Nursing Career Tips: A Simple System to Enjoying Your Profession

by | Apr 6, 2015 | 22 comments

4 Simple Steps to Enjoying Your Nursing Career #nursingfromwithinThere tend to be oh-so-many reasons why nursing careers can go awry. For one, the challenging work environments can completely burn us out. Patient acuity, adequate staffing, and provider conflict are all real world challenges for today’s nurse professional. Add to the work environment the global shifts in healthcare and the personal growth each nurse goes through during their career and you’ve got a recipe for hardship.

On the other hand, we have nurse professionals thriving in their nursing careers. But these men and women are also at risk for feeling disengaged with their nursing jobs. Why is that? Sometimes we reach a plateau, feeling like there is no where else to go in our careers. Other times we experience great loss at work- maybe a patient passed on or a mentor retired. Finally, we may feel stagnated by doing the ‘same old thing’ day in and day out.

Well, as always, there is more than one way to view a situation. I like to think about it as a shift in our perspective. Sure, we can look at our nursing careers and feel heavy, negative emotions. Or we can observe our day-to-day life, reflect upon where we find ourselves and find growth opportunities.

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  • Come Present. The first step is foundational to re-charging your nursing career. What if you’re not even aware of how you feel? How can you grow, develop or change if you’re distracted, avoiding or unclear? What you need to start off with is a practice that allows you to pause and come present. The best way to make any change is to know where you are starting from and where you’d like to go. This information can help you figure out the best choice to make in terms of your nursing career.
  • 4 Simple Steps to Enjoying Your Nursing Career #nursingfromwithinLet Go. This second step refers to clearing the clutter. Once you are mindful of the distractions, dislikes and discomfort of your nursing job- you’ve got to do something about it. Is it time to let go of a resentment you are holding onto about a boss? Can you let go of your ill will with the co-worker who wronged you? The things we hold onto actually start to take hold of us. When we allow these ‘things’ to grip us with iron clad fists, they hold us back from what we truly want out of work.
  • Allow Appreciation. Now we start to introduce the ‘fun’ stuff. Because we made room through releasing and clearing in the previous step, we now can invite in more joy. More gratitude. More optimism. More love, light and fun. Here I encourage you to figure out what you love about nursing. Remember the ‘good stuff’. Ask yourself what lifts you up? How does your nursing career allow you to thrive? Bring more joy, appreciation and energy into your work by paying attention to the positive.
  • Your Authentic Self Knows Best. This final step sets the course for an entire career. This may be the ‘last’ part of this process, but it’s the beginning of your journey. So often in life, once we become adults, we lose our true sense of self. We wear so many ‘hats’: spouse, parent, employee, member, student, friend, sibling, etc. In addition to our roles, we are part of the nursing profession as a whole and while this can be a very great thing- it can also cause us to lose who we are in the crowd. When we tap back into who we truly are as unique and special individuals- and let that person who up each and every day in our nursing careers- then, and only then, will we love our nursing jobs again.

This certainly is an introduction and overview to a system that can deeply studied. While I introduced to you the overarching steps here, each part of this process really does have sub-steps we can travel to make this work in our nursing careers. If you’re looking to take your job to the next level, I invite you to consider checking out my book, ‘Nursing from Within’ which goes into this four-step process in more detail (click here to grab your copy).

Those of you reading who have started working on this process in your nursing career journey- I’d love to hear from you how it is going. Those reading who have questions- please leave them here. And for everyone else, what parts of this process resonate with you? How will you begin this journey of connection with the nurse within? Thanks for reading and leave a comment below to share.

22 Comments

  1. Janice McAlarnen

    Good article. Sounds like me. I have given up on further work, however, in Nursing. Too many toxic people and systems. The ANA is so far behind in supporting its Nurses. It is 2015, and just now a bill is introduced to Congress about safe staffing ratios?

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Hi Janice,
      Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your comments. I appreciate you reading and taking the time to share. Enjoy the day, Elizabeth

      Reply
  2. Daniella D.

    Thank you for sharing this with me. Great information for all professions. Application of a new mindset can help with our appreciation and enjoyment.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      You are so welcome. I am glad that you enjoyed it and see it as useful for all professions.

      Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Wonderful, glad to hear you enjoyed the article. Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  3. Heather Shaw

    I love the flavor of taking personal responsibility for job & career satisfaction in this article! The step that most speaks to me is, “Allow Appreciation”. During a particularly challenging phase in my career, I now realize that I was missing this crucial step of working through a difficult time to prepare myself for the next wonderful thing. This is a great reminder that I am a steward of my blessings and gifts, and am responsible for remembering and sharing them- perhaps most especially when I could choose to “forget” due to immediate challenges. Nicely done!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      So happy that this helped you, Heather. Thanks for coming by and sharing your comments!

      Reply
  4. Dina Eisenberg (@DinaEisenberg)

    Change is constant and inevitable. Your wonderful article shares the steps to dancing with change to create something even more beautiful, if allowed.

    I’m an attorney who became disenchanted with the way law is practiced in the country. So many people told me that just the way it is, deal with not liking your work.

    That seemed wrong and wasteful to me. Instead, I explored my range of skills and knowledge then repackaged them into a small business that gives me the freedom to serve others, meet my personal goals for fulfillment, mentor and still earn a good income that supports my life. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same with your nursing career.

    Nurses make rockstar entrepreneurs.What part-time gig could you easily start to discover if entrepreneurship is for you?

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Great points, Dina. And thank you for sharing your experience and what changes you made here with us on this blog post. I hope that your words inspire another to do the same. Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts!

      Reply
    • t.mescher@mchsi.com

      Love that you think we are rockstar entrepreneurs! I used my nursing skills and background to work for attorneys to do medical reviews. I loved it. I also used my nursing to do in home daycare while I raised my babies and worked weekend package as a nurse so I made a double income while staying at home. I did a drop in daycare so everyone loved it! I love nursing because it applies to so many areas of life!

      Reply
  5. Priscilla @eclecticnurse

    I loved this article especially the part about listening and being in tune with your authentic self. Great job!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Priscilla! Glad you enjoyed the article.

      Reply
  6. Carol Zackman

    I loved this article. I’m currently in transition in my career. After moving out of NY, I’m no longer able to work as a Nurse Practitioner unless I obtain a second Masters degree. With that being impossible at this time, I find myself struggling to find “my perfect position “. I no longer wish to return to bedside nursing, but finding the right fit for me is my current struggle. I was just thinking yesterday that I need to figure out “what it is that I truly want for my career “. I plan on purchasing your book in hopes it can assist me. Thank you so much Elizabeth for sharing this information with me. Synchronicity!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Wonderful news, Carol! So glad to hear that you are starting to ask clarifying questions to get you closer to your ideal career. Let me know if I can be of any assistance! Enjoy the book.

      Reply
    • Tara

      Carol- why do you have to have a second master’s to work as a NP? What is your degree in? Have you checked out Iowa?? We thrive as NPs here. I work in internal medicine. I have a double masters but many and most of my colleagues don’t. In Iowa we are independent practitioners so do not have to have a collaborating physician. Hang in there! Let me know if I can help!

      Reply
  7. Tonya Saliba

    I’m lucky enough to be able to take a break and get out of patient care all together. I’m practicing “being present” by walking dogs. I’m enjoying my love of travel by working per diem as a medical device educator. I cannot imagine being in the dark place I was a year ago- five years ago. No one tells you this profession will eat your soul. That’s what needs to be taught in nursing school!!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Tonya. Happy to hear that you are taking this break to be present. And dog walking, I often consider that myself since I love to walk and I love to walk my dog!! Enjoy and thanks for sharing your comments on this post.

      Reply
  8. Lydia

    Very good article and I loved every bit of it. I think creating a clear mindset /authentic power is very important in the nursing profession. Thank you so much for sharing this with me Elizabeth.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Lydia!! Glad to hear that you enjoyed the post. Feel free to share with your colleagues. Enjoy the day!

      Reply
  9. Carmen Corder

    I love this! I’ve been teaching for nearly 10 years and at first I felt like I had the dream job. Then something happened… I started to disagree with my boss on some things then my mentor retired. I got to the point where I was crying while driving into work everyday. My passion for teaching and working with students is still very much there and so I am in the process of making a change of shift. Thanks for the inspiring article!

    Reply
  10. Connie

    Great article! Over a year ago I found myself totally lost and very angry about my career and the course it was taking. After much analysis, quited my job and took some time to clear my head and heart. what I really want and what I can do to help other? One year later, I decided to open my own business and go for it!

    Reply
  11. Angie

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom in thos article. Great advice! I am just starting my journey as a healthcare writer and loving it! So, your article is perfectly fitting for me right now.

    Reply

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