How to Decide on a Nursing Career Goal and Stick With It

nursing career goalBy Kris Lamey

Can’t seem to stick to the nursing career goals you’ve set for yourself? 

With a little research and determination, you can build a road map that supports your specific professional goals for nursing. 

It's important to know from the beginning what it takes to land your dream job. Once you formulate a plan to reach your nursing career goals, it's critical that you stick with it.

Steps to Deciding on a Nursing Career Goal (And Sticking to It)

Step 1: What is Your Nursing Career Goal?

The first thing to ask yourself is whether you view nursing as a job or a career. 

There's no wrong answer, but those who set smart goals for nursing tend to stick with the rigorous educational and training requirements for higher-paying jobs in competitive specialties or leadership positions.

If you view nursing as a job, you probably do what it takes to complete the minimum continuing education for licensure. 

However, if you're more career-minded, you embrace education and engage in lifelong learning because you want a unique career that fits in well with your personal and professional goals for nursing.

Step 2: Important Questions to Ask Yourself About Nursing Career Goals

Some people become nurses because they want the freedom to travel and work throughout the country or world. 

Others base their professional goals for nursing on a stable schedule that allows them to spend more time with their family. 

When setting your own nursing career goals, consider the following questions:

  • Which aspects of nursing get you excited?
  • Do you want to travel?
  • Do you prefer a clinical setting or working in the community?
  • When you picture the perfect nursing job, who are the patients, and what skills and training are needed to land that position?

Step 3: Set Goals that Match Your Aspirations

Consider taking a survey to help you wade through the myriad of possible career goals for nurses and find your niche. 

For many people, writing down your nursing career goals and setting up a timeline helps to clarify future goals. 

It also acts like a contract with yourself that helps you stick with it through tough classes and training sessions.

Step 4: Understanding Prospects and Educational Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for registered nurses dramatically improve with each increase in education level. 

For example, positions in program administration and supervision require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), although a Master of Science in Nursing Administration is preferred. 

By clarifying your specific nursing career goals, you can choose which type of education and training you need.

The best way to achieve your nursing career goals is to research and understand which type of education and experience is needed for your chosen career path. 

For some nurses, this means working in a specific unit or hospital; for others, additional schooling allows them to advance their career. 

If you want to work internationally, you may need to learn another language, and clinical positions often required a specific degree.

By learning all you can about your own preferences and the requirements of potential specialties, you can make an educated decision about your nursing career goals. 

That’s the first step to creating a career plan that helps you reach long-term success.

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