Did you know that the average person has more than 250 contacts?

If you think about all the people you know, and all the people they know, it is easy to believe how this can be so. Nursing is a huge family, and as such offers many opportunities for networking. By broadening your networks you can increase your exposure to job opportunities and increase your profile. Networking also helps you to undertake such career-enhancing activities as being mentored, secondments and job-sharing.

Try the following activity to identify your own networks.

Activity: Networking

This activity helps you to identify the wide range of personal contacts you have.

  • Type a list of friends.
  • Type a list of colleagues.
  • Type a list of relatives.
  • List all the tutors you know.
  • Make a list of people with whom you’ve studied.
  • Type your Christmas card list

Your Network Database

To set up your database of networks, get some index cards (or a computer database) and record:

  • the name of your contact;
  • where he/she works;
  • where she/he used to work;
  • professional or social organizations he/she belongs to; and
  • who the contact knows and where her/his contacts work.

A database might look like this:

Name Current work Previous work Organizational
Janet Smith Registered nurse Emergency staff nurse National Emergency Nurses Affiliation
Nursing Leadership Forum
Practice nurse advisor Chair
of emergency nursing forum
Will Jones Nurse lecturer Community mental health nurse CNA Canadian Federation
of Mental Health Nurses
Dean of school of nursing
Director of nursing
Agnes McDermott Director of nursing Manager surgical unit Ethics committee Research committee All senior nurses at Crossroads
Hospital & Health Centre

Visit your portfolio and record what you have learned.

Improving Your Networks

Your networking circle will continue to grow as your career develops. Always be on the lookout for new networks.

Increase your networks through:

  • visits to other units or departments at work;
  • shadowing colleagues working in areas that interest you;
  • attending departmental meetings or serving on a board/committee;
  • attending conferences, workshops and seminars – and talking to colleagues, especially during breaks;
  • joining online forums;
  • joining professional groups;
  • writing to authors of journal articles whose subject area interests you;
  • joining CNA's discussion forum;
  • bank and agency work; and
  • volunteer work.

Visit your portfolio and record what you have learned.

Activity: Write a Personal Ad

It is said that first impressions are the most lasting. When you meet people for the first time it's important to consider the impression you want to create.

Imagine that you want to meet a new friend, and write about yourself for an ad to appear in the lonely hearts column of a newspaper. In 15-20 words, introduce yourself and talk about your interests and values.