As a nurse, you have a huge role to play in the care of others. Being there for people and patients at a time when they need help most is what good nurses do, and they strive to achieve at all times. Nursing is a truly rewarding industry that can give you as much as you put in. Of course, it is important that you remember that you get out what you put in. If you put in the work, and if you focus your efforts, then nursing can provide you with the job satisfaction that a lot of careers can lack. Building a long-lasting career in nursing can give you a lot of job satisfaction, so just how can you build a successful career in the healthcare industry, and what should you be looking out for?
Remembering Why You Are In the Healthcare Industry
To begin on the path to building a long-lasting successful career, you have to remember why you are a nurse and why you are in the healthcare industry. If you lose sight of what you are doing or what you are offering, then you will struggle to have that passion and that enthusiasm that you must have as a nursing professional. If you find that you have currently lost your love or passion for your role, then you need to strip things back and take things back to basics. Look at what influenced you to get into nursing, and look at what drove you to make that initial decision. Quite often, what motivated you and drove you in the first place will drive you once more, especially if the spark has been slightly dampened. Once you have your spark back, nothing can stop you from having a long-lasting and fulfilling career.
Focusing on What is Important
The patients and your role are the two most important things within any nursing career. If you lose sight or lose focus of what is important, then you will struggle to see what role you place or what purpose you have. When you cannot identify your role or purpose, then you will struggle to see how you fit into the bigger picture. So, before this happens, you need to focus on the role that you play and the benefits that you can offer to the lives and care of the patients you treat. When you focus on what is important, all of the outside distractions that are taking away your attention will disappear, and you will once again be immersed in what is important.
Making All Patients Your Number One Priority
Your patients and the care that you provide to them is and should always be your number one priority. Of course, not all patients are the same, but they do deserve to be treated in the same manner and with the same level of care and attention. To build a long-lasting career, you need to ensure that patients are comfortable and content. When your patients are as content and comfortable as they can be, you can rest assured that you are doing the right thing and that you are succeeding in your nursing role. Of course, there will be occasions where patients will not be happy or content, and these are situations that you will have to learn to manage and control (to stop them from affecting you in a negative manner). Some patients may test you, and they may push you to your limits, but as a true professional, you will learn to take it all in your stride.
Being Compassionate, Caring, and Understanding
There is very little room and tolerance within the healthcare industry for individuals or professionals that lack compassion, care, and understanding. Of course, maintaining professionalism at all times is essential, but also ensuring that you are as compassionate as possible is also key to a long-lasting career. Showing empathy with patients and with situations is something that you may need to do multiple times a day, and it is something that you could have to work on over time. When you are understanding, and when you show compassion, you help patients in more ways than one, and this is one of the elements or qualities that makes a good nurse.
Realizing Your Full Potential
You have a lot to offer the healthcare industry. As a nursing professional, you want to ensure that you realize your full potential at all times. If you are not achieving the best that you can, and if you are not reaching the targets or goals that you set, then you will struggle to have a long-lasting career. You have to be both true and authentic to get the most out of your career. If you are neither true nor authentic, then you will never achieve career success. To ensure that you reach your potential, you need to lay out a course of action. Without a course of action in place and without achievable and realistic targets, you will then struggle to stay on track, and you will struggle to unlock everything you have to offer.
Focusing on Your Strengths
Where do your strengths lie? What are you particularly good at? Focusing on your strengths is important because when you can harness your strengths, you can become unstoppable. You can grow as a nursing professional when you utilize all of your strengths. So, what are your strong points? Are you an excellent team player? Do you excel at leading others? When you know where your strengths truly lie, you can then begin to push forwards. Building on your strengths is positive, so take time out to evaluate what you have to offer and bring to your role as a nurse. Pick out your strengths and see how they can then benefit you moving forwards. Playing to your strengths will help you improve how you perform within your role.
Improving Your Weaknesses
As well as looking at your strengths, you also need to take time to focus on your areas of weakness too. Nobody is perfect, and when you can see where your weaknesses lie, you can then start to take positive steps. For example, if you are struggling to communicate clearly with other professionals, or perhaps even with patients, then this needs to be rectified as quickly as possible. When you identify your weakness, and when you start looking to improve them, you ensure that you are transforming yourself into a nursing professional that can withstand whatever the day has to offer.
