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Take Charge of Your Career

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Nurse and career coach Emma Soy advises clinicians how they can take charge of their career

A good place to start with designing a career plan is with a career evaluation. Being able to perform a good assessment will help you determine where you are, what you want to accomplish this year and what steps are needed for you to take in order to reach your destination. The ideal nursing position should be a position that offers growth, challenge and fulfilment.

Take the time to assess your career today and begin with these questions to help you in formulating your plan.

Are there new skills to learn this year?

Making a list of your strengths, weaknesses and past accomplishments will help you to figure out what you are already doing well. An assessment of your weaknesses will help you to determine your educational needs; it will also help you to break barriers that would prevent you from reaching your goals. A list of your past accomplishments can be used as a reference point to what you are capable of doing.

Are there new ideas to implement?

If you have ideas that can possibly make a difference in nursing, new solutions to problem that you are currently facing in your place of employment, or new nursing opportunities that you want to explore but are afraid to, this year may be the year to begin implementing your ideas. The key is to explore the real reasons that have been holding you back from moving forward. A lot of times fear plays a major factor in implementing new ideas, but if you believe that your idea will make a difference and benefit many people, do not allow fear to rob you of the satisfaction of seeing your idea come to fruition. Face your fears head-on and determine to see your idea become a reality this year.

Are there attitudes or habits that need to change?

Old habits and attitudes have a way of holding you back. If you not address it properly, you will hinder your career plans. If you are the kind of person who has a low tolerance for change, resolve to start addressing this problem. One of the changes around us today that nurses must begin to embrace is technology. Technology is invading every area of our lives, and for your career to continue to thrive you have to start embracing the new world of emails, blogs, webinars, teleclasses and virtual communities. Do not continue to hold on to old ways of doing things. Allow yourself to explore the new world of technology for your career advancement.

Are there new possibilities to explore?

The nursing profession offers endless opportunities to nurses; yet, there are many nurses who only dream of the possibilities and never attempt to explore them. Stop dreaming of the different type of nursing specialties that are available. If you are currently in a position that does not offer any growth, take the necessary steps this year to help you leave your current situation and move to a more exciting position that will bring fulfilment and satisfaction.

In 2008, see yourself as the CEO of your life, and make the decision to act differently in managing your career. Make no more excuses, take actions and start taking responsibility for your nursing career. The more responsibility that you take for your life, the more content and fulfilled you will be.

Emma Soy, RN, BSN Career Coach has over 17 years in paediatric nursing, home health and healthcare management. She is founder of the Nursing Shepherd, a resource for nurses who wants to take control of their career and fulfill potential success in nursing.

To receive 15 minutes of coaching session with Emma, sign up for her e-newsletters at

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