The days of 2013 are quickly coming to a close and the new year is on the near horizon. Nurses, what will you do with the year ahead?
Our careers are our own, and the dawn of a new year is a great time to reevaluate the trajectory of that career. Would you like to take a good long look at your nursing career?
Where You Are
As the new near begins, you can begin to evaluate your workplace, asking yourself some valuable questions:
Is the culture of my workplace supportive and accepting? Do I feel valued and respected? Am I challenged to grow professionally and develop skills that hold meaning for me?
Does the administration in my workplace support me? Is my voice heard?
Do I enjoy my colleagues? Do we support one another and work together towards common goals?
Is this a workplace that still has something to offer me, personally and professionally?
Where You’d Like To Be
Whether your answers to the above questions were satisfactory or not, you may be thinking about the future of your career. In fact, even if you’re happy at your current job, you may still be considering a career change simply because you want more varied experience, higher pay, or any other number of reasons that cause us to change our work situation.
Your career plans may have something to do with school, a higher degree, a certification of some kind, or perhaps an internship or other exploration of a new specialty or area of professional interest.
If you know you need a change but aren’t sure what form that change may eventually take, it’s sometimes enough to acknowledge that you’re ready for something new (and that something new will occasionally make itself known in due course).
Lay The Groundwork
I often recommend to my coaching clients that they use their birthday, the new year, or some other annual event to trigger an exploratory period in terms of their professional goals and aspirations. This exploration should usually include an evaluation of your current position or workplace (as outlined above), as well as a self-reflective process of exploring your level of professional satisfaction at the current moment.
Laying the groundwork for change also entails keeping your resume and Linked In profile updated. This should at least be an annual event (I update my resume on a regular basis throughout the year, not to mention my profile on Linked In).
Talking to colleagues and mentors can be helpful, especially if you’re itching for a change, so arrange informational interviews to help set your course and gather information about new potential employers or areas of nursing specialty or study.
New Year, New You
The new year can be a time for personal and professional change, so take the opportunity for introspection, self-reflection, and career evaluation. These musings can indeed lay the groundwork for change, or they may indeed confirm that you’re in exactly the right place. No matter what conclusions you draw, it’s time well spent, and it can be a fun and illuminating process to explore where you are, where you’re going, and what you want for yourself as the new year begins.