Make Your Old Job Feel New

Make Your Old Job Feel New

A new year often inspires us to think about fresh starts, new opportunities, and big changes. Some people use the clean calendar for the push they need to get them into a new or more satisfying career or role.

But if you like your job or aren’t quite ready to make a big change, there are ways you can make your old job seem new to you. It’s not always about your job duties, as it is the attitude you use to approach each day at work.

Here are a few ways you can make your old job feel like new.

Remember What Brought You to Nursing

What made you apply to nursing school in the first place? Try to revisit all the reasons you knew a nursing career was a good fit for you. Reflect on the positive experiences you have had that just affirm what you knew when you started on this path.

Recommit to Your Career

Vow to stop feeling lackadaisical about going into work. Take a new approach to decide that you will actively seek out experiences and opportunities that will make you a better nurse. Either change or make the best of the job duties you don’t love, but really enjoy the ones where you get the most satisfaction.

Treat Today as Your First Day

Imagine today is your first day on the job. What are you looking forward to? What do you like about the organization you work for? What are you unsure about or confident about? Asking all those questions can sometimes give your attitude a jolt.

Talk to Nursing Students

Students offer a lot of enthusiasm and energy for the job. Talking with them and hearing their thoughts, their new approaches to tasks, and their hopes for nursing’s future can inspire you in your own career path. They might show you a new way to do something or you might be motivated to even become a nurse activist.

Find Your Weakness

Be honest with yourself – what is your weakest nursing skill? If you can identify it (and everyone should be able to), then it’s time to fix it. We can all get better at something. Find what you can improve and do it. It will make you a better nurse and give you a confidence boost. And you’ll probably improve your work reputation, too.

You don’t have to change your job to make things feel different and new. Take the time and energy to bring a different approach to each day and you might be surprised at the long-lasting and positive results.

Nurse Residency Program: The Next Adventure

Nurse Residency Program: The Next Adventure

Chapter one, part two is about to begin and I am excited.   In three weeks I will begin the nurse residency program and take a step closer to my fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a nurse.  Last month I received the coveted phone call from a facility I had applied to.  After a long telephone interview and two panel interviews that spanned three months, I was offered a position in their nurse residency program.

So, you might be asking, why part two? Well, nursing school was part one—and it was a challenging but rewarding time in my life. And something tells me this new adventure I am about to embark on will be even more so. I haven’t even gone to orientation yet, and drug tests, immunizations, vaccination checks, and a host of other fun human resource activities are keeping me busy until the big day.

For those who do not know what a nurse residency program is, it is a bridge that takes the newly graduated nurse and aids in the transformation into a confident practitioner. The programs vary from state to state, with some being offered by schools of nursing or health care facilities. The length of time can also vary.  I have heard of programs being as small as sixteen weeks to larger programs stemming an entire year.

Nurse residency programNurse residency programs are not to be confused with New Grad RN positions, even though both are paid positions.  In the New Grad jobs, the nurse is hired on to a particular unit, trained, and expected to become a part of that health care team.  Nurse residency programs work similarly to a medical residency where the candidate is moved around to various units, gaining exposure and experience.  At the conclusion of the program, the candidate interviews with the unit where there was a potential “right fit” and if all goes as planned, this area becomes their specialty.

I have heard many a conversation about individuals not content where they are working because of various reasons: needed a job right away; family members work there; or nothing else was available.  The last thing I want to do is have my very first registered nurse position be a disaster.

The goal of nurse residency programs is to give new nurses the opportunity to be exposed to true nurse life while they are gaining skills. The once-a-week experience from nursing school only goes so far. Many facilities institute these programs to aid in increasing retention rates of the newly trained nurses and allow them the time to develop their competence, communication skills, and become satisfied in their work.

The residency program I am starting lasts sixteen weeks, where you spend at least 4 weeks on at least two units. A new resident can spend up to 8 weeks on a unit and then switch to another one.  One unit is acute care and the other is a progressive care unit. Choices range from oncology, orthopedics, and medical-surgical to trauma/neurology, transplant, and cardiac medical-surgical.  The program runs like school where novice nurses are matched with preceptors on a regular work schedule and at the end of the shift, the cohort gets together in a post-conference meeting to discuss their day and what they are learning.

Along with learning the units and the facilities’ policies and procedures, new nurses participate in simulations with “live” mannequins that make breathing sounds, bleed, deliver babies, and go into codes.  There will be special classes to brush on ECG and pharmacology.  And yes, there will be an Evidence-Based Practice project that will have to be completed.  Now we’re really sounding like nursing school.  I’ll pause to say this: nursing is a lifetime of learning.  So if you think you’re done with school after you get your pin and take NCLEX, think again.

residencyAt the eleven to twelve week point of the program, the interviews start. This is particularly important because you want to get picked up by the unit you worked on.  Once the decision is made, at the fifteen to sixteen week mark the new nurse transitions into their new unit permanently, and the position takes on the expected look of a new graduate position. There is a small graduation of sorts upon completion.  Those that have been through the program are not saying much to me about this.  I have a feeling it must be truly spectacular because everyone that has gone through the program are still working on their units, still happy and still smiling.

I am eagerly counting down the days.  I enjoyed my clinical rotations while in nursing school, so much so that if someone asked me what I wanted to do it was always that unit I happened to be working on.  I just loved everything, with the exceptions of oncology, mental health, and pediatrics. Those areas were not at the top of my lists to start my nursing career.  So I’ll be spending these last weeks, my vacation, reading, resting and reviewing for this new chapter in my life.  Let the adventure continue!

Kimberley Ensor is a new grad RN from SDSU, a published author, and is currently earning her Masters in Nursing with an emphasis in teaching. Visit her blog or follow on Twitter @KimEnsorRN

Move Forward With a Career Coach

Move Forward With a Career Coach

 As a nurse, you spend a third of your life on the job.  Shouldn’t you feel fulfilled? If you constantly struggle to find meaning in your career or value as an employee, listen to that voice in your head. You know, the one you tune out when it says, “It’s really time to find another job or switch careers.” 

If the mere thought of where to start saps your motivation, consider working with a career or nurse coach. One way to find a nurse coach is to get a referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association. 

Professional coaches can help align your goals and actions so you can make changes, get the job you covet and maintain a better quality of life.  

Here is what a career coach can help you do:

Develop new habits.  Replace the negative ones with positive routines. Coaching can help you break the bad habits that create or add to your unhappiness.

Meet new goals. Sometimes you need an accountability partner, someone to check in with on a regular basis to discuss your progress.

Learn new strategies. A coach can provide tools for action steps you may not have considered.

Open up. It’s not easy being honest about your fears or saying what you really want. A coach needs to know this information. 

Strengthen relationships. Coaching can help you learn how to build a better relationship with your boss and co-workers.  Think about this: coaching is considered so essential for senior managers in the Fortune 500 that their companies pay for it.

Find balance. Working long hours and feel out of whack? The unhappiness you feel at work most likely comes home with you. Learn how to create boundaries so you can invest time in your health, family, friends and interests.

Learn the truth. As an advocate for change, a coach may not always tell you what you want to hear.  But a coach will say what is necessary to help you find greater satisfaction. 

Working with a coach can move you to where you want to be. Are you ready to explore more opportunities? The voice in your head knows.