In the course of your nursing career, you’ll have some natural allies who are always there for you, and other allies who appear just when you need them. Nurses, are you aware who your professional allies are and how to utilize them when you need them most? Your allies are part of your tribe, so gather them ’round you and allow them to support you.
Identify Your Allies
Identifying your allies is key, nurses. Who are your allies? Who has your back on a consistent basis, and who’s there when you need them? Who has supported you, and who has pushed you forward when you needed a shove?
Some of your allies are obvious, like that coworker who took you out to lunch and helped you study for your med/surg certification, or your manager who recommended you for a promotion.
Reach Out To Less Obvious Allies
Some allies may be less obvious, but perhaps equally important at some point in the future. There may be a manager or administrator who admires your work or has offered you praise, but you don’t have much contact on a daily basis. Is there someone like that in your midst but you haven’t really nurtured the relationship?
Perhaps you’ve had some very positive interactions with the Chief Nursing Officer of your facility, but you’ve never had time to actually sit down and chat; she works upstairs in an office and you work on the Telemetry floor, so you rarely cross paths. If this is the case, send her a note and ask to have a meeting over coffee.
When you meet, have some questions or comments prepared. Discuss an initiative you’d like to see undertaken on your unit in terms of safety, infection control, or nurse collaboration; offer some feedback about what you see happening at the facility, or praise something you really like about working there.
The purpose of meeting with someone like this is to solidify connections with people of influence; this isn’t manipulative, it’s building relationships in the interest of your future, and offering them a quality connection with you, as well. This can be very symbiotic for all involved.
When you get on the radar of a person who has power, it’s easier to approach that individual later when you need a recommendation or a reference for a promotion, or maybe support for a program or initiative you’d like to champion.
Nurses, gather your allies, bring them closer to you, and create relationships that matter. You never know when these allies will be most pivotal in the course of your career, and you can also offer them support when they need you.
Allies can be obvious and less than obvious. Identify them, connect with them, and keep them close through the years. Your nursing career will benefit greatly from these relationships.