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Goals That Can Help You Advance in Your Nursing Career

Career News May 5, 2013

The best time to set goals for your nursing career is when you are hired and start working as a nurse for the first time. You may feel overwhelmed, but this is when you should set down some professional goals for your future. You do have to meet the requirements of the position as determined by the employer, but with professional goals you will feel that you have control over your career path.

Short term goals are the best. Make them specific and measurable so you know when you have achieved them. Set goals for different aspects of your career that interests you. You can gain valuable information on professional goals through the following examples:

Write Down Events and Incidents in Your Career

Experienced nurses will tell you that there are times they had written something down. Keep a journal of your nursing experience. This will help you remember achievements and accomplishments, so you can look over it and realize how far you have come. Try to write in the journal on a daily basis. Over time, you will have a resource that documents your career in nursing.

Become an Expert in Your Daily Tasks

As a nurse, there will be many things you do on a regular basis. This repetition will quickly become second nature, so you can complete these tasks without thinking about them. Choose one or two of these tasks as your goal and become an expert at performing them. It can be anything – taking patient histories, recording vital signs, updating patient charts and so on. Once you have become an expert at these tasks, choose a few more and work on them. The ordinary tasks that nurses do on a regular basis are truly valuable for patient care. By becoming an expert in these tasks, you will become an experienced nurse.

Learn From Others to Help You Improve

Take the time to watch how your colleagues carry out their daily tasks. Everyone has a certain way of doing things, and there will always be a nurse that seems to be able to do everything right. For example, the one that is working the floor may be the best one for the nursing assignment. Search out these professionals and observe what they do. Ask them questions about their expertise. Set a goal to learn something from a colleague each month. The skills you observe and learn will help you create your own style and approach to all your nursing tasks.

Set Educational Goals for Yourself

Every day the job will bring you new learning opportunities. You should also engage in continuing education by taking classes, engaging in professional development workshops or taking courses that lead to an advanced degree. Even though you are a recent graduate, you need to keep growing academically in order to remain current in the nursing profession. The more educational skills you attain, the more distinguished you will become as a nurse. Nursing employers regularly hold workshops, and there are community organizations that hold such meetings as well.


It is hard to think of one area of nursing to specialize in when you begin your career. You have so much to learn. Set a goal to focus on an area of nursing in which you have an interest. Get to know nurses that work in these fields to learn about the work they do. Ask supervisors about the areas in which they are specialized. This will give you different areas of nursing to consider and will help you narrow down your focus.

Never Stop Learning About the Nursing Profession

Your primary goal should be to learn about nursing. There is more to this career than performing routine tasks. Set a goal to learn more about the profession and its future goals. Involvement in nursing organizations is an excellent way to work on this. Learn about the laws related to nursing and how they affect the profession. Get to know nursing techniques used in other countries and areas of nursing. As a professional nurse, you should be knowledgeable about the philosophy of nursing.

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