Nurse Bullying: Does it really happen

This article is an update to the College’s past article titled Bullying, published November 5, 2015.

When most people think of bullying, they think back to the days of grade school when a jerk would shake down a smaller child for their lunch money or give them a knuckle sandwich. However, bullying does not stop after elementary school. A good majority of adults report situations where they were a victim to a bully. It is important to recognize the many forms of bullying and know how to handle the situation.

What is Bullying

So, what is bullying? Bullying, as defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute, is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is

  • Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done
  • Verbal abuse

Types of Bullying

As the most obvious form of bullying, physical bullying is just one type of bullying. A good way to prevent bullying is to be aware of the types of bullying and how to handle it.

  • Physical Bullying: Occurs when someone uses physical actions to gain power and control over their targets.
  • Verbal Bullying: The use of words, statements, and name-calling to gain power and control over a target.
  • Emotional Bullying or Relational Aggression: A type of social manipulation where individuals try to hurt their peers or sabotage their social standing.
  • Cyber Bullying: Use of the Internet, a cell phone or other technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person.
  • Sexual Bullying: Repeated, harmful and humiliating actions that target a person sexually.
  • Prejudicial Bullying: Preconceived opinions toward people of different races, religions or sexual orientation.

Bullying in the Workplace

Unfortunately, in the nursing profession, as in any profession, there are bullies. Nurse bullying is so prevalent in today’s society that in 1986 nursing professor Judith Meissner coined the phrase “nurses eat their young” as a way to encourage nurses to stop bullying new and inexperienced coworkers. However, it’ not always senior staff that do the bullying. Often it is experienced and inexperienced nurses who are both the bullies and victims. (Hutchinson et al, 2006).

In a survey of 521 clinical nurses conducted in 2011 on incidents involving workplace bullying, 102 (19.6%) had been subject to physical violence, 268 (51.4%) had experienced verbal abuse, 155 (29.8%) had been victims of bullying/mobbing and 67 (12.9%) reported having experienced sexual harassment. The survey also showed a high correlation between working grave shifts and the increased likelihood of sexual harassment (Pai, Lee, 2011).

For nurses who may be a victim of bullying, consider the following steps to take action.

  • Report it. Any incident in which an employee feels harassed, is made to feel uncomfortable in their workplace setting, and/or bullied should be reported immediately to their supervisor. There should be a culture of zero-tolerance for bullying at every organization and all leaders should take this initiative very seriously.
  • Keep composed and maintain the upper hand. Don’t lower yourself or stoop to the bully’s level. If you feel comfortable and safe, calmly confront the bully by acknowledging and pointing out the negative behavior and asking them to stop.
  • Be a role model and do not bully others. The negative cycle of bullying will only continue if its victims eventually become the bullies.

Don’t be afraid to seek out help if you feel as if you are being bullied. The same is true while in nursing school. Here at Nightingale College, we have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. Our Learner Services Department and faculty can help determine if you are being bullied, so reach out if you feel the need.

5 Tips to Beat Procrastination

Procrastination is a common struggle for learners. Sometimes there is just so much to do that we leave things for the last minute. Here are 5 tips to beat procrastination and help you schedule your day in a way that is productive with no stress.

Plan your day the night before. Having a plan will help you stay on schedule. Knowing what the next day involves can mentally prepare you for the day; not to mention, planning your day the night before gives you some time to prepare for whatever the day entails.

Make your own deadlines. If you have something due, make a deadline to get it done earlier than the assigned due date. Also, break up assignments and tasks into smaller tasks with due dates so you can work on bits and pieces at a time and not leave everything for the last minute.

Do a little morning exercise. Exercising releases endorphins and has been shown to help people be more productive throughout the day.

Make sure you organize your breaks. Try the 10/2/5 hack: 10 minutes of work, 2-minute break, 5 times an hour. Plan what you want to do on your breaks (watch a YouTube video, eat a snack, stretch, read a few pages of a book, check your phone, etc.). It is your time to recharge.

