When the New Year begins in earnest, many of us nurses start to consider what we'd like to accomplish in our personal lives and nursing careers. We can run around like chickens afraid that the sky is falling all around us, or we can set our intentions and plan for an inspired year.
Hindsight Can Serve You
Hindsight is sometimes said to be 20/20, and I believe that this is actually a very good thing. Looking back on our accomplishments (or lack thereof) in the previous year, we can accumulate a great deal of data when it comes to making prudent choices for the new year.
As you assess last year in terms of your career trajectory, ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I feel about the way in which my career developed last year?
- What kinds of career-related choices did I make?
- If I felt stuck last year, what was it that made me feel that way?
- If I moved forward last year, what were the choices that really worked for me?
Don't Forget Foresight
We need to make career choices that are prudent and thoughtful; if our intentions are clear, we can choose more wisely. We don't want to take a certification course or enroll in a master's degree program just because someone said we should; rather, we need to assess what we want and select the most intelligent, affordable, and efficient path to reach our goal.
Career choices need to emerge from due diligence, the collection of data, the honoring of your intuition, and the assessment of how to identify the most powerful vehicle for the journey ahead. Some forms of assessment may include:
- Informational interviews with influencers and knowledgeable professionals
- Web-based research on specialties, schools, certifications, etc
- Plumbing of your own desires and aspirations
- Online and in-person networking
- Engaging with a life or career coach
- Podcasts, blogs, articles, journals
The Power of Insight
Insight emerges from the crucible created by hindsight and foresight. An insight may come in a flash of intuition, or it may come to light during an informational interview. We don't know where insight will come from, but the power of a strong realization can be enormously impactful on your nursing career.
Listening to a podcast, a thought may emerge that leads you down another unknown path of discovery. While you're reading a blog post or article, a particular link or recommendation could be the key you've been seeking. And sometimes, insights are born from hard work and tedious research.
Intention is Key
If your intention is to become a flight nurse, then your path forward will be clear. If your intention is to "quit this stupid job," you have more work to do to get there. And if you just know there's something you need but can't figure out what it is, that's a row that's more tedious to sew (but altogether possible).
Focus on your intentions, motivations, and short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals; once these become more clear, the path ahead will more readily make itself known.
NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of "Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century," and has contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession. Keith has written for Nurse.com, Nurse.org, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, AusMed, American Sentinel University, the ANA blog, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online publications.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.