If you think setting your professional and personal goals as a nurse are two separate things, you should consider all the ways the two overlap.

Why are goals so important? Why should you set nursing goals? And why is it so essential to frequently check to make sure your goals are still accurate and in tune with what you really want? Well, setting goals helps you bring your future into clear focus. They give you something to work toward, something to improve, or even something to change. Nurses who set both professional goals and personal goals and really consider how the two play off of each other, gain an understand of their profession as a whole and how they fit into it.

Having a list of professional nursing goals (more schooling, a promotion) is not only a great way to organize your career path and to figure out exactly what you want from your nursing career, but it’s also an eye-opening exercise to find out if you’re ready for a new approach. But because the nursing profession is so much more than a career and often becomes about how you live your life, your personal goals for nursing (how you want to be a better nurse) will reflect some of your professional hopes as well.

When you think about your professional goals, think about what you want your career to look like a year from now and down the road (maybe in 5 or 10 years). What do you want your nursing day to look like? Setting professional nursing goals means you are considering everything from getting a new degree to achieving specialty certification. Do you want to charge full force toward being a chief nursing officer or do you want to take on more leadership in a professional organization? Do you have a salary goal in mind? By setting your nursing goals, you’ll be able to formulate a plan and take steps to get started on working toward them.

Personal goals for you as a nurse take some reflection of the kind of nurse you want to be and what kind of legacy you want to leave from your career. What will make you most satisfied at the end of your career? Will it be starting a clinic halfway around the world, advocating for nursing in the highest government echelons, or being the steadfast patient advocate in the maternity department where you’ll be happy to spend your entire career? These goals help you assess how to improve your nursing style, tweak your approach to patients, or even adapt your home life with the rigorous demands of your career. Your personal goals might reflect on nurses you admire for their bedside manner or for their relentless promotion of the nursing profession. Setting your personal nursing goals helps you figure out the necessary changes you need to make for career satisfaction.

The two sets of goals will have plenty of blurred lines. Your goals might cut into your time at home throughout different points in your life as you achieve promotions, become active in nursing organizations, or take on more responsibility. And your professional goals might take some personal stamina that you need to shore up before you can begin on that path.

Once you have your goals set, make plans to achieve them.

Setting professional and personal nursing goals might seem like two separate tasks, but they are very dependent on each other. How do you set your goals?

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

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