Set up an ideal working environment. Try not to work on the couch or in front of the TV. Set up an office space, go to the library, or go to a place with limited distractions. And although it may be hard, make sure all mobile devices are turned to silent and away from your work space.

If you need more help with procrastination or study skills in general, contact the LALR department. Happy studying!

Nightingale College Renews Partnership with the NRHA

Nightingale College announces its partnership with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) for a second year.

The College joined the NRHA in 2016 as a Pipeline Partner to help improve health care in rural communities. Unlike their urban counterparts, rural Americans face challenges that limit their access to health care and health-related educational programs. To fulfill its mission of “creating pathways to educational and professional success” and “elevating health care,” the College renewed it partnership with the organization for 2017. The College, as an NRHA Pipeline Partner, offers its full-distance Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Programs to rural areas, providing a continuous pathway for health care facilities to recruit, retain, and support homegrown registered nurses. Nightingale College looks forward to continuing to assist rural health care facilities fight the nursing shortage and lack of educational opportunities. With the collaborative efforts of the College and its partners, rural communities can provide advanced education to licensed registered nurses, and educate and graduate locally trained nurses who are ready to serve their community.

Nightingale College is excited to serve rural America, its health care providers and residents in the upcoming year.

View the College’s efforts on the rural landscape through the Dedicated Distance Cohort (DDC) site by clicking here.

St. George Learners and Instructors Give Back

st-george-giving-back-end-of-dayIt was November 1, 2016. Dressed in matching blue shirts and donning the team name of The Lifesavers, Nightingale College learners and instructors in St. George put into practice the Beyond Self value by dedicating three hours to package food for the homeless shelter and disadvantaged for the Day of Caring sponsored by United Way Dixie and Switchpoint Community Resource Center. As a goal of 100,000 meals, the efforts of not only Nightingale College’s learners and staff but the community exceeded the goal to reach 100,656 meals. With over 500 enthusiastic volunteers, the group put together packaged meals that feed up to six people. Read the full article covered by St. George News. Click here.

Going beyond self is a characteristic that Nightingale College challenges all learners and collaborators to strive for each and every day. Not only do The Lifesavers exemplify the value of beyond self through their selfless act, but model collaboration, excellence, and integrity. Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, boasts a friendly reminder, “It’s the power of the community when we help others without expecting anything in return and the world becomes a little bit better through this labor of love.”

Charge Your Study Skills with Your Learning Style

Understanding your individual learning style makes a significant difference when studying and retaining information. Many learners often gravitate toward one learning style but come to prefer another as they develop their knowledge and skills. There are four types of learning styles: visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Which type of learner are you? Visit with Learner Advising and Life Resources Department to obtain further resources and suggestions on using your learning style to your benefit.

Download the infographic by clicking here.

Graduation of the Fall Class of 2016

Congratulations to our most recent ADN graduates who walked across the stage with their nursing pin and associate degree in nursing. Graduation is one of our most favorite times of the year because we get to celebrate the hard word and dedication of our learners. Furthermore, the Fall Class of 2016 is monumental in Nightingale College’s history. It is the first graduation that includes learners from our DDC locations. The graduating class consisted of learners not only from the Ogden location but from St. George, Utah and Pocatello, Idaho. We look forward to the graduates’ future in nursing.

Missed graduation? Check out the Live Video we took during graduation on our Facebook page. Click here to go to our videos section.

Valedictorian Address by Mandy Wilson

Faculty Address

 

First Day of Nursing School Lab: What to Expect

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Learners in Ogden get hands-on experience with one of Nightingale College’s simulation mannequins during their nursing school lab experience. 

As you prepare to get back into the flow of school and prepare for new learner orientation, it is easy to underestimate all the activities that are involved in nursing school. Besides logging in to your class lectures online, on-ground labs and clinicals are part of the course. Prepping for the online portion of classes is not very complicated; however, preparing for nursing school labs and clinicals can throw you off guard. What is to be expected? Fortunately, you are not the first learner to ponder the question of what to expect your first day of simulation lab.

