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.
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.
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?