2015 Career Resolutions for Nurses

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By ANA Career Center Staff – January 2015

With the turning of the year, it’s time to look at where you are in your career, consider where you want to be in 2016 and plan how you’re going to get there. Here are six career resolutions for nurses.

Create a Career Map

Instead of reacting to what happens to you as it comes, set aside some time to reflect on where you are in your career and what you want out of your work, says Stephanie Staples, an international nurse speaker. She recommends considering questions such as:
  • Why did I go into nursing as a career?
  • Why I am in this specific job?
  • What is the one thing I can do this year that will make the most profound impact on my career? 
  • What are three strengths I bring to my clients/patients/residents and how can I nurture those strengths this year?
  • Where do I want to be in five years?
“These questions (and others that bubble up for you) and the answers that ensue could be the conversation starters you need to make the resolutions that will help make 2015 the best year of your career,” Staples says.

Improve Your Workplace

Preparing and delivering an in-service at work can boost your career, says Donna Cardillo, RN, CSP, The Inspiration Nurse. “Consider topics that will improve the work environment such as conflict management, effective communication and civility. Research the topic and create an interactive program.”

Build Your Personal Brand

“Don’t be afraid to submit an abstract to be a poster at a national conference,” says Terri Gaffney, MPA, RN. “It raises your personal visibility as well as that of the facility.” The work you do also helps build your employer’s reputation and the already respected repute\tion of nurses in general, and can lead to invitations to sit on panels or boards. “It’s a good way to get out there and begin discussing your work with other nurses and be seen as an expert in the field.”

Expand Your Network

“Whether you are new to the nursing profession or a veteran nurse, the single most important thing you can do for your career is to ensure that you are linked to others in your profession,” says Michelle Mercurio, national manager of career services at Chamberlain College of Nursing. “Networking is not a formal process where people meet to talk about careers and next steps. It is simply connecting to others to share information, improving the understanding of your industry and having mutually beneficial relationships that may open doors.”
To reinvigorate your network, Mercurio recommends reconnecting with colleagues you admire or who are doing things that interest you. “Ask them about their projects and start the conversation about their interests. Offer your talents if the opportunity arises. Volunteer to work on a compelling project in your area of interest, and then do so enthusiastically. All of these things can help you reconnect to others and will help ensure that your network is primed when you need it most.”

Continue Your Education

In 2015, Nora Tiffany, BSN, RN, will finish her master’s degree at Western Governors University. “Utilizing education and my work in the clinical documentation compliance program at a major urban hospital shapes my resolutions,” she says. “Once the MSN is finished, I am going to complete the process to become a Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS).” 

Rededicate Yourself

Kathleen Gately, MSW, BSN, RN, is the director of quality improvement/risk management at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. When she was 13, her family traveled to Ireland to meet extended family. One of her relatives was a country nurse, and Gately went along with her on her rounds across the countryside.

“She taught me so much about caring for others in a kind and professional manner. She modeled empathy and genuine interest in others. She was the first to demonstrate to me all the heart of a true nurse could hold,” she says. Gately went into health care and has been an RN for 21 years.

“My resolution for 2015 is to continue to follow a quote of Mother Teresa’s: ‘Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies,’” she says. “Small things matter to patients and their families and to others in the health care field.”

She is now a few months away from finishing her master’s of science in nursing, a lifelong goal, at Western Governors University. “I say to other nurses, ‘Don’t ever give up on your educational dreams.’ Advance your education at a pace that is challenging enough, yet provides a balance with the things in life you hold dear to your heart. There will be sacrifices, but in the end, no one can take your education from you. The time to do this is now!”