Nurse Keith: Sculpting the Nursing Career You Want

As you advance through your nursing education, a concept to bear in mind is the active sculpting of the nursing career that you truly want.

Your career may take shape organically of its own accord, but more often than not, a nursing career must be shaped and molded into a unique expression of who you are and what makes you tick as a nurse. After all, you’re the sculptor, and your career is the sculpture.

Shaping the future

If you’re a nurse with a BSN and you’ve decided to pursue a Master’s of Science in Nursing, it’s a good idea to understand why that particular educational path makes sense for you.

Did someone tell you that you “should” get your MSN, or did you sign on the dotted line for a more evidence-based reason? How did you decide to take that step?

The raw materials

You can look at your educational experience as the addition of more raw materials to your career sculpture.

When planning to sculpt human form out of clay, the sculptor first builds an armature of wire and wood upon which the clay will be worked. In the metaphor of your nursing career, that armature represents all of your experience, education, knowledge, skills, and expertise up until this point — it’s your foundation.

As you begin studying for your Master’s degree, for instance, the “clay” is the further knowledge and skill that you accumulate through that graduate school process.

Whether you’re studying for advanced practice, research, or nursing education, a host of newly acquired specialized knowledge will be the clay from which your new career path takes form. These are simply more raw materials to work with.

Taking shape

As your new knowledge, skills, and expertise become part and parcel of who you are as a nurse, your new career path will become more clear. As the clay accumulates on the armature and the rough edges are smoothed over, your vision of the future sharpens.

The shape of this next iteration of who you are as a nurse will be in large part determined by how your newfound knowledge is internalized into the fabric of your “nurseness.” As that internalization takes place, you will then be moved to externalize that knowledge and bring it into practice, be it as a clinician, educator, researcher, or in another role entirely.

Sculpt with care

Furthering your education can be a brilliant career move in nursing and healthcare, so be sure that your chosen path will contribute to the sculpting of the career you want.

Making choices based on what others think is never prudent. Instead, rely on your own knowledge and intuition, as well as your vision of who you are and who you want to become as a nurse and a human being.

Take ownership of your path, and choose the raw materials – the clay – that will deliver the results you seek. And if a particular avenue ends up not feeling quite right, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a new material or technique to get you where you want to go.

Sculpt your nursing career with care, and your career will feel like an art form created by none other than your truest nurse self, your very own artist in residence.

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, consultant, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. He can be found at NurseKeith.com.

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