You’ve completed your nursing degree and are starting out on your new career. Things can seem overwhelming, but this is a good time to establish some goals. While your employer will have goals for you, setting your own goals will help you feel like you are in control of your own career.
Looking forward, you can’t imagine how you will grow over the next five years. Five years from now, looking back, you won’t believe how much you have grown. The best goals to make right now are short-term, measurable and something you are truly interested in. It’s easy to create generic goals, but they rarely do much more for you than let you check an item off your list. Think of specific goals that work for you.
To get your creative thoughts going, here are some examples of nursing goals to keep you advancing in your nursing career.
Start Your Career out “Write”
Many nurses will look back after a few years and say “I wish I had written that down!” If you are prone to journaling or like the idea of writing, start a daily journal of your nursing experiences. Make it a goal to write for 10 minutes every day when you get home from your shift or before you go to bed. After a few years, you’ll have an invaluable record of your nursing career.
Be an Expert in the Everyday Tasks
Your nursing role will consist of doing a number of things every day that at first seem daunting, but will soon become familiar. As a goal, pick a couple of those tasks and become an expert in them. It could be filing histories, orders and nursing notes; or taking patient vitals. Find the best approach to doing those tasks and master them. When they become second nature for you, pick another set of tasks and master those. In nursing, the most mundane tasks could have critical importance some day, and you’ll be glad you took the time to focus.
Improve Yourself by Learning from Others
Observe your peers and watch how they perform their tasks. You’ll notice that everyone has mastery over something in your nursing unit. One person may be known for writing the best nursing assessments. Another may excel at giving injections. Identify these people, observe and ask how they have come to do those items so well. Create a goal to learn a technique from someone each month. As you continue to define your work style, these observed skills will help you to create your own approach.
Create and Maintain Your Educational Goals
You will be learning something every day as you begin your nursing career. Create some nursing goals for continuing your advanced education through classes, workshops or even working toward an advanced nursing degree. You may be ready for a break from school, but keeping up with your academic growth will distinguish you in the profession. Your employer may sponsor classes or workshops. Look at community organizations or groups such as the American Red Cross or American Cancer Society for workshops.
Narrow in on Your Specialty
In the beginning, the whole world of nursing is ahead of you. There is much to learn in many different areas. Create some goals to begin to focus in on areas interesting to you. Have lunch with nurses in different units to talk about their work. Meet with nursing supervisors and ask about their areas of expertise. You may have several areas of interest that you begin to narrow down as you meet with others working in those areas. Create goals that allow you to gradually gain information about the different areas of interest and help you create a focus.
Continue Learning about Nursing
At the top of your list of goals should be to continue to learn about nursing. Nursing is more than the ability to perform a set of tasks. Make some goals to discover what the nursing profession is about and where it is going. Get involved with professional nursing organizations. Become familiar with legislation affecting nursing. Learn how nursing is practiced in different areas of the country and in different specialties. A professional nurse is not only adept at procedures and techniques, but is also fluent in nursing philosophy.
Set Your Goals on Day One
The beginning days and weeks of a new nursing career can seem hectic and overwhelming. Creating goals for yourself will help you keep your head above water and allow you to continue to grow in your chosen career. Celebrate your successes and appreciate the learning opportunities. In a short while, you will look back and be glad that you took charge of your career by creating goals that moved you forward.