courses. 

 For example, attend a Midwifery course and gain 5 CPD points. Attend a Wound Management course and get 3. 

 These points accumulate throughout the year, and when you want to renew your license, you need about 20-30 points. Otherwise, you will not be able to renew, thus leaving you without any form of registration. Meaning you can’t practice nursing! 

 Improving care towards patients 

 Nurses with a higher level of education are able to think more critically of their patients. They are able to aid in diagnosis, notice patterns in communication, and other physical cues that would help in determining the best course of treatment. 

 A nurse with a post-basic in cardiology is much more useful to a cardiologist compared to a general staff nurse. They can work together, exchange information, and execute procedures that the latter would not normally have the ability to do. 

 21st Century patients 

 Nowadays, patients are have more access to information than ever before. They are more learned, and have different set of expectations. They query a lot; so nurses have to be armed with the right set of information to cater to these patients. It goes a long way in establishing their trust towards you. 

 A good nurse-patient relationship is very important to achieve successful recovery. 

 Great nurses are always on the lookout for new, exciting, and better opportunities to grow their career. Find out your next employment with MIMS Career, a fast, secure, and convenient portal to connect you to top-class healthcare employers in MY, SG, ID, and PH.

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  Photo by Rami Al-Zayat  

  1. Note-taking  
 2. Scheduling  
 3. Reading  

 Smartphone as a work assistant 

 Our phones have gone from blocky, awkward devices to sleek, thin machines. It is now 2017, and processing power in smartphones (even in budget ones) have overcome the performance of some computers just ten years ago. 

 With the modern smartphone now more of a pocket computer than a communication device, several apps have been made to make work easier. These apps, when used with a bit of creativity and time, can help you  stay on top of your goals, never miss an important piece of info, track everything that matters to you and increase mental focus.  

 Read on to find out how you can transform your phone from a typical communications device to an indispensable work and life assistant. 

 1. Note-taking 

 Text 

 Take notes with your phone rather than on a piece of paper. Unlike paper, you won’t lose digital notes if you have them backed up to the cloud. Moreover, you can take hundreds of notes with you on your phone without needing to carry thick notebooks everywhere you go. 

 Most note-taking apps are searchable, like a web browser. Retrieve your information quickly and easily, whenever you need it. On Android, the best note-taking app is  Google Keep . Keep allows your to color-code your notes to your fancy. Add them to your home screen as a widget for quick access. You can still view your notes on any computer with an internet connection. Simply go over to the  Google Keep  site, log in with your Google account, and browse through your notes. 

   

  source  

   

  source  

 On iOS, we recommend the default Notes app. It’s beautifully designed, clean, and robust. Write notes on the fly, and format your text in  bold ,  italics , or underlined. Much like Google Keep, you can attach photos on to your notes. You can also organize them in folders, for easy retrieval. 

   

  source  

  Bonus tip : You can create a note with your voice! Activate Siri by long-pressing the home button, and say “ Make a note “. Siri will ask you what to write about, and it will write whatever you just said. 

 Scan documents 

 What if you had access to all the paper receipts, documents, letters, and notes; any time, anywhere? You can! Your smartphone has a camera. The best scanner is the scanner you always have with you! 

 Simply point your phone towards a paper document and take a photo. Make sure you adjust the focus a bit so text is clear on your phone’s screen. Then, simply create a photo album in your phone’s photos gallery, label it  SCANS  and move the photos of your documents there. 

 Evernote ( iOS ,  Android ) is a multi-platform note-taking app that has a really cool scanning function. When you scan documents with Evernote, the app will brighten the document, making it seem like it was really scanned using a proper scanner. In dark environments, the app will automatically activate your phone’s flash to brighten up the image. Even when taking scans of the document at an angle, Evernote will modify the image to make it seem like you took it straight down! 

   

  source  

 Evernote has OCR (Optical Character Recognition); meaning that words in the document scans are searchable in the app. It even works for handwriting! 

 Other alternatives to Evernote include  Scanbot ,  PDF Scanner + OCR Free , and  Scanner Pro . 

 Draw sketches 

 Sometimes text just doesn’t cut it. What if you need to draw something? It happens a lot, especially in nursing and medical work. 

 Both Google Keep and iOS notes have the ability to create drawings. Unlike pen and paper, you’ll never run out of ink! 

   

  Android Police  

   

  How to make a drawing in Notes iOS  

 2. Scheduling 

 Calendar 

 Schedule events or tasks that you can’t do today. Any calendar app works well; but we recommend Google Calendar ( iOS ,  Android ). It has natural language text-parsing, meaning you simply type your event into the app like how you’d say it. For example, typing: 

 
 Midwifery refresher seminar 8pm Sunday at UMMC 
 

 Will add a calendar entry  Midwifery refresher seminar , dated on Sunday at 8PM, and location at UMMC. The app can take the information of the location of the event from Google Maps. So on that day, it notifies you what time you should leave to arrive on time! 

   

  Macworld  

 3. Reading 

 Books 

 Why bring your whole bookshelf when you can just carry your phone with you? Many textbook publishers also offer ebook versions of their textbooks. With an ebook reader app, you can read books you’ve saved on your phone. Now you can refer your favorite 900-page physiology textbook anywhere without needing to break your back. 

 The Kindle ( iOS , Android ) app allows you to buy ebooks from Amazon and you can read them anytime you like. Check out their selection of  nursing textbooks  that you can get cheaper than the physical copies. Even if you delete the ebooks off your phone, you can still re-download them from Kindle. 

   

  Play Store  

 3. Task Management 

 Todoist (iOS, Android) 

 Putting tasks out of your head and into a system that you trust is one of the best ways to prevent information overload. This enables you to have less mental distractions as you only focus on the task you are currently doing, rather than having other future tasks nagging in your mind. 

 Using task management apps can seem complicated, but it actually is not. The end goal is to spend less time doing the things you want to do, so that you have more time to do the things you want to do. 

 Having a to-do list makes it easy for you to see what you have right now, and what actions are up next.  Todoist  is a great app for this. It’s available on all platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, and Chrome. 

   

  Todoist  

 Start by listing down tasks in your Inbox. As your task list grows, you might start to see some tasks are related to each other. Create projects in Todoist to group these tasks and sort them. 

 Some tasks are more complicated than other tasks. You can break down these tasks into a series of sub-tasks, allowing you to focus on tackling one thing at a time in pursuit of a larger goal. Remember, to eat an elephant, you need to take one bite at a time. 

   

  Todoist  

 Also, just like Google Calendar, Todoist accepts natural language input; set tasks to recur daily, monthly, every two weeks, or even something complicated such as “ Every third Saturday of the month “. Todoist will understand you. See  here  for the complete guide. 

 Todoist is free to use, but with a small subscription fee, premium features such as location-based reminders, file attachments, and tagging are unlocked. 

 
 The modern smartphone is a great tool for self-improvement, organization, and productivity. In such a small device, you can read books, take notes, and stay on top of your work any time, any day. As nurses’ work become more and more complex, we need better tools to help us keep track of daily life. Hopefully you have gained insight into using this great tool, and help you take on challenges that will advance your career as a nurse. 

 Head over to  MIMS Career  and discover our wide range of nurse jobs. All of our pages are mobile-responsive; browse jobs, sign up, and apply are all doable on your smartphone. Make your next career move, with  MIMS Career . 
   

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You Should Be Using These Apps On Your Phone

Photo by Rami Al-Zayat 1. Note-taking 2. Scheduling 3. Reading Smartphone as a work assistant Our phones have gone from blocky, awkward devices to sleek, thin machines. It is now 2017, and processing power in...

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