Careers

How to get your career back on track and feel inspired by nursing again

Advice to help you reassess your goals and get your nursing mojo back

After a year thats been about survival, maybe nows the time to reassess your career goals and allow yourself to thrive as a nurse once again

In mid-January, my dad had a stroke, and life as we knew it took one of its challenging detours. Thankfully, he is now starting to make a good recovery, which is a huge relief.

Naturally, I am delighted for my dad, but I also feel excited as the experience of caring for him has prompted my partner and me to reshape what we want our future to look like.

Personal challenges made me refocus my priorities

At the start of 2021, I thought I knew what I wanted from my career. But the

After a year that’s been about survival, maybe now’s the time to reassess your career goals and allow yourself to thrive as a nurse once again

Picture: iStock

In mid-January, my dad had a stroke, and life as we knew it took one of its challenging detours. Thankfully, he is now starting to make a good recovery, which is a huge relief.

Naturally, I am delighted for my dad, but I also feel excited as the experience of caring for him has prompted my partner and me to reshape what we want our future to look like.

Personal challenges made me refocus my priorities

At the start of 2021, I thought I knew what I wanted from my career. But the challenges of the past few months, including seeing my relatively fit dad disintegrate overnight, have really made me focus on what is important.

I’m a big fan of author Simon Sinek, whose work focuses on finding fulfilment and your ‘why’. During the course of my dad’s illness, I realised I had been focusing solely on what I did as my ‘why’.

‘This past year has highlighted how none of us know when the next curve ball is going to hit us. We have all experienced the extreme fragility of life. Survival has taken priority, with any pre-pandemic goals or career aspirations falling by the wayside’

My actions were my driving force, and as there was always something else I felt I should to be doing, it was hard to feel truly satisfied or even take pleasure from my achievements.

A bit of soul-searching later, I have re-framed this so that the impact of my work, both personally and professionally, is helping to steer the direction I want to go in. It is a subtle change, but it has really revitalised me.

Tips for getting your career back on track

  • If you had a magic wand, where would you like to nurse? Think about the clinical area or specialty – what would it offer you that you aren’t getting just now? How would you feel knowing you are in your perfect role? What impact would that have on you and those around you?
  • List the skills you think you would need to obtain your ideal post. Which are the most important ones you need to work on?
  • What opportunities are there in your current role which would help you feel more confident in developing these skills? Ask your manager for guidance if you are unsure
  • If this post was advertised tomorrow, are you ready to apply? If not, what would help you get there? Remember to update your CV and think about your non-clinical skills. It is also worth brushing up on your presentation skills and interview technique
  • As well as understanding what you can’t do yet, it is important to recognise your existing strengths. This can help replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. Think about nurturing the skills you have that would be an asset in this new post – what can you do to ensure you stay competent and confident in these areas?

Pre-pandemic career goals have had to take a back seat – until now

This past year has highlighted how none of us know when the next curve ball is going to hit us. We have all experienced the extreme fragility of life, which has been all-consuming. Survival has taken priority over thriving, with any pre-pandemic goals or career aspirations likely to have fallen by the wayside.

‘If you are looking at other nurses in your team and thinking they are more capable than you, try to remember they are probably thinking the same. The pandemic has been ideal for fostering imposter syndrome’

But that doesn’t mean you cannot revisit or reshape them, and you don’t need to wait until that mythical day when you feel fully ready. Although it may seem counterintuitive, putting energy into your career can often help when you feel exhausted or burned out.

Believe you can feel inspired by nursing again

First, you need to believe that you can feel inspired again. I’m sure many of you will have asked yourselves ‘is this really worth it?’ at some point over the past year. This is a perfectly normal response to extraordinary circumstances, so don’t worry if you have temporarily lost your ‘oomph.’

And if you are looking at other nurses in your team and thinking they are more capable than you, try to remember that they are probably thinking the same. The pandemic has been ideal for fostering imposter syndrome, but you can start to make small changes today that will help you feel you are moving forward in your nursing career.

The trick is to ensure you focus your energies on what truly inspires you, rather than what you think a ‘good nurse’ should be aiming for.


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