Nursing is one of those fields that is much more vast and varied than most people think. The fact of the matter is that for the average person, interactions with nurses tend to be in the traditional hospital setting. While there are many nurses who choose to work in such familiar roles, there is also a great deal who opt to take their career to the next level.

Nurses in this day and age can work in a variety of fields and in different capacities. Some nurses are even licensed to have their own practices and see their patients without having to be under the direct supervision of a physician. These nurses, known as nurse practitioners, are extremely educated and qualified for such a job.

If you are a nurse who is currently exploring your own options with regard to career advancement opportunities, here are three ways in which you might be able to take your career to the next level.

1. Earn an Advanced Degree

When it comes to specializing in a certain field of nursing or taking on more responsibility, it is more than likely that you will need to earn an advanced degree of some sort. Such degrees provide nurses with the additional knowledge and training that they need in order to be successful in their chosen field.

It is important to note that to earn an advanced degree, you must first earn your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Since it isn’t necessary for a nurse to hold a BSN to work as a qualified registered nurse (RN), you might not yet have a BSN. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take your career to the next level, however. You will simply need to invest a bit more time in earning your BSN.

The good news is that there are some flexible and affordable RN to BSN online programs that can help you to do just that in as little time as possible.

2. Find a Mentor

As with most other areas of medicine, the value of a good mentor for a nurse simply cannot be overstated. Mentors provide a great deal of guidance and constructive criticism where necessary to those whom they mentor.

It might very well be the case that the hospital you work for already has a mentorship in place. If not, though, you can still find a professional mentor in other ways that can be just as effective.

3. Volunteer Your Time

Even though it might often seem as though your time as a nurse is all but spoken for, it is still important to find a bit of time here and there to volunteer and give back. This doesn’t have to be something that you do every day, but rather a way in which you can help out organizations or causes that are important to you a little bit here and there.

Volunteering is something that looks great on an application for graduate school and on your resume for advanced positions. It can also provide you with the chance to practice and hone your skills as a nurse.