Nursing school centers around learning how to manage and monitor patients’ health, which comes with developing the necessary skills that go beyond lectures and class discussions. Simulation lab helps learners practice real-world situations on low-, medium-, and high-fidelity mannequins with the guidance of an instructor. It is the opportunity for learners to practice hands-on patient care in a safe environment to learn about taking the proper action when the patient’s health takes a turn for the worse.

As intimidating as it can be to realize you are going to be learning how to manage someone’s health, stay calm and realize that the hands-on instruction you are learning is crucial to developing the skills and knowledge that are required to take care of a patient’s well-being.

It is important to take simulation lab very seriously and imagine yourself working on a real patient as opposed to a mannequin. Instructors will sit back, analyze you as you practice specific skills in treatment, and be attentive to the actions you take to address the health concerns of the patient. For example, when your patient (the mannequin) starts turning blue, you will need to assess why and make the right actions to prevent the patient’s health from declining by talking it through as you fulfill the task.

Simulation lab is not a time to slack off. Take simulation labs very seriously. You will be handling real patients in your clinical experiences.

On your first day of labs, don’t get too overwhelmed. But you should be fully prepared. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to be ready for your first day of clinicals:

  • Dress like a nurse. Remember to wear your Nightingale College uniform. The College provides scrubs to every learner for good reason. Show up to labs in your uniform and adhere to the other guidelines set for attending labs. No learner should show up in scrubs other than the approved Nightingale College learner scrubs. Additionally, learners are required to show up to lab (and clinicals) with scrubs that are neatly laundered and ironed. Wrinkly, dirty scrubs are never acceptable, especially for nurses.
  • You’re in school. Where are your school materials? Bring your computer, notebook, and pen to lab to follow presentations on your computer and to capture important information. The notebook and pen ensure that you can easily jot down notes throughout lab so you aren’t wasting time typing or annoying a fellow nursing learner with your excessive typing. Part of lab is getting up and watching simulations done by the instructor or waiting in line behind fellow classmates to practice on the mannequin. Jot down notes as the instructor talks through the process and is aiding other learners. You can learn quite a bit from listening intently while the instructor is advising other learners.
  • Be conscious of time and respect the time of others. Being on time is important to any career. Make it a priority to be at your scheduled lab on time so you don’t run in late and miss important information. Respecting others’ time helps create a collaborative environment where learning reaches new heights. Do your best to not detain the class from starting.
  • It is a time to ask questions. If there were any time to pose a question in nursing school, it would be in simulation lab. Never hold back a question when it comes to a patient’s health. Often, registered nurses fear asking doctors for clarifications regarding a patient’s treatment; this is where mistakes happen. Learn to ask questions if you are unsure about the task at hand. However, learn to ask questions directly and quickly. The health care environment is fast paced and there is no time to stumble around a question.
  • You’re a nurse. Bring your nursing equipment like your stethoscope and learner ID badge. Enough said.

Simulation lab is a fun experience that allows you to finally practice care as opposed to read about it in your class materials. It is the part of the class that you gain the most experience from as you should always think in terms of action, not facts. Join your classmates in lab with a positive attitude. Simulation lab lasts a few hours and torpedoing the environment with negativity may keep other classmates from paying attention and positively engaging in the activities and post-lab discussions. Not to mention, your future patients will appreciate a positive and upbeat attitude.

Take a Glimpse at Nightingale College’s Simulation Lab

11 New Year’s Resolutions for Nursing Learners

new-years-resolutions

As a nursing learner, it is important to focus the new year on selecting goals that will advance your nursing career. Look back and think of the New Year’s resolutions you set for yourself this past year (if you are not part of the thirty-eight percent that does not make resolutions). Were you able to achieve one or all your goals?

A small percentage, eight percent to be exact, accomplish the goals they set. We get it. Picking a goal and having a whole year to achieve it may not possible and sometimes, life intervenes and torpedoes your chances of being in the select eight percent group.

