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Your Nursing Career New Year Plan

By Keith Carlson via Multibriefs

The start of the year is an auspicious time to evaluate the state of your nursing career, examine your motivations and feelings, and formulate a plan for the year to come.

We all need to periodically take stock of our career, distill the meaning of where we are, what we've accomplished and where we think we're going. By assessing and planning for the next iteration of your nursing career, you can take inspired action, seize the moment and not allow your career to simply happen to you.

The (nursing) year in review

If you were to rate the quality of your work experience in the last year, how would it stack up? Nurses love scales of 1 to 10; would your career satisfaction be a 7 this year, or did you score significantly lower or higher?

What did you accomplish this year? Did you exceed any of your goals? Did you reach a new plateau of professionalism or achievement?

On the other side of the coin, what disappointments did you experience? Did you fail to earn an expected promotion or raise? Were you turned down after an exciting job interview? It's as important to objectively acknowledge and assess our failures and challenges as it is to celebrate our accomplishments and successes.

Taking responsibility

If things didn't go quite right in your nursing career this year, can you take responsibility for how things went? Did you learn something about yourself that may shed light on what your next steps could be?

Honest and objective self-assessment is key to understanding your journey, no matter how things turn out. It's equally important to understand the driving forces behind both your successes and your failures.

When things don't go well, we often look outside of ourselves for where to cast blame. However, we can instead choose to take a deep dive within ourselves, seeking answers to why things didn't go as planned.

When you take responsibility for your actions and their consequences, you can then empower yourself to make better choices and act in a manner that will more readily promote success and satisfaction.

Pivot PRN

Your nursing career New Year plan may involve a pivot. A change of course or new direction may be called for, or at least perhaps a change in strategy. Here are four key areas where you might pivot and strategize:

Networking: Lackluster professional networking may lead you to consider how you might leverage local and long-distance contacts, social media, LinkedIn or other means toward expanding your network and creating more authentic connections.

Professional advancement: If you feel dissatisfaction with your career trajectory, are there areas of professional advancement that could benefit from inspired action? Returning to school, seeking a certification, attending a conference or learning new skills could put some spark in your career engine.

Inspiration: If your career feels stymied, inspiration may be needed. There are plenty of books, podcasts and blogs from both the nursing and non-nursing arenas that offer career-related inspiration. Seek out sources of positive, creative and timely reflection on authentic career development.

Mission and heart: Finally, seek new (or renewed) meaning in your nursing career. Dig deep for what makes you tick as a nurse and what brings you professional and personal fulfillment. Identifying the heart of your nursing career and your professional mission will lead you toward a New Year career plan based on inspiration and the heart of your nursing identity.

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, has been a nurse since 1996. He is the blogger behind the award-winning blog, Digital Doorway and a widely read freelance nurse writer. Keith is also the co-host of RNFM Radio, a popular Internet radio station devoted to the nursing profession. Under the auspices of Nurse Keith Coaching, Keith's passion is helping nurses and healthcare professionals create ultimate satisfaction in both their personal and professional lives.

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