Unfortunately, many people believe that it is only necessary to network with peers when you are looking for a new job. This is only one of the times when you will need to network. The most successful professionals and those who are most satisfied and happy in their jobs find great rewards through constant networking.

Networking includes staying connected with your schoolmates and faculty members. It means spending a meal break with a coworker and getting to know more about him. It means joining listservs to share information about a common issue. In addition, networking means learning about other fields from everyone you encounter personally and professionally.

Networking isn't just about going to a meeting where you know no one and trying to mingle. This is not something in most people's comfort zones and they close their ears immediately when they hear the term networking.

Next time you attend an in-service or seminar, approach the speaker and exchange business cards. Ask about her role and how she got into this job. You never know when you might be looking for something entirely different to do and may want to contact her again. Stay in touch.

Get Business Cards

You don't necessarily need a business card that is imprinted with your facility's information; in fact, your boss might think you're being a bit presumptuous to ask for such a thing! All you need is a plain white card imprinted with your name, credentials, and contact information. If you don't want to broadcast your home address, simply include a phone number or even just an e-mail address. You can add a simple graphic such as a stethoscope or an R.N. emblem, but keep it simple and tasteful. Or use a simple design or color.

There are several computer programs for designing your own cards and printing them from your own computer. These are perfectly acceptable. If you don't have access to this software, there are a number of economical places online and off where you can have simple cards printed for a nominal fee. Always keep them with you and in a business card holder so that they are always clean and crisp. Hand them out!

Join your professional organizations and become involved. Find a coworker interested in joining or attending local meetings with you. You can attend as a guest. Branch out and meet a new person each time you attend. And share the information with your boss and coworkers.

Become involved with committees at work and let your supervisor know you are interested in volunteering for activities within the facility. Become a preceptor or mentor to the new generation of new grads in your facility or on your unit. Volunteer to help with students when they are assigned to your unit. This will not only provide you with any number of new and interesting experiences, but it will also make you known throughout the facility and even the community as a valuable resource and willing subject. These opportunities will also build your confidence and allow you to measure your success.

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