Nurses who want increased career satisfaction might consider defining the underlying mission upon which their nursing identity is built. Finding meaning in our work is important; our mission and values are crucial to feeling like our “nurseness” means more than just a paycheck.
While most companies and organizations have mission or vision statements, very few individuals do. To take your career to the next level, identifying your mission or vision is a good step. Short of writing an actual mission statement, simply thinking about the mission and vision of your career might be enough.
You’ll find plenty of online guidance for developing mission and vision statements. Here we focus on developing a mission or vision for yourself — not necessarily for others to read. Having said that, if you’re a nurse entrepreneur, a mission statement may be a natural step in the maturation of your business. For now, let’s focus on the basics, not the bells and whistles.
What’s your nursing mission?
When you decided to become a nurse, you likely did so for a variety of reasons. Your mission may have been to pursue a career that offered many opportunities. Your drive to enter the profession may have resulted from past experiences. Perhaps you were inspired by the nursing care that your mother received while very ill, or maybe your dad was in hospice and the nurses made all the difference during his final days.
If you’ve put a stake in the ground as a nurse, you probably did so for a reason. If you want to identify your mission, ask yourself some questions:
• What prompted me to become a nurse?
• What life experiences affected my decision?
• Did I enter nursing to accomplish a specific goal (e.g., help the terminally ill die with dignity, give comfort to suffering children)
• What values do I bring to the table?
• What are my motivations for being a nurse?
A mission is an answer to questions such as: Why am I a nurse? What is nursing about for me? Who am I serving and why? What are the underlying values that make me who I am as a nurse? How do I live my values at work?
What’s your nursing vision?
Your nursing vision differs slightly from your mission; the vision is more of an illustration of what you’d like to accomplish through your nursing service. Your vision encompasses your aspirations, your goals and the lofty ideals that demonstrate not only who you are as a nurse, but also where you’re going.
Think of your nursing vision as the 10,000-foot view; it doesn’t matter how you’ll get there, just where you’d like to go. In other words, think big picture and bird’s eye view.
See it in your mind and heart
When you’re slogging away at four 12-hour shifts, nursing can feel like just a job. Sure, the paycheck helps, but finding meaning in your work is important if you want to hang onto the sense that you’re a nurse on a mission, a nurse with a vision.
Whether you want to help cure cancer, contribute to research, mentor younger nurses or serve the elderly, if you can see it in your mind and heart, you’re halfway to a solid vision and mission. If you can articulate your mission or vision, your nursing career may take on more gravitas, lending itself to deeper learning, self-knowledge and satisfaction.
Cultivate your vision, live your mission and allow your nursing career to be imbued with as much meaning as possible.
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