Accepting that you have weaknesses and then subsequently setting about improving them and strengthening them is something that you should be looking at doing continuously. You need to ensure that you analyze your weaknesses as often as possible. Self-evaluation and self-analysis that is undertaken regularly will help you to be better all-round as a nursing professional both now and moving forward.
Advancing Your Career
When you are in a fast-moving industry such as healthcare, there is no reason why you should not move too. If you stay in the same position for too long, you will become stagnant. When you are stagnant and perhaps not that open to change or development, you will find that mistakes can happen. Advancing your career is a positive step to take and one that can help guarantee a long-lasting career in nursing.
When you advance your career, you realize your goals, and you realize your true and full potential. Within the healthcare industry and within nursing, you can set your sights on becoming a leader within nursing. Or, you could look at becoming a family nurse practitioner. As the demand for nurses continues to increase, you will be able to build a successful, long-standing career by choosing a career in nursing within a number of various roles, from leadership to critical care and travel nursing. Whether you are an experienced professional or a fresh graduate just simply search online on nursing-focused job boards such as PRN nursing jobs you will be able to explore more about the different roles to land your first job or apply for a senior position. When you pursue a promotion or you focus on advancing your career, you future-proof yourself a lot more.
Focusing on Learning and Education
As part of your determination and drive to be the best nursing professional that you can be, you need to commit to focusing on learning and education. Constant learning is a must for any nursing professional. Whether it is on-the-job learning or textbook learning, it is all essential and crucial to the healthcare industry and to the role of a nursing professional. To have a long-lasting career, you need to embrace both learning and education. There are always changes and developments being made and introduced into medicine and nursing, and you have to accept this if you want to build a strong career.
Of course, if you want to advance your career, education will once again play a big part. For example, if you want to move on from being a registered nurse to being a family nurse practitioner, then you will need to embrace education. When you look at postgraduate education, and you look at going for an NP certificate, you will need to get your mindset focused on education. Education and learning will come in many shapes and forms within your time in nursing, and to ensure that you have a long-lasting career, you have to ensure that you embrace all of the opportunities that come your way.
Focusing on Having a Balance Between Work and Life
Finding a balance between life and work is a part of having a long-lasting career in nursing that never really gets talked about. To achieve what you want to and to stay within nursing, you need to have a healthy and manageable balance. If you are too consumed by one or the other, then you will never have a balance. You need to be content with your work life and with your home life, too, because this is part of a long-lasting career.
To get a healthy balance that is workable, too, you need to look at what you are doing, when, and why. Ensuring that you eat healthily – and exercise too – will ensure that you get some all-important me time. When you are working as a nursing professional, it can be far too easy to forget about yourself and forget about your own needs and requirements. When you forget to take care of yourself, you then risk facing burnout, which is something everyone wants to avoid. Looking after yourself is as important as looking after your patients.
Your Mental Health is Important Too
When you are at work, the pressure and the stress that you are under can, at times, be intense. Learning to cope with this pressure and stress is important. To have a long-lasting career within nursing, you need to be as strong and focused as possible. If your mental health is not where it should be, then you need to focus on improving this as and where you can. When you are in a better place with regards to your mental health, then you are in a better place to deal with what the healthcare industry brings to your life. There will be days at work when you feel that it is too much for you to handle, and there may be situations you may struggle to deal with. Strong mental health and wellness, alongside good communication, are always beneficial.
Strive to Be Your Best
To have a career that lasts, you need to strive to be your best at all times. You do not need to strive for perfection, but you do need to be at your best as much as possible. If you are not at your best, then you are not giving your patients and even your colleagues all that you can, and over time this will begin to show. You will never be perfect as perfection within nursing and healthcare does not exist. However, if you always focus on being the best that you can be, then you can ensure that you will have a career that lasts as long as you want it to. To be at your best, you need to evaluate what you are doing, your actions, and your behavior. Regularly evaluating what you are doing, when, and why will help you identify strengths and weaknesses, which will then help to shape a plan of action.
To build a long-lasting career, hard work is vital, but so are the above points mentioned in this article. Use this to help guide your progress.