As a nurse, how much blood, sweat, tears, money and time have you invested in your professional development? As a nursing professional in the 21st century healthcare workplace, how valuable do you feel?
For many nurses, singing the praises of their value is difficult, if not painful. Nurses tend to be task-oriented and outcome-driven when delivering patient care or conducting research, but when it comes to manifesting the outcomes we would like to see in our own careers, it can indeed seem like murky water if we’re called upon to convince others why they should value us.
Nurses, if you want to be valued in the workplace, you must first be able to recognize, verbalize and assert your own value from a place of authenticity and positive self-assessment.
Recognize your own value
If you’re a nurse seeking a new position, more responsibility, recognition, a grant, a committee appointment or a promotion, your first crucial task is learning how to articulate — in both written and verbal form — the accomplishments, credentials, traits and skills that make you who you are as a nursing professional.
Feeling reticent about tooting your own horn is understandable; however, when you’re focused on professional growth, an overstated humility may not be the best strategy for success.
In assessing the arc of your career, consider how you’ve grown, the skills you’ve mastered, the responsibilities you’ve shouldered and the quantifiable and qualifiable achievements you have under your belt. Once you can recognize the aspects of your career that make your nursing self shine, it’s time to practice speaking clearly and unapologetically about what you’ve done, and then writing it down on paper.
Whether you’re preparing a cover letter, touching up a resume, creating a grant proposal or preparing for an interview that could result in a promotion, what’s called for is assertive and confident communication about what makes you the nurse you are.
When meeting with a supervisor or manager, be ready to enumerate your accomplishments. As you sit before a hiring committee, have a mental list of the top skills you bring to the table and the ways in which you plan to grow professionally. As you edit your resume, imagine how you can tweak the language so it’s a powerful document detailing the essentials of your career trajectory.
If you’re uncomfortable with communicating your nursing awesomeness and it behooves you to deeply internalize it, you need to become increasingly comfortable with externalizing it when it’s imperative to do so. Owning one’s value is the first step towards communicating it, and verbalizing it is a significant step towards having others deservedly recognize your worth.