10 tips for a successful nursing career in 2018

By | 2021-05-07T14:45:32-04:00 January 10th, 2018|Tags: |5 Comments

The beginning of a new year assails us once again. Resolving to go on a diet? Thinking about working out more often or finding a better job?

Well, we can help you with the last one and show you how to improve your overall chances of finding and obtaining a better job, if that’s what you want. Here are our top 10 tips for nursing career fitness in 2018:

1 — Set one realistic, achievable career goal for the coming year.  Nursing careers are not made in a year, but are made up of a series of singular, doable goals. So pick something you know you can do, and then move on to the next. Perhaps it’s as simple as joining a professional organization you’ve been considering or volunteering for a hospital committee or a shared governance council.

2Make sure your resume or CV is updated and ready to be used. Your resume is a chronology of achieved goals, and you should add to it every time you accomplish something new, such as participating in a research endeavor or volunteering for a food drive in your neighborhood. To make it easy to update, keep your resume in an easily accessible place on your computer.

3 Evaluate and update your network. Make sure you have current email addresses and phone numbers for your contacts. Are there people missing in certain areas, such as leaders in professional organizations or academia who might help you in the future? And don’t forget to thank people who helped you in your career in 2017.

4 Assess your plans for further education. Look for obvious holes in your education and find ways to fill them. For example, have you been thinking about, but avoiding, a certification exam in your specialty? Maybe this is the year you prepare by completing a certification review course. Your education doesn’t need to be a looming, formal, academic program. Your learning should be ongoing, as in continuing education, and fun.

5 — Find someone to coach or mentor. A fun, but rewarding way to give back to your profession and actively mold your future network is to help newer colleagues with their career journeys.

6 — Examine your wardrobe. Make sure you have appropriate, up-to-date business attire that will make an impression when you want to make one, or simply be appropriate when you don’t want to stand out for what you wore (as in an interview).

7 — Evaluate the professionals with whom you spend your time. I’ve given 14 career commencement speeches, and this is my top message to new grads. You are who you hang out with, so don’t spend your time with whiners. Associate with leaders and you will quickly become one. Don’t want to be a leader, but rather just improve yourself as a professional? Surround yourself with professionals you admire and you will become one of those.

8 — Make sure you have a hobby or other activity that allows you to decompress. Sure, you’re a health professional all of the time, but that doesn’t mean that you have to constantly work. Find time for fun, and establish an identity beyond your work life.

9 — Evaluate your current job position. Is it where you want to stay for 2018 or is it time for a change? By the way, if you follow all of these tips, you’ll be ready for what’s next if you decide on a change.

10 — Love the one you’re with — that is, you. Successful, happy people are those who have a positive self-image and are happy in their own skin. Like all of us, you’re a work in progress. Learn to be satisfied with that.

Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN
Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, is founder and CEO of the Forum for Shared Governance and a former editor for Nurse.com. As a presenter at professional conferences, Hess often addresses participants on how to find the right job and steps for building a successful career.


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    Joanne Cribbs January 19, 2018 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Thank you, very good info!

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      Renee’ Gavala January 27, 2018 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Gr8 article and extremely true. U need 2 take care of yourself B4 U take care of anyone else.

      • Avatar
        robert hess January 29, 2018 at 5:27 pm - Reply

        Thank you for lovely feedback.

        Dr Bob, RN

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    payal pawar July 12, 2018 at 7:17 am - Reply

    This is one of the best sites for nursing student whereas students can get proper guidance in simple language because it’s writing is very good and content quality is also great. I am very thankful for this great post. thank you.

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    Liam April 1, 2021 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Sections 5 through 7 are very helpful! Thank you, they will be very useful in my practice, even at work!

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