Along your nursing career path, it’s easy for your professional experience to become stale and uninspired.
There are numerous challenges faced by hard-working nurses, and this can lead to feeling less than energetic about moving your career forward.
If there were five steps you could take to re-energise your nursing career, would you do it? If you could get things moving again, could you muster the drive to set the wheels in motion? Here are five powerful steps for investing attention in the development of your nursing career.
Step One: Do a SWOT Analysis
The first step in the nursing process is always assessment, and the same applies to the state of your career — you need data to create a plan.
A SWOT analysis is a common tool that can be applied to any aspect of your life, and consists of four areas:
Strengths: What are your strengths? How do they positively impact your career?
Weaknesses: What are your weaknesses as a nurse? Where do they show up and how do they potentially hold you back?
Opportunities: What are the opportunities that you see in front of you? Is there a possibility of being promoted to management? Did you receive a scholarship to graduate school?
Threats: What threatens your professional growth? Does your anxiety keep you from seeking new opportunities? Is your self-esteem so low that you’re not able to challenge yourself and live up to your potential?
Step Two: Revisit Your Original Motivation for Being a Nurse
Sometimes your career has a way of just happening to you. You graduate from school, take the first hospital job you can find, and eight years later, you somehow feel unfulfilled.
When you take a step back and revisit the motivations behind why you pursued a nursing career in the first place, you may rediscover a buried passion. Reconnecting with why you originally pursued this path may provide a vision of what’s next.
Step Three: Focus on Your Own Wellbeing
Nursing is hard work, and losing sight of your own health is a common problem. The re-energising of your career may have more to do with your personal happiness than your relative contentment in your job.
If you honestly assess the state of your personal wellness, you may realise that you need more sleep, better nutrition, regular exercise, and more frequent time in nature. With renewed focus on your personal health, you may find that your job is actually just fine as long as you get enough “me time”.
Step Four: Assess Your Work Environment
If you’re employed in an environment where people are kind, thoughtful, supportive, and joyful, chances are you feel pretty good about your work life. But if your workplace environment is poisoned by poor management, bullying, hostility, or other ills, you may hate your job and feel nauseous every time you start a shift.
An unhealthy or hostile workplace can cause physical and psychological symptoms of stress, and this leads to a profound loss of joy and the sense that work is an utter burden.
Sometimes, a change of environment can be just what you need to bring life back to your career. If you’re surrounded by good people working in a supportive environment, that’s where the magic can happen.
Step Five: Talk to People Doing Interesting Things
When you feel stuck or unhappy at work, perhaps you’ve become blind to what’s possible. If you feel disconnected from the possibilities that a nursing career offers, do some informational interviews with nurses doing interesting things. Ask questions, shadow if possible, and dig deep for more information that can help you make an informed decision. The experiences, thoughts, and advice of others can inform your trajectory and next steps.
Re-Energising is Individual
However you re-energise, it’s an individual exercise in re-branding, re-tooling, and re-thinking your career strategy and journey.
We can all find ourselves in moments of doubt and discouragement, but there are always tools and lines of inquiry that can bring us back to a place of honest discernment. Mobilise your mind, tap into your resources, and re-energise your nursing career at the time you need it most.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms---including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram---as well as at www.nursekeith.com and Digital Doorway.