Nursing is a thoroughly rewarding job, and one that can be the only job you ever need if you enjoy what you are doing. However, as with every job no matter what sector it might be in, it is vital that you are able to enjoy it and really get the most out of it.
If you don’t, even a career as potentially rewarding as nursing might make you unhappy. We spend so much of our lives at work that this is never something that should be allowed to happen.
In many cases, it will be down to you (and your colleagues) to make the place in which you work, whether that’s a hospital, clinic, or nursing home, for example, an enjoyable, fun place to be.
Even though there will be many times when you have to face challenges and where you have bad days, if you can try and enjoy most of what you do, it will be so much more wonderful. Here are some great ways to get more out of your nursing career.
Have A Goal
In order to really get the most out of your nursing career, you need to know where you are heading. You can certainly enjoy what you are doing with no goal in mind, but once you are determined to reach a certain point or gain a specific qualification, it makes work so much more interesting, and you really can start to get the most out of it.
This will also prevent your nursing job from becoming just that – a job. You want to have a career and a vocation. A job is something you can get anywhere, doing anything, but nursing is different, and this is an important point to remember.
As soon as nursing (or anything someone does) goes from being exciting and interesting to ‘just a job’ then you are no longer getting the most out of it. By having a goal that you can work towards, you can ensure that you never get bored and you are always moving forward.
If you’re not sure what your goal might be, it’s time to step back and really look at what you are doing. See where you are now, and research where you could go if you wanted to. This might mean taking extra courses such as nursing leadership courses or gaining other additional qualifications. If that is the case, then look at learning online so that you don’t have to disrupt your working life to get ahead.
By regularly stopping to see what your current situation is and how you can change it to move forward, you will truly get the most out of your nursing career.
Be A Resource
If you have become a nurse, then it is likely that you want to help people. You might initially only think of patients and their families in this respect, and of course, they should certainly be a priority, but don’t forget the other people around you as well.
To get more out of your nursing career, you can become a wonderful resource. People such as your colleagues or people you are mentoring can come to you with questions that they know you will have the answers to.
This will make you feel wonderful, and as though you are really making a contribution to the people you work with and the place you work in as a whole. It will also show you just how much you really know (which is sure to be a lot); you might not even realize this yourself until you position yourself as a resource for other people.
This will boost your confidence, and in turn, it will help you to be a better nurse and get more out of the career you have chosen.
It is even better if you can become an expert on one specific area of nursing. It’s great to have a little knowledge about a lot of things, but to really make the most of what you are doing, and to become an utterly invaluable member of staff, you will need to specialize.
So what is it exactly that you love the most about nursing? There is likely to be some area that you enjoy more than any other. If this is the case, this is your area of expertise. Learn as much as you can (and you will probably find you already know more than you thought) and teach others wherever possible.
To get more out of your nursing career, it’s a good idea to meet new people who can give you different insights into various aspects of nursing.
This is why you should take any opportunity to make new connections through your work. Of course, you should never use anyone just to get ahead, but if you can meet people who can help you in the future and who are friends now, or at least good acquaintances, then this can serve you well.
The exciting thing about nursing is that you can never be sure where your career will take you. Will you move locations? Search for a new job? Look for promotion? Choose to become a specialist?
Doing any of these things can be hard if you do them alone, but if you have connections who can help you by pointing out jobs you can apply for, writing references, even mentioning your name to someone who is looking to hire someone just like you, you can get a lot more out of your nursing career.
Plus, having these connections means you will have support in whatever you do. You can look to these people for guidance, or simply choose to talk to them about what you are doing, even if you’re not looking for advice. It’s good to have people you can count on no matter what career you are in.
Focus On Your Strengths
It is easy to focus on negative aspects of life and work. It is easy to look at all the areas in which you think you are lacking and become despondent. You might even feel so daunted by the amount of knowledge that you have yet to gain that you are unable to think of anything else, and certainly won’t be getting the most out of your career.
The same is true of mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you focus on them without learning from them, you’ll be afraid to go further and try new things ever again. This will be problematic in your career and will hold you back.
The best way to live your life and to get more out of your nursing career is to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Doing this will show you just how much you really do know, and not how much you still have to learn. It will show you that you are good at many different areas of nursing, and this will boost your confidence in yourself and your abilities.
You must also look at the positive in your work situation. You might be on a ward that is short-staffed, that doesn’t have enough budget for new equipment, and that needs more resources, but the more you focus on the negative, the more negative it will feel.
Even if the situation is not an ideal one, you must always look for the positives around you. What is going well? What great people are you working with? What challenges have been overcome? Doing this will make everything feel better, and you will more easily be able to make more of your nursing career.
Nursing is a hard job, and there will be times when things go wrong, or when the workplace you are in seems less pleasant, even hostile. Since no one can work at their best in a place like this, it is vital that you speak up when you need to. Otherwise, by staying silent, you will find you start to only do the bare minimum so that you can get out of the nasty atmosphere as quickly as possible.
Of course, ‘telling tales’ about every little thing is not a good thing to do. It will make people wary of being around you and cause them to be on their guard. However, when something is very clearly wrong, and you know you need to speak up about it, you should do so. It’s vital not just for you and your own career, but for others too.
You should also speak up when someone around you does something good. People need to be praised so that they know people are paying attention to them, and this will also help them to continue to do good work if they know they are going to be acknowledged for it. Having the courage to speak up will definitely help you get more from your nursing career.
Take On Extra Assignments
This may sound like a strange thing to do if you are already working long shifts, but if you want to get more out of your nursing career, taking on extra assignments can absolutely help you. The education you get from doing this will help you much more in the long term, even if it makes things a little more difficult in the here and now.
By committing to extra shifts and learning as much as you can – in fact, use these shifts solely as learning opportunities and look at everything you can soak up – you will be able to get further along in your career.
Not only will you learn a lot when you do this, but your extra dedication certainly won’t go unnoticed. This will stand you in good stead when you come to apply for a new job or a promotion from your old position. The more you can do, the more quickly you can get ahead and reach the goals that we spoke about at the start.
Find A Mentor
It will take time to develop a useful relationship with a mentor, and it’s not something that you can force to happen – you cannot just pick someone and assume they will mentor you.
However, by building the right relationships and by ensuring that you are reciprocating – as far as possible – the help being given, you can create a wonderful mentor/mentee relationship that will benefit you greatly and really help you to get more out of your nursing career.
The best mentors are those who you would consider a role model. You want to be able to be sure that the advice they are offering is good, so you need to know about their careers and how accomplished they are.
Although you might like someone and think they would make a good mentor, if they aren’t highly advanced in their career or have a lot of experience, they will not help you as much as you might have hoped.
There are formal mentoring programs available, but you may be able to find someone you already work who would make an excellent mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, it might just be that the person you are asking is impressed at your attitude and happy to help you out, knowing that you have the confidence to ask the question in the first place.
Be Professional At All Times
If you are going to be a good nurse and get more out of your nursing career, you need to be professional at all times. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your work, and shouldn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it, but there must always be professionalism at the forefront of everything you do, above anything else.