Nursing Career Planning
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, ” said the Cat.
by Lewis Carroll
Whether or not you plan it, your nursing career and your life will happen. Even if you pay no attention to your career, it will mosey along.
But at the end of the day—at the end of your life—will the path you’ve moseyed down be the one you wanted to travel? Or, like Alice in Wonderland, do you just want to get somewhere—anywhere? Alice hopes the Cheshire Cat can tell her which way to go, but the wise Cat knows only Alice can determine that.
Real life is like that, too. Only you can determine the right nursing career path for you. Many nurses don’t take the time to create a career plan. Those who’ve just landed their first job may be breathing a sigh of relief, thinking they no longer have to worry about their career. But that first job is just a stepping stone in a long nursing career.
Nurses with young children may be tempted to let their careers take care of themselves while they put out more immediate fires—figuring out who’ll pick up Danny at day care or drive Sarah to soccer practice. And some experienced nurses may decide it’s easier just to put in their time and focus on the day when their can finally retire their scrubs.
But no matter what your circumstances, your work life eats up a huge portion of your day and your life. So you have two choices—just show up for work and put in your time, or create a career that enriches and fulfills you. If you choose the former, your job will manage you. If you choose the latter, you get to decide where your career will take you and how meaningful it will be.
Setting your objective
Few professions offer the flexibility and variety of nursing. You can work per diem, part time, or full time in all types of different settings.
So let’s look at some ways you can fine-tune your career. Grab a notebook and set aside some quiet time to think. Start by figuring out what your ideal nursing job would be. Look for clues: Do you enjoy reading murder mysteries and never miss an episode of CSI? Then consider a career as a nurse death investigator or a forensics nurse. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, perhaps you’d love the thrill of being a flight nurse. If science and research appeal to you, a career in clinical trials or research could be just the ticket. (See Six tips for exploring a new nursing career below.)
Founded in 1881, Concordia College–New York is a four-year, coeducational Christian-based institution offering a value-oriented, liberal arts education.
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