Although, we can provide stellar advice on how to combat life’s roadblocks, one piece of advice that needs to be remembered is to select resolutions that are specific, attainable, and realistic.

One of your goals for 2016 may have been to start nursing school. Congratulations on crushing that goal. Your goal for next year can be to graduate nursing school, pass the state licensure exam, and secure a job as a staff nurse. Another may be continuing your education by returning to school to obtain a BSN degree.

No matter what resolutions you decide to go after in 2017, we encourage you to review our recommended New Year’s resolutions for nursing learners and add the goals to your list. Plus, we are here to help you achieve each goal, so your resolution of accomplishing a New Year’s resolution will happen.

Make sure your resume and cover letter have been proofed. If you haven’t had the time to start getting your resume and cover letter in order, the time is now. Even if you are just starting nursing school, having an updated, current resume and cover letter at the ready are essential.

Clinicals are a great time to start making connections with facilities that are of interest. In case you run across the recruiting manager, a ready-to-go resume and cover letter will come in handy. It is never too early to start networking with other health care professionals and nurses.

Nightingale College’s Learner Advising and Life Resources Department provides resume and cover letter reviews free of charge and will provide you with instrumental feedback to make sure your documents are in top shape and reflect well on you as a nursing candidate.

45 Tips to a Strong Resume

11 Tips to Writing a Memorable Cover Letter

Get a handle on those time management skills. Your time is valuable, so make sure you are using it wisely. As nursing school starts rolling, you will find yourself mid-semester wondering where the time has gone. Understand that not having enough time to review class material will influence how you do in the class and, ultimately, how you feel about the nursing profession. Give yourself the best opportunity to succeed by learning positive time management skills. Set aside time for both your school and personal life, and for some, your work life. Although nursing school is demanding, don’t forget to take the necessary time to unplug from work and school, and just relax.

Improve your study habits. Trash the useless study habits that aren’t beneficial and focus on the studying techniques that work well. Study groups are great avenues if you do well in that type of setting, but be careful that your study group doesn’t turn into social hour. Have a set schedule before your study group meets and do you best to stick with it. If you study better on an individual basis, avoid study groups and other activities that do not work for you.

Learn about your learning style. What type of learner are you: auditory, visual, or experiential? Each person learns differently. Knowing your learning style will help you prepare for classes that are not presented in your preferred learning style. Majority of people have been taught how to work with information presented in all three styles, but now is the time to zero in on what style works best for you and find remedies to help when dealing with the other styles.

Recognize your weaknesses and work to improve them. No one knows you better than you do. Use this knowledge to your advantage and assess the areas that need a little extra attention. Nursing school will be challenging and will test your knowledge, your limits, and your character.

Don’t let it tamper with your weaknesses, use every moment as a way of improving and building yourself up. Seek out assistance and advice for improving your weaknesses.

Seek help right away and be wary of what you hear. An important rule of thumb in nursing school is if you have a question, get help right away. Don’t wait around. Find out the answer to your questions by speaking with your instructor or with the Learner Advising and Life Resources Department (LALR).

It is easy to listen to what members of your cohort are saying; however, you shouldn’t rely on them altogether. Be wary of what you hear through the grapevine and always ask or confirm with the instructor or Nightingale College administration member.

Learning to go to the right source for information will not only help you make it through nursing school but will help you in your nursing career. Imagine how detrimental a situation can be if you, as a nurse, turn to the wrong person or only listen to a specific person regarding an issue instead of taking it upon yourself to acquire about the correct information from the right source. Scary.

Build up a tough exterior. Nursing is a profession that is not for the faint of heart nor the weak. Keep in mind that the health care field is stressful, and part of nursing school is to prepare you for those tough situations.

Get into the habit of building up a tough exterior and working in an environment that is stressful, fast paced, and sometimes be heartless. However, always be proud to be a nurse and join such a prestige network of health care soldiers.

