No matter what career path you choose, it’s crucial to come up with professional development goals. It is important to ensure these goals align with your overall life plans. Having objectives in place is the foundation of your potential success. The earlier you plan, the greater the possibilities. Remember, goals can change over time, so you need to reevaluate them on a regular basis.
In this article, we will cover:
- What professional development looks like for nurses
- SMART goals
- Importance of SMART goals
- How to set SMART goals
- Align professional goals with personal goals
What professional development looks like for nurses
Professional development in any line of work tends to evolve as time passes, and the specialty of nursing is no exception.
One factor affecting the evolution of professional development in nursing is the rapid technological advancements that have occurred over the past few decades. As technology advances so do treatment capabilities which makes staying up to date on best practices so important. Professional development is critical!
You might not know the exact job title you wish to achieve or have any solid plans in place to help you develop on a professional level. That is why you NEED to create goals for yourself. Make sure you choose ones that align with your values and desires and not someone else’s. You do you!
Some common goals include:
- Acquiring skills in advancing technology
- Fulfilling continuing education unit requirements (CEUs)
- Refining interpersonal skills
- Honing a specific skill set to expert level
- Taking a management/leadership position
- Obtaining professional certifications
The more you advance in your nursing career, the more money you could make.
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Nursing SMART goals will help you identify your goals and come up with a plan of action. SMART stands for:
Importance of SMART goals
Setting SMART goals will give you a much better chance of advancing your career and reaching new heights. Additionally, setting these goals can help you provide better care for your patients because you will be motivated to progress as a nurse. Taking classes on technological advances in medicine or the need for bilingual nurses are great examples of how to better serve your patients. Learning ever changing best practices is critical!
When you are incentivized internally it makes everyone’s job easier and improves overall nursing care.
Expert advice from nurses like you
How to set SMART goals
- Be specific: When crafting your goals, include details that allow them to be clearly defined. Goals lacking concrete details cause a lack of focus on what needs to be accomplished. For example, say you are mapping out goals paving the future of your career as a nurse. Simply writing that your goal is to advance in your career is too vague. Try something like: I want to obtain my Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
- Make it measurable: To achieve your short (weeks, months) and long (years) term goals, it’s important to know how to measure your progress. This allows you to stay motivated and keep on going.
- Keep it attainable: Not everyone can become the president of the American Nurses Association. It’s important to set goals that showcase your capabilities. Though it’s important to have ambition, you don’t want a goal you can’t possibly achieve. You want to create a practical goal that you can accomplish in the timeline you choose (weeks, months, years).
- Be relevant: Make sure you set goals that align with your needs, desires, and short- and long-term goals. Ask yourself if you have the resources required to achieve it.
- Make it timely: Creating goals won’t work if they don’t have time stamps or deadlines. For example, if you want to get your MSN, choose a date you want to finish it by. Choosing a date will give you a sense of urgency and help motivate you to get it done.
Now that you understand the definition, it’s time for some examples:
- Become a nurse practitioner within three years: This goal is concrete and has a timestamp. The nurse will have a firm understanding of what they want to achieve and when they want to achieve it by.
- Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing within four years: With the goal of obtaining a BSN, a nurse is able to grow and expand career opportunities . This goal works because it’s specific and has a deadline.
- Become a nurse mentor within one year: Finding an opportunity to mentor another nurse is a great way to help improve your job satisfaction and help someone else. This is a great SMART goal because it’s attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive.
- Earn a certification in the next two years: Nurses who pursue certification have a better chance of moving up the ladder or being able to switch to a different specialty. For example, Informatics is a fast-growing field so obtaining your Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC) would be a great way to advance your career.
Align professional goals with personal goals
When developing your professional goals as a nurse, it’s important to investigate your personal goals as well. Sometimes, these two things conflict. Aligning personal and professional desires can bring you a greater sense of joy and increase motivation. What’s the sense of working so hard to achieve a goal if it won’t make you happy?
In order to make sure your personal and professional goals agree with each other, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want out of life?
- How will my work affect the relationships in my life?
- What makes me happy?
- What are the pros and cons of my professional development goals?
- What are the pros and cons of my personal goals?
- What resources are available to me?
When your personal and professional goals align, you are more likely to lead an enriched life. Try to write your goals in ways that capture your life passions.
Professional development for nurses can take your nursing career to places you never thought possible. From obtaining new nursing certifications to managing more than 100 nurses, your nursing career possibilities are endless.
No matter the professional development plan you put into place, you’ll need to maintain an active nursing license to achieve your career goals. This includes keeping up with your CEUs, certification specifications, and licensing requirements.
Let Incredible Health help you on your path to success. We’re behind you all the way. You’ve got this!
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