Career advice

Rediscover your passion by setting fresh career goals

Work motivation can be kick-started by redefining your ambitions

Work motivation can be kick-started by redefining your ambitions, says Dean Gurden

We have probably all had days where the idea of going into work is as appealing as a slap in the face, but what if you start to feel like this every day?

For stressed-out healthcare professionals, often working in high-pressured, life-and-death environments, it is easy to get worn down and demotivated. At the same time, nursing involves a lot of routine tasks that can become dispiriting after a while.

‘There are numerous reasons for loss of motivation,’ says Michelle Brown, discipline lead for healthcare practice at the University of Derby’s Chesterfield campus. ‘It could be a lack of recognition or a feeling that one is “left behind” while others appear to be progressing. Or it could be monotony and a lack of inspiration in the day-to-day work.

‘Repeated criticism or failing to achieve the standard required can, over a period of time, cause staff to regress and fail to contribute. There may also be more emotional issues, such as low mood or personal situations that are so burdensome that they affect a nurse’s ability to function.’

The main thing is to avoid letting the situation turn into a crisis, counsels Nick Simpson, chief executive of health recruiter MSI Group. ‘It is normal to worry about lack of motivation, but don’t become too alarmed. Your lost motivation may be a sign that you would be better suited to a slightly different role.

The qualifications required to become a nurse and the experience that nursing professionals gain from working to tight deadlines and in fast-paced environments mean that it should not be hard for professionals to shift their specialism or change to a different healthcare setting.’

But before rushing into changing jobs, try setting yourself fresh goals to revitalise your motivation.

‘This could be by expanding your knowledge through continuing professional development, or learning a new skill,’ adds Mr Simpson.

‘You may find that a new challenge, such as studying to become an advanced nursing practitioner, will renew your interest in your role and motivate you to advance your career in the long term.’

Don’t blame yourself for the loss of motivation, rather seek advice. ‘Talking to your line manager may be a way of addressing any issues – it can also be cathartic just to be able to discuss your thoughts,’ says Ms Brown.

‘Whatever happens, failure to address your loss of motivation may be harmful for you and others around you, including patients and their loved ones.’

Five tips for rediscovering your motivation
  1. Speak to your line manager – he or she may be able to help you do more of what you love
  2. Take time to reflect – can you get yourself back on the path you want to be?
  3. Reward yourself – think about a time where you achieved something you were proud of at work. Is there an opportunity to do this again?
  4. Look for new responsibilities – is there an opportunity to take on a new challenge?
  5. Seek inspiration – is there someone who could mentor or coach you?

Source: Lisa Pantelli, director, People Lab

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