Set up your LinkedIn profile and learn to network. It is time to get with today and understand how important social media is to your career. A popular question is: Why do I need to have a LinkedIn when I can apply by sending in my resume. Although the old-fashioned way is an option—for now, creating and updating a LinkedIn account is simple and easy; it is your online cover letter and resume in one. No longer is the need to search for the correct resume format or dilly-dally over what should be included in your cover letter.

LinkedIn covers every item that should be included in each: summary that can be used as a general cover letter, work experience with the opportunity to provide details for each, education and volunteer experience, and a section dedicated to showing off your skills that have been endorsed by your network.

Additionally, you can have a set of recommendations from instructors and mentors on your profile. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to keep your career materials current and helps potential employers access your information. Employers now will search the applicant’s social media presence and will determine if that person is the best fit for the company by what they see on the profiles pages.

But do not underestimate the power of the traditional resume and cover letter. Having a resume and cover letter ready to go is essential. Some employers may still request applicants apply with a resume.

Develop relationships and start collecting those letters of recommendation. It is never too early to start targeting potential mentors who will be able to write a spectacular recommendation for you. Always remember to ask permission before including someone’s name and contact information as a reference.

Be picky on who you chose and seek out opportunities to build relationships and network with others. LinkedIn is a great place to join specific groups and start developing relationships.

Access Nightingale College’s alumni network on LinkedIn to connect with like-minded nursing professionals.

Prepare for the next step on your nursing journey. Whether you are heading into another semester or facing life after graduation, be prepared to the best of your ability. If you are up against another semester of nursing school, start off strong by reading through the class syllabus and know the clinical schedule.

If you have walked across the stage with your ASN degree in hand, consider continuing your education onto a BSN degree with an RN to BSN Program, as more employers are preferring potential employees to have one. Being prepared is the best thing you can do for yourself and career.

Complete BSN Guide

Being a BSN-Prepared Nurse

Be curious. Did you know that there is a little over one hundred different nursing areas you can specialize in? Often, learners are sold on a field of nursing before starting nursing school. By the time graduation swings by, the learner has changed specialties because of the practices experienced. Be curious.

Explore the various nursing career options available before limiting yourself to one. Passions for a specialty may arise after taking a certain class or talking with an instructor.

The 11th is for you to decide. Each nursing learner is tackling a unique journey, so don’t be deterred by another’s resolutions. However, these are basic items that every nursing learner should consider for the upcoming year. Think hard. What would be your 11th nursing New Year’s resolution?

De-Stress this Season in 10 Steps or Less

‘Tis the season to unwind, reflect back on the year, and prepare for next year. However, it is also a time many people increase their level of stress. (Holidays can do that to a person.) Nursing school is stressful, but there are influences outside of school that can add to the stress that is already there. Learning to handle stress and alleviate it in a healthy manner is a skill that pays off in the long run and can be applied not only in nursing school. Take the time this season to focus on de-stressing.

Here are 10 tips to help de-stress your holiday season, so you can start the new year off with a positive attitude. Take a 10- to 15-minute break when the stress starts to build up, and experiment with these de-stressing tips:

