Your nursing career is built on the soil of your interest, engagement, and authentic desire to continue to move forward. Skills can be learned, experiences can be created, but if the engines of willingness and passion aren't driving the bus, the fertile ground will become fallow sooner than later.
If you want to keep your career fertile, there are any number of actions to take on a regular basis in order to keep things fruitful.
Taking inspired action in the interest of your nursing career isn't rocket science, but it does take a certain amount of conscious effort. I'm not saying that these actions are fool-proof, but they can till the soil of your career and make it more likely that new growth will occur.
- Take stock: On a regular basis, take stock of your career. Be honest, and evaluate if your career is offering you the fulfillment and learning that you desire. Is your workplace supportive? Are you challenged to a degree that's satisfactory for you? Do you need a change in terms of what you're doing and who you're working with?
- Build your network: Make sure you're meeting other professionals, connecting with like-minded nurses, and building a robust professional network that can serve you in expanding your interests and your contacts around the country, and indeed around the world.
- Explore: Be certain to keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening in the profession, and within the wider healthcare industry. Are there new certifications that interest you? Are there educational experiences that would spice up your nursing career, and open new employment horizons for you? Have there been new advances in your particular nursing specialty that are worthy of your attention? Are there shifts occurring with the industry that portend changes in your relevance, or in your ability to find employment?
- Personal evaluation: Consider whether you're content on a personal level. Does your work offer opportunities for mental, emotional, and/or spiritual growth? Is your career feeding you as a person?
Encouraging new growth in your professional nursing career is about tilling the soil, providing nourishment and moisture, and paying attention to the weather.
The weather may be stormy in your workplace, turbulent inside of your head, or cloudy deep within your nurse's heart. No matter where the storms are occurring, it's important to know how to shift to a more comfortable and productive climate, and continue to experience your optimal nursing career.
You can encourage growth and movement within your work life by attending interesting conferences and seminars, meeting other nurses and healthcare professionals, attentively assessing your changing needs and desires, or doing research on changes in the nursing and healthcare landscapes.
Remain Aware and Awake
Overall, remaining aware and awake as to what would make you most content in your professional life is paramount.
It behooves every professional to constantly assess their level of contentment, engagement, and satisfaction, and then take inspired action if things are not as fertile and growthful as they could be.
Seek the Fertile Ground
Life is too short to continue to work within a career path that's become like a desert. Seek professional soil that's fecund, not fallow, and choose experiences, colleagues, and workplaces that feed your curiosity and desire for professional fulfillment.
You became a nurse in order to serve others, but you also became a nurse in order to have a career that fulfills your needs as a working 21st-century adult.
Proper watering and fertilizing of your nursing career will prevent the desertification and misery that many professionals can experience when they're not paying attention. So pay attention, till that soil, and continue to reach for a career that feeds your soul, and your nurse's spirit.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known nursing blog, Digital Doorway. Please visit his online platforms and reach out for his support when you need it most.
Keith is the host of The Nurse Keith Show, his solo podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century and Aspire to be Inspired: Creating a Nursing Career That Matters. He has contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession. Keith has written for Nurse.com, Nurse.org,, MultiBriefs News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, AUSMed, American Sentinel University, Black Doctor, Diabetes Lifestyle, the ANA blog, American Nurse Today, NursingCE.com, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online and print publications.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, keynote speaker, online nurse personality, social media influencer, podcaster, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives, and their adorable and remarkably intelligent cat, George. (You can find George on Instagram by using the hashtag #georgethecatsantafe.)