Nurses Must Think About How Their Job Fits Who They Are, Matches Their Strengths and Interests, and Where They Want Their Career to Go
AURORA, Colo. – June 29, 2017 – American Sentinel University career coach, Kim Dority, says few nurses give much thought to whether the job they’re in is the right place for them. She offers ten questions nurses should ask themselves to determine if the job they’re currently in is the best fit for them at this point in their career.
“The economy has turned around, and nurses are developing an even greater level of confidence in their skills. They may be starting to think more about how well their current job matches who they are, complements their strengths, interests, and passions, and where they’d like their career to be heading,” says Dority.
Ten questions nurses must ask themselves:
1 – Do I agree with the values and mission of my employer?
Dority says this is an increasingly important question as more and more of the medical and healthcare industries move to a profit-driven financial model.
“It’s certainly possible to combine both profit and customer-centric approaches to service delivery for hospitals and clinics and other healthcare delivery organizations, but if this is an important issue for you, your employer’s mission or focus will strongly influence how good a fit your job is for you,” she says.
2 – Do I enjoy most of the work I do?
Every job’s going to have its share of unpleasant aspects – too many reports to fill out, dealing with a difficult coworker, etc. But if on balance, nurses enjoy the work they do on a day-to-day basis, then there’s probably a good alignment between what makes them happy and what the job provides.
3 – Do I enjoy the team I work with, and do they help me bring my A-game?
Every team has its share of complainers, but if a nurse enjoys, trusts, and is challenged by most of his or her colleagues, then it’s probably a good work environment for them.
Dority says growth and innovation flourish in a safe environment, and if a nurse’s workplace provides that, it’s likely that their ability to grow and innovate professionally will flourish as well.
4 – Do I have a decent relationship with my boss?
Nurses and their bosses don’t have to be best buddies, but there does need to be mutual respect and trust. Nurses need to feel committed to helping their boss succeed, and in return, that boss needs to be committed to their employees’ long-term success. The boss may not be as engaged with a nurse’s work life as, say, a mentor might be, but a boss who will at least take the time to listen to concerns and treat them seriously is a keeper.
5 – Am I paid a reasonable salary, with decent raises?
There are many smart reasons to take low-paying, entry-level jobs when nurses are just starting out in their nursing careers, but once they’ve established themselves as reliable, consistent contributors, their salary should reflect those strengths, and be based on a competitive wage.
6 – Can I grow professionally in this job?
There are lots of ways for a nurse to challenge themselves to expand their skill set on the job.
Dority says one of the easiest ways is for a nurse to ask someone whose skills they’d like to learn to share their expertise with them.
Another way is to attend in-house training sessions and professional development programs offered by their employer.
A third way is to volunteer above and beyond existing nursing responsibilities on new projects and initiatives to develop skills such as leadership, cross-departmental team collaboration, or perhaps project management.
Dority urges nurses to take advantage of every single professional development dollar their employer offers, for things like memberships in professional associations, conference attendance, or tuition reimbursement. If none of these options are available, then it’s probably time for a nurse to rethink what could be a dead-end stalling point in their career.
7 – Is career advancement likely in this job?
Dority says it’s important that employers look for opportunities to promote from within by investing in the growth of high-performing staff members and grooming them for higher-level positions.
“If it’s a company you’d like to stay – and grow – with, this can be a key consideration,” she adds. “You don’t want to spend years of your career giving all your best work and loyalty to an employer only to find that your commitment will not be reciprocated. If you’re not seeing a lot of individuals “promoted from within,” then it may indicate a lack of internal career-advancement opportunities.”
8 – Is this job taking me in my desired career direction?
Whether it does so directly or indirectly, nurses want their current job to position them for their next-phase job – the one that will get them closer to their dream job.
“If after several years in your current spot it becomes apparent that you’ve landed in the proverbial “dead-end job” with no hope or prospects for taking your skills in new directions, then it might be time to accept that reality and consider alternatives,” says Dority.
9 – Is my employer keeping up with advances in medical care or healthcare delivery?
Working for an organization that’s not investing the funds necessary to stay current with technology advances and process improvements not only makes it more difficult for nurses to do their job well, it also hurts their competitiveness in the job market if other job applicants are familiar with technologies they’ve barely heard of, at best.
Dority notes that if an employer is willing to make the investment but just needs someone to lead the initiative, that’s the kind of career opportunity a nurse should immediately volunteer to be part of, if not lead.
10 – Are there ways my job can help me increase my network and/or professional visibility?
Some jobs are worth staying with just because they provide a nurse with an incredible opportunity to grow their career by expanding their network of professional connections or increasing their professional visibility.
Dority says if a nurse is asked to represent their company via conference presentations or delivering training sessions or authoring expert opinion articles under their name then each of these activities provides substantial opportunities to grow their professional presence and value in the eyes of other potential employers.
“This is important because it’s helping you make the key career connections that help you expand your professional horizons,” adds Dority.
Once nurses think through the answers to these questions, Dority says the next step is to decide which of the questions are most important to them at this point in their career. That’s what will help them determine if they should stay or go.
“Most importantly, relax and simply pay attention to the questions. Eventually, you’ll find that the picture becomes clearer for you, and you’ll be ready to commit with confidence to one choice or the other.”
Check out American Sentinel University’s nursing professional series blog for more career tips.
About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.