      1. Listen to your favorite music. Take a break from studying, holiday shopping, or pesky relatives that talk politics to unwind. Lie down on your back, listen to your music, and breath. As a relaxation technique, music is shown to help people escape from stress. Another great musical tip, especially if you can’t focus in silence, is to listen to Hans Zimmer Pandora.  The music has no distracting lyrics and the scores are intended to motivate and relax you.
      2. Stretch and meditate. Focus on how it feels to help eliminate stress. Many of us tend to study in awkward positions, hurting our necks and back.  Rolling your neck and stretching your back will help you feel more comfortable and alleviate some of that stress in your body. The art of meditation is to calm the mind and focus on your body. Focus on breathing by taking deep breaths and escape the world for a few minutes.
      3. Stand up and get moving. If meditating is not for you or you have been sitting longer than 20 minutes, it is recommended to go for a short walk to refocus and get out of the slump. Plus, sitting for long periods of time is not advisable. Simply moving your body helps blood circulation as well as refreshes the mind. For example, when studying gets a bit tedious, taking a walk or getting up to stretch will do wonders. Do 20 jumping jacks, jump rope, or even just dance.
      4. Color away the stress. There are great adult coloring books out there as well as free printable coloring pages and apps designed to help adults relax. Placate the inner child and grab a coloring book. Coloring requires focus, design, and various colors. Set aside the tasks at hand or thoughts that are causing stress and try some color therapy. Coloring is said to develop focus and mindfulness. In a world filled with distractions and stress-inducing situations, learning to refocus is vital.
      5. Laugh it out. A popular technique is to just laugh. After all, laughter is the best medicine. Take a break and spend a few minutes watching or reading something funny. There is a lot of power in laughter. Ever heard of Norman Cousins? He laughed death in the face and defeated a painful disease that doctors said couldn’t be helped. Simply put, Cousins suffered from a connective tissue disorder, resulting in terrible bouts of pain. Doctors did what they could but in the end, Cousins continued to have pain. He checked in to a hotel and watched numerous hilarious videos. Cousins lived years longer than doctors suspected and experienced little pain after. Does it prove laughter has healing properties? No one knows, but what Cousins’ story shows us is the power of laughter.
      6. Act. Squeezing a stress ball or punching a pillow can help get some of that stress out that has been bottled up. People today find exercising a great stress reliever that motivates them to lift more weights than yesterday, run that extra mile, and do five more pull ups than before. Bottled up stress is dangerous to the person and those around them. To avoid snapping under pressure, find an outlet to channel the stress by getting active and using it as motivation to challenge yourself. It can be something as simple as punching a pillow or as intense as putting on a boot camp-style workout video and spending 15 to 30 minutes breaking a sweat.
      7. Write. For some, writing is a way of removing stress. Whether it is escaping into a fictional world or writing goals for the week, writing does amazing things to the mind when it comes to relaxation. Write down some of the things you or grateful for and reasons why your goal (of becoming a nurse!) is so important to you. This will help you focus on what is important in your life and be a visual reminder to you.
      8. Take a shower and wash off some of that stress. Sometimes to decrease the amount of stress is as simple as hopping in a shower. Showers and baths are therapeutic, which is why people recommend showers as a time to unwind. The hot water also helps improve blood circulation, relieves stiff muscles such as in the neck and shoulders (refer to point 2 above). Using some aromatherapy scents in the shower, like lavender, can be extremely helpful.
      9. Pet an animal. Animals are known to help alleviate stress. By petting or playing with an animal, oxytoin is released, which is known as the stress-reducing hormone. For example, therapy animals are widely used in a variety of settings. From treating Alzheimer patients to helping young children learn to care for an animal, animals have an incredible influence on humans. It must be those big eyes and loving heart that captures us all.
      10. Think positive. The power of the mind is incredible, as you all know. The glass-half-empty mentality should be replaced quickly with the glass-half-full idea. Understanding that stressful situations will arise and being able to reframe it to see the positive and the benefits of completing the challenge changes your whole perception. “You do not need to be a victim of worry. Reduced to its simplest form, what is worry? It is simply an unhealthy and destructive mental habit.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Next time you find yourself ready to pull your hair out or dealing with an early mid-life crisis, remember to take a break and find activities that will decrease stress. Stress has been shown to decrease the immune system, influence hair loss, initiate weight gain, bring on depression, and other unfortunate outcomes. When all else fails, unplug yourself by taking a vacation, spending time with loved ones and friends, and enjoy the time. For situations that cannot be avoided, reward yourself after with a treat or event that will allow you to let go and slow down.

