Planning your nursing career is a continuous process rather than a one-time event. It requires self-assessment and goal setting, attention and nurturing at every stage in your nursing career: entry, advancement, specializing and retirement. Your nursing career plan should be dynamic and stimulating, and responsive to changing circumstances in your life and in your field. It must enable you to assess your nursing strengths and limitations, articulate a nursing career vision, develop an achievable plan for your career and market yourself well to achieve the type of nursing career you want.
When considering your nursing career plan, assessment is essential. Evaluate where you’ve been and where you are now to make career decisions. For example, if you are a new graduate ready to start a job search, you’ve recently completed a significant amount of time to get your nursing education and credentials, and now must target what kind of nursing jobs you want, what area of health care you prefer and the employers who have those jobs. Decide how to manage your future as a nurse by researching nursing trends, career paths, opportunities and education requirements in health care.
Develop Your Nursing Career Vision
Your nursing career vision is the link between where you are in your nursing career and where you want to take your career next. Create a career vision by answering questions such as “What do I want out of nursing?” and “Do I want to work in a hospital environment?” and “What is my ideal vision for my nursing career?” Write a nursing career vision statement that precisely encompasses what kind of nurse you want to be, what kind of health care environment you want to work in and what qualifications you need to get there.
Create a Strategic Nursing Plan
After your assessment and career vision development, create a strategic plan for your nursing career and document it in writing. Include your career goals, action steps you’ll take to make it happen, resources you have and will need, your career timelines and identify the indicators of success. Create a well-planned, organized document that you can refer to and adjust with changing circumstances. You’ll need to review your career plan when you complete your nursing education and enter the field of nursing, when you advance in your career, if you change specialties and when you prepare to retire.
An important part of any career plan is marketing yourself. For your nursing career plan, you must market your nursing skills, experience and qualifications in the healthcare industry. Prepare to effectively communicate your professional and personal qualities to convince health care employers that you have the nursing qualities to meet the demands and challenges of their nursing positions, both on paper and in person during interviews. Be sure you incorporate an understanding of the latest trends in health care in your resume, your interview skills and when networking and seeking mentors.
The key to a long and successful career in nursing starts with an honest self-assessment of where you currently are and where you want to be, followed by the establishment of a solid and comprehensive plan of action that will get you there. Remember: The first step in getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are!
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Advancing Your Nursing Career
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