Four goals that will further your nursing career

With the new year well underway, it’s a great time to evaluate your plans and how you can further develop your nursing career. Whether you’re studying, trying to land a graduate role, or looking to up-skill in a specific area, having a goal will ensure you can advance your skills and experience in a realistic and rewarding way. 

However, with so many avenues for growth within the nursing space, it can be tricky to know where to start. In this article, we’ll take you through some simple yet effective nursing goals that you can apply to your own career, and some tips for putting these goals into action: 

  • Complete a course or certification
  • Become a CNS
  • Improve your efficiency and confidence in the workplace
  • Develop healthy habits and a work-life balance
  • Your next steps
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Complete a course or certification

The nursing industry is a rapidly changing one, and staying up-to-date with the latest practices and procedures is crucial for performing the best care. By having  a thorough understanding of these new forms of nursing, you’ll stand out amongst your peers and know that you’re prepared for anything your job throws at you.

Nursing education takes a variety of forms, from university degrees and private colleges to TAFE and short courses. Some nurses (like ours!) can complete training while they work, meaning they still have secure work within the industry while they up-skill. Check to see if you can access on-the-job training and up-skilling in your workplace, or look to apply for a role where this is possible.

If you’re looking at completing a course or certification this year, make sure you begin the process of enrolling now to avoid missing out. In an industry as large as nursing, entry into some courses is quite competitive and spots can fill up quickly!

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Become a CNS

Becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) can be the highlight of a nurse’s career. For established registered nurses, it’s a wonderful acknowledgement of your advanced skill-set and experience and how valuable you are in the industry.

Here are some of our tips for working towards a CNS status:

  • Get organised with completing further education, such as a graduate certificate;
  • Provide support and guidance to your colleagues, particularly junior ones, to practice mentoring others;
  • Continually advance your knowledge and experience;
  • Attend mock interviews to practise your skills;
  • Find a current CNS or relevant industry mentor.
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Improve your efficiency and confidence in the workplace

It’s no secret that nursing is a physically, cognitively and mentally challenging career at times. Every day will present both new challenges and opportunities that will enable you to grow both personally and professionally. And while the unpredictable nature of nursing can cause discomfort and anxiety, being as prepared and confident as possible can mitigate a lot of these concerns and bring the excitement back to being a nurse.

Those moments that throw a spanner in the works and test your knowledge, patience and resilience can be tricky, but preparing for them doesn’t have to be. By focusing on being as efficient and confident as possible in the workplace, you’ll find that these moments of adversity become less daunting and you can shift your focus to view these as learning opportunities.

Here’s how you can maximise your efficiency when working as a nurse:

  • Keep yourself and your colleagues up-to-date with the latest technologies, procedures and recommended care practices. This could be through your own research, attending in-services offered by your workplace, or even offering these training sessions to more junior nurses;
  • Specialise in certain tasks so you can perform them quickly and effectively (i.e., prescribing medication, educating patients about their illness);
  • Develop your ability to prioritise tasks and plan your day (i.e., breaks);
  • Focus on your communication skills in relation to peers and patients;
  • Create small goals that you can action in a single shift or over a couple of shifts to motivate you in your self-improvement.

Confidence is critical to a successful career in nursing, and it also improves other areas of your life, too. Here are out tips for developing confidence as a nurse:

  • Find a mentor to support you with your professional development. This could be a more senior nurse in your workplace, a nurse you know or someone else you trust. Share your experiences with them willingly and keep an open mind when it comes to their valuable advice;
  • Uplift the nurses around you by supporting and encouraging them. Lifting up those around you can also make a huge difference to your confidence and will create a better work environment for everyone.
  • Reflect on one thing you did successfully at the end of every shift and write it down if you need to. Consider how you can build upon this achievement next time you go to work;
  • Consider what first motivated you to begin nursing and write it down. Keep this somewhere you can see it before you go to work, or even keep it with you on shift as a reminder of why this career is meaningful to you.
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Develop healthy habits and a work-life balance

This is perhaps one of the hardest goals to achieve for any nurse, no matter how experienced or even healthy they are. Maintaining your wellbeing involves addressing all aspects of your health, and trying to ensure you are caring for each one appropriately. It’s all well and good to have a healthy diet and exercise regime, but only if you’re also managing your stress and having down-time.

Although the opposite may seem true, the more time you invest in yourself and your wellbeing, the better you will perform as a nurse. Being well-rested with a positive and resilient mind-set will enable you to confidently face any adversity in your career and enjoy your time at work. You’ll feel yourself grow both professionally and personally, which is certainly a win-win.For more tips on managing your wellbeing, you can visit the websites of leading mental health organisations or visit the Nursing and Midwife Support page. You can also take a look at some of our other blog posts on wellbeing for nurses, including why wellness isn’t just a buzzword and our tips for maintaining a healthy social life and practising self-care.

Photo by Nadin Mario on Unsplash

Your next steps

Despite the challenges that come with being a nurse, it is one of the most exciting and rewarding careers out there. Nurses make an incredible difference to the lives of so many people, so don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every now and again. Your work is making a positive difference in the lives of others, and as long as you always strive for your best, every shift is a goal achieved.

Finding an employer that supports your development can make a huge difference in your professional growth and the satisfaction you receive from your career. At Healthcare HQ, we pride ourselves on placing our agency nurses in facilities where they’re challenged in a healthy and supportive environment. We hold in-depth discussions with our nurses about where they work, and take all their feedback on board to ensure they’re always matched with an appropriate client. And, we offer some of the most competitive pay rates in Sydney, which is always nice!

So, if you’re ready to work with an employer that actively supports your nursing goals, get in touch with Healthcare HQ via email or our online application form. If we’ve piqued your interest, but you want to learn more, you can read our other blog posts, visit our website and check out our Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is general in nature. For further support in relation to your individual circumstances, please get in touch with us or a relevant mentor.

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