Whether we like it or not, the setting of intentions is a key to inspiring nursing career mobility. We can choose to just let our nursing career happen to us, but we can also choose to intentionally sculpt a career that matters. Nurses can have agency in the creation of their own careers, and it’s intention that will get you there.
It’s all about intention!
On January 2nd, 2017, I published my first blog post of the year on the subject of intention. On New Year’s Eve, many people make resolutions, and these often seem like false promises that are simply too easy to break (like giving up sugar, losing weight, or going to the gym five times a week). These aren’t usually SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based), and we sometimes make them under duress as the clock ticks towards midnight on December 31st.
I like setting intentions instead, and intentions can be based on your goals, aspirations, and desires for what you would like to create for yourself, personally or professionally.
The aforementioned blog post is divided into three sections focused on hindsight, foresight, and insight, and this is a great armature upon which to build your intention-setting.
Hindsight involves questions like the following:
- How do I feel about the way in which my career developed last year?
- What kinds of career-related choices did I make?
- If I felt stuck last year, what was it that made me feel that way?
- If I moved forward last year, what were the choices that really worked for me?
Meanwhile, foresight is more focused on the intersection of the present and the future. I wrote:
We need to make career choices that are prudent and thoughtful; if our intentions are clear, we can choose more wisely. We don’t want to take a certification course or enroll in a master’s degree program just because someone said we should; rather, we need to assess what we want and select the most intelligent, affordable, and efficient path to reach our goal.
Career choices need to emerge from due diligence, the collection of data, the honoring of your intuition, and the assessment of how to identify the most powerful vehicle for the journey ahead. Some forms of assessment may include:
- Informational interviews with influencers and knowledgeable professionals
- Web-based research on specialties, schools, certifications, etc
- Plumbing of your own desires and aspirations
- Online and in-person networking
- Engaging with a life or career coach
- Podcasts, blogs, articles, journals
There are, of course, other ways to find the information you need in order to make an informed decision; be creative and open-minded.
Finally, insight can be born from the actions of various engines, but I believe that both hindsight and foresight can indeed bear fruits of insight when the timing and energy is right.
If you can understand your short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals, the paths you choose to achieve those goals will move you in the right direction when you make good choices along the way.
This is all about due diligence, doing your research, making choices based on data that you’ve collected, but all the while not ignoring the power of your intuition. If you just want to quit a stupid job or get away from a terrible boss, that’s likely not enough fuel to take you more than just to the next marginal situation.
What you want to create for yourself is a dynamic process of assessing your needs, assessing where you are and where you want to be, and choosing courses of action that will move you in that direction. It’s like the nursing process, and assessment has to come first. And if your assessment is born from an intention of making a positive change, you’ll be inspired to gather the data you need to make an informed decision.
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Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and has written for Nurse.org, Nurse.com, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.