The New Nursing Student
Dr. Ingrid Simkins
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
You might be saying to yourself, “I’m just trying to make it through to the end of the semester…I can’t even think that far ahead!”. Small measured goals are certainly a way to assure your immediate success, but every so often pause, reflect and examine a future goal. These goals marked by time are not finite, but instead open to opportunities that present themselves and opportunities you create. However, no matter what direction you are currently headed, remember that as a professional your learning is life-long.
Perhaps you wish to be a L&D (or insert current desired specialty here) nurse. Then put things in motion to network and shine during that rotation. Ask for those letters of recommendation from your clinical instructors, introduce yourself to the staff and leadership of that unit. Be prepared to be asked this very question in the interview for your dream job.
Your desire to be the best nurse would include keeping current by attending workshops and conferences and to seek certification. As you acclimate and grow in the role you may want to pursue becoming a midwife…again endless opportunities exist.
It is important to formulate some long term goals, then in times that are stressful or attempting to derail your efforts you can refocus and get yourself on track. So moving forward…what are your goals?
The new Graduate Nurse
Dr. Mary Resler
The hardest part of becoming a nurse is over. You have completed a rigorous nursing program; kudos to you! However, the most challenging part of nursing is just beginning. Moving forward after a hard shift can be challenging. After losing a patient that you have spent countless hours helping, moving forward can be challenging. Moving from a high census shift with low nursing staff can be challenging. Moving forward after a code can be challenging.
Moving forward from a student nurse to a new graduate nurse to an experienced nurse happens quickly but not without bumps in the road and growing pains. Moving forward is learning from your mistakes or watching others’ mistakes. Moving forward is forgiving those mistakes, learning from them, and becoming a better nurse because of them.
Moving forward is joining a professional nursing organization and participating in it. Moving forward is taking continued education classes. Moving forward is precepting a nursing student or a newly hired nurse. Moving forward is advancing your degree. Moving forward is improving patient outcomes. Moving forward is almost anything but standing still. Which means moving forward is the only direction to go! Remember, nurses are lifelong learners.
The new Nurse Educator
Dr. Grace Paul
Nurses indeed must strive to be lifelong learners, whether bedside with patients or in the classroom with students. A great bedside nurse may not be a great instructor, and a great instructor may not be the best nurse. As nursing faculty, we help motivated students who know their chosen profession and want to do their best. Therefore, faculty is expected to be equally vested in their students’ success. Faculty should be able to help students of different ages, learning styles, needs, and life experience. We must be flexible and adapt to students’ needs.
While it is important to learn different ways to help students and develop your role as faculty, it is also important to invest in your career growth. Career development and career growth are different. Career development is short term and career growth is long term. How do you see yourself in three, five, or ten years? What is your career trajectory? What is your path moving forward? If you don’t plan your career goals, you may be stuck for decades. Due to the healthcare industry’s explosive growth, nurses have more choices. You must be deliberate in charting your career goals.
A career trajectory plan keeps you on track. A simple plan like the one below helps us write down what we want to do with our career. Plan strategically. It helps us to keep us energized, focused, and engaged. You can revisit these plans (for example, once a year) to decide whether to continue on or change direction. Your career trajectory can be a combination of vertical and horizontal movements. Vertical movements are promotions within your institution. These are far and few today. Horizontal movements are lateral moves which are more fulfilling, more engaging, make more of an impact, or make more of a difference in people’s lives. Movement is the key! Good luck!
Career Trajectory Plan
|Expected Date of Start
|Experience or Evaluation
|Scholarship – Teaching/learning, Research
|Community or Voluntary Service