Goal Setting for Nursing Learners: Learning the Art of S.M.A.R.T. Goals

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Learners at Nightingale have one common goal—to graduate from nursing school and become a licensed nurse, which is a big accomplishment. Before jumping to the final goal and possibly underestimating what it takes to complete such an ambitious endeavor, establishing milestones and a set time frame for each milestone have shown to help improve the likelihood of achieving your goal. Breaking your main goal into smaller steps will help you stay on track and more importantly, understand the elements that make up the end goal you have set for yourself.

Don’t forget to download and complete our S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet or to use it as a basis for learning to set the right goal that can be accomplished.

What milestones can learners set that together work towards achieving the final goal?

Making a goal to finish your schoolwork on a specific day, sticking to a specific study schedule, getting a certain score on a test or in a course, practicing something at clinicals, and similar day-to-day activities are milestones that you can set to help progress in the right direction. These day-to-day activities are not only milestones of the grander goal of becoming a licensed nurse, but can be individual goals with milestones of their own.

What is the set time frame that is needed for each milestone?

Make a timeline that starts with today, then a goal for next week, next month, 6 months from now, 1 year, or however long you believe is needed to master a specific milestone. The time frame is unique to each person, so take the time to create one that is exclusive to you, your milestones and goals. One of the greatest ways to set a goal is to remember to be S.M.A.R.T. about it, which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Each goal and milestone you set should fit the five categories of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting.

Here are some tips to help you think S.M.A.R.T. about setting your goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Be Specific. Goals that are too broad are hard to define and even harder to accomplish because the goal is not specific enough to be reached. Be as detailed as possible. What do you want to achieve? The more details you have, the easier it is to plan and the easier it is to know what you are working towards.

Keep it Measurable. How do you determine success that you have successfully met your goal? Without measurement of some kind, you may doubt whether you have achieved your goal or milestone. Make sure your goals are measurable. The vaguer you set the goals and milestones, the less you will be able to envision them.

Keep it Attainable. Working towards a goal that is not attainable is not a smart route. Take a moment to determine all the elements associated with the goal and whether you have the resources available to complete it. When resources are scarce, visualize another direction to get to the goal or reframe the way you’ve set the goal. A few quick tweaks here and there may do the trick to make your goal and milestones attainable. Remember to not overwhelm yourself, but do try and challenge yourself with your milestones and goals. Challenge brings growth. You want to be able to succeed, so make sure it is a challenge that is attainable.

Be Realistic. Set your goal on what you believe you can do. Much like keeping your goal and milestones attainable, if the goal you have set is not realistic then determine whether it is worth the time and effort that is needed to accomplish it. Several factors that make a goal less realistic are not difficult to determine. Such factors can be current situations in your personal or family life, finances, time, available resources, and so forth. Be realistic with your current situation and honest with yourself. Setting goals that are not realistic will have you looking for ways to jump off the train before even getting started and will deter your determination to achieve the milestones and goal. Focus on what has worked for you in the past and what you are willing to work on and for in the future.

Keep it Timely. A set goal and milestones are rarely accomplished when you do not hold yourself to a specific time schedule. Establishing and keeping the deadlines for your milestones and goals continuously help you stay committed to fulfilling the tasks and goal. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment when you complete a milestone or goal. Even the smallest milestones should be celebrated if you were able to complete it on time. Set a date for your goal and each milestone to be achieved. Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete your goal, but not too much time which can lead to procrastination.

The sweet taste of success and accomplishment accompanies hard work, diligence, and dedication. The strategy of goal setting can be helpful in all aspects of life, not just in nursing school. Discovering what you want to accomplish and creating S.M.A.R.T. milestones to reach the goal will help you continuously improve and grow. Nurses are constantly required to adapt to new changes, and learn new concepts and skills. Determine what goals (and milestones) you want to set for yourself while in nursing school, but don’t forget to look ahead and decide what goals you have for your nursing career. Whatever comes your way, start by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and milestones—the stepping stones that will help guide you to achieving the goal with less stress and make it a rewarding journey.

Download our S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet and get started on setting your goals (and maybe New Year’s resolutions) by clicking the button below.