Help! I Don’t Know Where My Nursing Career is Headed! #artofnursingHelp! I Don’t Know Where My Nursing Career is Headed!

How many nurses can say with certainty where their nursing career is headed? For some there is clear trajectory towards their goals. For others, contemplating their goals is often superseded by the exhaustion they feel from the job they already have. For the latter, I feel ya. Even with my current goals in mind and a job I like, I can feel overwhelmed and question if I’ll ever reach the goals I’ve got my sights set on. Most times, I’m really excited about the path I’m on and everything seems to be clicking right along. Other times, those goals can feel very far away.

So, I’ll share a little secret with you. It’s going to be okay for both you and me.

What specialty/path is best for you?

There is very cool tool at the Discover Nursing website that asks a series of questions about your education background, your interests, the best work dynamic for you, and then it puts them through an algorithm. At the end of the questions, possible nursing specialty perfect for you is generated along with three other similar possibilities. Also on the Discover Nursing site, is a page listing all the different nursing specialties, along with the education requirements and characteristics of the individual specialty.

Show me the money!

For those of you motivated by money, which I don’t recommend because if you fall out of love with the specialty, you may find it difficult to find another equally lucrative position, take a look at this article on the 15 Highest Paying Nursing Careers. There’s also 50 Best Nursing Careers Based on Salary and Demand, if you don’t find anything on the 15 list.

Apps to Weigh the Pros and Cons

Confused by your list? You can use one of the mindmapping apps listed here to sort out the pros and cons so you see where your interests lie and which specialty might be the best suited for you. Later you can also use the app to list your steps and make your plan to reach your goal. Since it’s an app, you’ll always have access to it on your smartphone or tablet.

If You’re Still Unsure of Your Goal

Make a list of what you like and dislike about your current position. Then design a typical day that you’d love to have as a working nurse. Start from the time you wake up to the time you get to work. What do you want to see when you look out the window? Do you wear scrubs or no? What are your colleagues wearing or do you work alone? Who is your patient base? Or would you prefer no patients and a lab or a classroom? What time do you get home from work? Answering these types of questions can narrow your field of choices and give you some criteria to make a more informed decision. And take your time making it. You don’t have to decide in week or a weekend. Give the answer time to gel and consider as many variables in a typical day as possible. The more you consider, the clearer the picture will become which matches your interests to a new nursing career path.

Let’s hear from you! What nursing role do you currently work in? Have you ever wanted to make a change? What clear steps do you need to take to get yourself there? Leave a comment and thank you for reading.

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.

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