Sunday, June 21, 2015

Are You Ready to Pivot in Your Nursing Career?

The notion of "pivoting" appears to be a buzzword in some business and entrepreneurial circles these days. Even though I tend to shy away from such ubiquitous viral terms and phrases, this one can indeed fit the bill for nurses and healthcare professionals who want to remain relevant in a constantly shifting marketplace and industry. We're not just in it for the money, but earning a living is important, and knowing how to stay in the game is a crucial aspect of being a 21st-century professional.

Are You Ready to Pivot in Your Nursing Career?

Remaining Marketable

So, if you're a nurse and you want to remain savvy, marketable, and up-to-date in the job marketplace, how do you do it? Do you sit back and let your career just happen to you? Or, do you take the bull by the stethoscope and make it happen?

If you're a surgeon who has a particular specialty, do you rest on your laurels and do the same thing the same way forever? No, you continue to remain abreast of changes in your area of practice, pivoting and shifting with proven evidence-based approaches that improve your efficiency and outcomes.

Remaining marketable is an ongoing process; it's not something to simply leave to chance, no matter your industry or profession. If you need to earn a living, staying relevant and up-to-date isn't just a luxury---it's a necessity.

Staying Relevant

Staying relevant means being willing to pivot when there's a sea change in your profession.

Are you having a hard time finding a job in your chosen area of nursing practice because you don't yet have a bachelor's degree? Maybe it's time to go back to school.

Has your entrepreneurial venture lost some steam because the nature of the market has changed and you've continued to do the same thing while experiencing diminishing returns?

Staying relevant has to do with reading the writing on the wall, keeping your ear to the rails, and talking to (and listening to) other individuals who have more knowledge and experience than you do.

Pivot When You Have To

When I first began offering coaching for nurses, I was almost entirely focused on health and wellness, work-life balance, and burnout prevention and recovery. No matter how determined I was to help nurses improve their well-being, nurses continued to ask me for career advice, not health and wellness support. Even though I really wanted to impact the nursing profession by coaching nurses to care for themselves more assiduously, the feedback I received from the marketplace was that the product I was offering was not in as high demand as I originally thought it would be.

So, what did I do? I pivoted. I was already doing career coaching for some of my clients, and I dug right in and gained as much expertise as I could in the areas of support that my clients were calling for. I became a Linked In expert, studied salient and contemporary information on resumes, cover letters, and interview skills, and I created individualized programs that have proven highly successful in helping my nurse clients in achieving their professional goals.

Although I still offer health and wellness coaching for nurses (and instill my health-oriented agenda into the lives of many of my career coaching clients!), career coaching has proven to be an excellent choice, and I had to pivot in order to get there. I read the writing on the wall, and I listened to the messages that the marketplace was giving me.


You can ignore the Universe's messages for only so long, but you generally do so at your own peril. Learning to pivot at appropriate times is crucial to your continued relevance, whether you're a nurse, lawyer, entrepreneur, salesperson, mechanic, or doctor. You want to support your family and keep money flowing into your back account, right? If so, keep abreast of your profession, and listen deeply to what's happening in your neck of the professional world.

Listen to the voices that you hear. Pay attention to the ever-evolving zeitgeist of your industry. Know what other people are thinking, and if you work in an evidence-based profession, follow the evidence when it pertains to you and your area of expertise.

Pivoting is not necessarily turning on a dime; it's steering the ship along the path that feels most relevant. You may need to turn on a dime in order to escape the sabertooth tiger that's nipping at your heels, but most pivoting in the areas of business and professional development can involve the luxury of thoughtful and conscientious action in the interest of forward movement and professional success.

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