9 Tips For Reigniting Your Nursing Career Passion
By Beth Boynton, RN, MS
Most nurses start out with enthusiasm for their chosen profession. It’s so exciting to pass the NCLEX, get your license, find a job, and start working in the real world of medicine, nursing, and healthcare.
Unfortunately, the pressures of nursing practice take their toll on many nurses. Some factors include:
Tragedy and loss
Long work hours and challenging schedules
Toxic workplace cultures
Fatigue, disappointment, or even burnout can chip away at the passion you have for your career. Yet you worked hard to become a nurse and you deserve to enjoy your profession and feel proud about doing important, difficult, and meaningful work.
The good news is there are many things that you can do to fire up those feelings of excitement for the work you do and the career possibilities that await.
9 Steps to Reigniting Your Passion
1. Create a career vision
What’s your dream job? Nursing is a profession with many different specialties and paths. If you’re not happy with your current position, it’s important to be working towards one that meets your needs and expectations. Think about how to make the most of your present job, and then take steps in a new direction.
2. Attend a conference
Sign up for a conference or seminar that interests you, and make the financial and scheduling commitment to attend -- this will help you make ongoing education and your career satisfaction a priority. Even if it means sacrificing money and time, there’s a good chance you’ll meet others who can both validate the tough stuff you’re going through and reignite your passion.
Schedule time to sit, reflect, and answer these and other career-related questions. This may give you clues about what’s missing in your work and what new path you need to seek.
Think about times in nursing school or early in your career when you felt inspired as a nurse
Jot down thoughts about how you felt and why.
How could you reinvent your career to have more moments like those?
4. Have a non-nurse day
Take a day off and don’t think about nursing or your work at all. Plan to do something that’s selfish and fun! Make time for this in your schedule monthly or weekly. No nursing job will be inspiring every minute, so taking care of yourself in non-nursing ways will give you a boost.
5. Be a mentor
Remember how much you admired practicing nurses when you were in school or just getting started in your career? Well, guess what? There may be some students or new nurses who look up to you.
If your organization has a preceptor or mentoring program, sign up. If it doesn’t, maybe you should help start one. Or keep it simple and reach out to a newer nurse on your own. Buy him a cup of coffee and ask how he’s doing and how you can help. You might be surprised how good this makes you feel about your career.
6. Step up to the plate
Doing research is work, but it can have the advantage of helping you reconnect with the exciting challenges of nursing work.
Talk with your supervisor and brainstorm ideas for important challenges faced by your unit. Is there a new piece of equipment or organizational initiative that you can help with or provide an in-service about?
Getting involved shows that you’re a leader and team player.
7. Work with a professional nurse coach or career coach
Did you know that some nurses go on to become professional coaches? Some of these nurses are committed to helping other nurses find joy and meaning in their work.
Search online for nurse career coaches or life coaches -- you’ll find some inspiring articles, podcasts, and nurses. Who knows, maybe you’d like to become a coach yourself one day.
8. Interview a nurse you admire
Nurses’ career paths are often surprising. Find a colleague you admire and reach out to him or her. It can be someone you know in your organization, one of your nursing instructors from school, or a nurse you’ve met online. This type of informational interview can be a gold mine.
Ask for a phone call, virtual meeting, or meet face-to-face to learn about their career path. You’re bound to have an interesting conversation, and it may lead to ideas and connections for your next career steps.
9. Address burnout
If you’re experiencing signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue or burnout, get help. Depression, anxiety, weight change, and substance abuse are signs that you can benefit from support. Talking with a friend or colleague can help, but it might be time for a professional counselor. A mental health practitioner could make a huge difference in your personal life and career.
It’s Worth Your Time, Nurses
It’s a fact that being a nurse is stressful, and it’s worth your time to make sure you have a rewarding career path.
Try one of these tips today, and look for new ways to inspire yourself, find new meaning at work, and move the needle in your nursing career.
Enthusiasm and excitement are not reserved for new grads -- every nurse deserves to feel those feelings throughout a long and satisfying career.
Want to reignite your passion with a new job?
High-paying nursing opportunities abound. As a registered nurse, you are in control of your career. Check out the best jobs from coast to coast on our job board. Get the pay and career path you deserve. Click here to see open positions for nurses now.
Beth Boynton, RN, MS specializes in communication, collaboration, and workplace culture. She is a Medical Improv Practitioner and author of Confident Voices (CreateSpace 2009) and Successful Nurse Communication (F.A. Davis 2015). Her third book, Medical Improv: A New Way to Improve Communication was released in 2017.