9 Nursing Career Goals to Plan for Your Future

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Nurses are a critical component to our healthcare system yet unfortunately are oftentimes overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed. As a nurse, it’s important to bring yourself back to what you started as a nurse for – to help others. As with any career, short-term and long-term goals are also important. They give you something to work towards. Here are nine nursing career goals that may be of interest to you:

1. High quality patient-centered care

A nurse is responsible for providing the best care they can for patients. Anyone coming into a healthcare setting deserves nothing short of the best. As a nurse, a career long goal to maintain is to get better and better at what it is you do. Gain knowledge to the point where you’re an expert.

Whenever you are wearing a medical uniform, you are the front line and the representation of a medical facility to so many people. Central to patient care, the quality of an experience relies on a nurse’s shoulders to a degree.

2. Get to your position of choice

As a nurse, you may start off working at a hospital or in a healthcare setting you may not necessarily want to be in long-term. This is common and should be expected. An excellent short-term career goal in nursing to have would be to eventually work your way into the position or healthcare organization you want. With the large amount of nurses retiring, the expanding healthcare system in this country, and the high demand, it shouldn’t take too long to get you to where you want to be.

3. Career advancement exists

If you prove you are good at what you do, there is plenty of space for advancement at healthcare facilities such as hospitals. As a nurse, you may find yourself eventually taking on a program manager or alternative leadership role in administrative work.

To help the likelihood of career advancement, do your best performance day-in and day-out, show initiative, and maintain a commitment to furthering your education. When the opportunity comes along, be ready and you’re likely to fulfill your nursing career goals.

4. Increase your value as an employee

The only way to get out of your current role as a nurse and to advance to a role of increased responsibility in your healthcare organization is to show your value. The more value you show, recognition and rewards come with that. There are many ways to do this. Doing the jobs no one else wants to do, picking up extra shifts when you can, your overall job performance, and your conduct to co-workers and patients all count.

5. Continuing your education

Medical techniques are always evolving and so are the dynamics of nursing. Commit to learning something new every 3-4 months. This can be in a professional development class or through a healthcare organization. Learn new skills.

Lifelong learners will be rewarded not only by the organizations they work for but by the patients. Although it’s nice and important to have professional aspirations, at the end of the day, your role is providing care to patients. Long-term education does exactly that.

6. Gaining technology, app, and software skills

Technology in healthcare is developing at a rapid pace. Every year, hospitals and healthcare systems are employing apps, software, machines, devices, and overall tech in new, helpful ways. As a nurse, if you maintain an interest in tech, you increase your value as an employee to your healthcare organization.

Stay on top of the latest tech and learn new tech as it comes into your healthcare facility. This effort will put you beyond and above others, and will demonstrate your willingness to adapt, learn, and lead.

7. Elevating others around you

There are nurses with over two decades of experience working alongside nurses with six months’ experience. When you elevate other nurses and treat the day to day like you’re contributing to teamwork, you’re bringing up everybody’s performance.

You don’t want to be the weak link, quiet, or unassuming. Be proactive with your nursing career goals, but also help other nurses at the same time. Support every nurse around you. Believe it when it’s said that your effort will be noticed and appreciated.

8. Become an advocate

Once you’ve been a nurse for a fair bit of time and you’ve become educated on the plight of patients, you may find it in yourself to become and advocate for specific causes within the healthcare or nursing fields. Although you may want to be careful with how this impacts your employment, advocacy is what the healthcare system is built on.

It’s what’s opened doors for treatments, therapies, and medications, and protocols that could otherwise be ignored or dismissed. If you believe there’s a better way to deliver care to a segment of the population, speak up.

9. Advanced degrees

Some nurses hoping to move into other positions long-term may seek to go back to post-secondary in an effort to obtain advanced degrees. If this is for a specific position, it can be a smart move to take and will show your commitment to remaining in the healthcare field.

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