Too Many Choices? Best Books for Finding Your Nursing Path

The good news? Nursing is one of the most diverse professions you could have chosen.

The bad news? You’ve got such a wide range of professional options that sometimes it can be tough to figure out just which career path might be the right one for you.

Getting help

To figure out the right answers, you need to first get a handle on the right questions. Those questions might include the type of nursing you want to do, ways you want to do it, with whom you’d like to do it, and what career choices might best work with your personal life.

Following are some great resources to help you start developing your most important questions, and then help you move on to the answers that work for you.

Change Your Questions Change Your Life, 3d ed. By Marilee Adams, Berrett-Koehler, 2016. 256p. ISBN 978-1626566330.

Great overview of the difference between “Judger” questions and “Learner” questions, and how one will keep you stuck while the other will propel you to better career choices. A great resource for making more thoughtful decisions, especially valuable when making choices about what work will be best for you.

Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself. By Henri Junttila, CreateSpace, 2013. 84p. ISBN 978-1492722663.

You already know that your passion is nursing, but these questions will help you fill in the details a bit more. What matters to you? What are your highest priorities when it comes to the work you do? What engages you – or not? These questions can provide a good starting point for exploring answers.

The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success. By Nicholas Lorre, Touchstone Books, 2012. 448p. ISBN 978-1451608328.

Along with What Color is Your Parachute (see below), Pathfinder is considered one of the classics of career path way-finding. It presents virtually hundreds of career-clarifying questions throughout the book, and then provides solid guidance in helping you make sense of your answers.

Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What To Do with Your Life. By Nathan Gebhard, Brian McAllister, and Mike Marriner, Chronicle Books, 2015. 368p. ISBN 978-1452128450.

A funky, graphically engaging “roadmap” to help you get better at making life – and career – decisions. Especially valuable for those who benefit from a less structured, step-by-step approach to decision-making.

The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. By Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, Crown Business, 2012. 272p. ISBN 978-0307888907.

Key idea: your career competitive advantage is based on three elements: your assets (skills and expertise), your aspirations, and the market realities (what employers need). Key questions for your nursing profession: what skills and aspirations do you have that align with market realities (that is, existing or emerging job opportunities)?

What Color is Your Parachute? [Yr] A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career-Changers. By Richard N. Bolles, Ten Speed Press, rev. ed., 2016. 368p. ISBN 978-0399578205.

A well-known combination of job-hunting advice and career-exploration counseling, Parachute can be useful for its focus not only on questions that help you clarify your best path(s), but also resources and action steps designed to help you move your career forward based on your answers to those questions.

Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style. By Carson Tate, Portfolio, 2015. 304p. ISBN 978-1591847304.

Although primarily a book about productivity, Work Simply is much more than that because it helps you identify your personal work style – invaluable knowledge if you’re trying to figure out whether a given work environment will work for you. Assessment questions will help you discover whether your best-fit workstyle is Prioritizer, Visualizer,Planner, or Arranger, and then Tate will help you find or create your best-aligned work environment based on your individual workstyle.

The right job? It changes as you do!

As you work through your potential nursing career choices, the ones that will help you find your “best fit” position, keep in mind that the job or career path that’s perfect for you today will likely change over the years as your life circumstances, interests, and/or personal goals change. And in fact that’s a good thing, because you don’t want to stagnate in a career choice while the profession is changing all around you.

The key is to pay attention to the opportunities opening up in your field, and deciding whether they’re right for you. If so, do you need more education? Do you need a certification? Do you need to volunteer on a project to start meeting people in this new area of opportunity?

Once you get good at asking the right questions as described in the books noted above, you’ll always be ready to come up with the right answers as well. In other words, you’ll always be able to find the right path for you.

This article was brought to you by American Sentinel’s career coach, Kim Dority – be sure to check out her other articles for more tips. 

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