3 Ways to Move Your Nursing Career Forward
Take classes, grow your professional network, get involved
Nancy has been working as a psychiatric nurse for 27 years. Lately, she has been feeling something unusual: She lies in bed before getting up for work each morning, dreading her upcoming shift.
It isn’t the patient care that she hopes to avoid. It is not even the team or support staff that she no longer enjoys. No, this is something different: She feels stuck. For a few months, Nancy has been bored. She goes to work, performs her tasks and then leaves for home. She has been doing her job for such a long time that there is nothing new or challenging about it. She finds herself stuck in a nursing career rut.
What can Nancy do? How can she reinvent herself as a nursing professional so that she feels excited to show up at work again?
Professional Plateaus and Career Stagnation
These feelings of boredom and career stagnation do not only happen to nurses who have been in the profession for decades. In fact, nurses may experience several professional plateaus at various points in time.
- A new nurse who has been working on his or her unit for two years may start to feel bored if no longer challenged. If they have mastered the various clinical skills it takes to actually work in their particular area and do not find something new to learn, feelings of stagnation can soon set in.
- A nurse who has been at their particular job for about seven years can start to feel that “need for change” itch. They may have taken on additional responsibilities such as precepting newer nurses or acting as charge nurse, but even those roles may become so routine that the nurse is no longer challenged.
Although feeling stuck can seem like a bad thing, it is actually great! Why is that? The profession of nursing is so diverse that it provides enormous opportunity. Career stagnation just means it’s time to explore new opportunities.
Here are three strategies for moving your Here are three strategies for moving your nursing career forward:
1) Decide to Learn Something New
Jose M. has been an ICU nurse for 15 years. He understands the machines, is able to orient new graduates and interacts impeccably well with the physician staff. From the outside looking in, Jose is a model ICU nurse. However, he realizes that it is time for more.