This article was provided by: CareerStaff Unlimited.
A new year is here, and for many health professionals, that means a time to seek new career opportunities. While some are content to find an assignment in the same setting — or even the same building — many others have a bigger change in mind. For those of you looking to take your nursing career in a new direction in 2022, here are a few things to consider.
Step 1: Take stock of what’s important.
Before you begin your search for a new nursing career path — or, at the very least, before you make a decision to accept a new assignment—make sure that you’ve taken the time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished in your career so far (or haven’t, as the case may be).
That means taking a real consideration of what’s worked and what hasn’t in your career up to this point. Have you enjoyed working in the type of facilities you’ve been assigned to, or is it time for a change? You may discover that something you’re struggling with is something you can fix — i.e., the setting or facility type or the size of the town you work in.
Step 2: Clearly define your goals.
“The research is clear,” writes Ashley Stahl at Forbes, “people who set goals are more successful.” Stahl goes on to outline some advice for setting and sticking to goals — specifically, making sure it’s specific and clear by putting it in writing.
And now that you’ve taken stock of your past, you can be more specific in your goals for the future. That’s very important, Stahl notes: “If your career plan is to one day become a manager, that’s great,” she writes. “But it’s also vague. Get even more clear by setting goals like ‘manage a team of 5 or more senior employees by January .’ This goal just got much easier to visualize.”
Step 3: Prioritize your personal satisfaction.
When you’re setting your goals, don’t forget to consider your own satisfaction, on the personal as well as the professional level. If you’ve been developing the right kinds of skills and experience but not really feeling happy or fulfilled, then you want to consider why that is — and do what you can to correct it.
Thanks to the possibilities of virtual care and the huge demand for nurses and clinicians pretty much across the board, there are more opportunities than ever. That means that you’ll have more chances to move into a new environment. So, think about what really makes you happy — everything from the size of your team to the city you work in — and work on adapting your career to that standard.
Step 4: Update your CV, stat!
As important as it is to keep your CV as updated as possible, we know it’s also time-consuming. But make no mistake: If you’re seeking a new clinical or nursing career opportunity, it’s essential to revisit your CV, stat. You don’t want to miss a great opportunity because you had to quickly create a new CV before you could apply!
But the idea isn’t just to make sure this important document is up to date, but that it also best reflects your skillset. For instance, if you have experience working in a specific type of facility like an educational or correctional institution, that can be a valuable item to highlight. Doing so demonstrates not just clinical skills but also your versatility and ability to work in a variety of settings.
Step 5: Work on your network.
With every assignment you work, you’re meeting new people and making new relationships. Besides the basic fulfillment of making friends, this is also part of building a professional network that can, in turn, provide essential benefits like endorsements, recommendations, and referrals.
Today, networking has taken on new dimensions thanks to LinkedIn, the social networking platform for working professionals. Most people who work in healthcare have at least a basic presence on this important site. Many hospitals, health networks, and recruiters are active on LinkedIn, so taking the time to build your profile there is far from wasting time on social media.
On top of that, those who take time to cultivate their presence on LinkedIn often have a real advantage when competing for the jobs that they really want. If you keep it updated, it can also double as your CV or resume too, and the work you put into one can also be used to the benefit of the other.
Our experts offer up these additional tips for networking on LinkedIn:
- Use professional photos on your profile that best portray who you are and your profession.
- Keep your headline short and laser focused on what you do, and what you can offer a potential employer.
- Join groups to find insider and trade info on valuable topics or certifications.
- Follow influencers and thought leaders to learn more about what interests you in your profession.
- Follow your “dream job” company or facility and their social feed — seeing what types of articles they share and how they interact with their community can help you get a sense of the kind of culture you want to work within.
Step 6: Learn a new skill.
A great way to ensure that you land the clinical or nursing career opportunity that you want is making sure you’re offering something of value to a new employer or facility. This could be getting a new certification or even working in a different facility type.
For instance, if you plan to work at a hospital again later in your career, spending a few months on assignment in a different type of setting like a skilled nursing facility could give you new skills and sometimes a higher level of compensation. Having already clearly defined your goals, you should also have a pretty clear idea of the specific skills you’ll need to realize them.
Because of the pandemic, acute care skills and ICU experience is, particularly in demand. But at all times, employers seek skills like management, communication, and critical thinking — all of which can be demonstrated by taking CE courses that support them. Being clear about this on your CV and during your interview will also help show initiative and leadership — two more skills that are always in.
Step 7: Be ready to deal with change.
Remember, if you’re taking the active steps to reset or even shift your nursing career, you have to be ready for some life changes that may come as a result. If you’ve done a good job of planning and setting your expectations for personal happiness, that change should be welcome.
But change isn’t always predictable, as we’ve all recently learned. Chances are that, no matter how well you’ve planned your career path, you’ll come across speedbumps. To succeed requires pressing on in the face of doubt and uncertainty to face the future you really want. It can be hard, though, so be ready!
Step 8: Stay up to date on industry trends and developments.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening in the industry to make sure you find the opportunity that best suits your needs and preferences. A great way to do that is by following CareerStaff on LinkedIn, as we noted above. And another great way is here at the CareerStaff blog.
ONE MORE CAREER TIP: GET STARTED TODAY!
If you’re ready to start a new clinical or nursing career path, there’s no better time to start than today! You can search all available jobs here or submit a quick application here. Good luck in your search and in achieving your new career goals!