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Whether you’re a nursing student or a nurse, having goals is an important part of this career path. Short-term nursing goals can help you focus on the present, while long-term nursing goals can help you plan for the future. Keep the following information in mind on goals for nursing students, so you can enjoy success in school and in your profession.

Why Is It Important for Nurses to Set Short-Term Goals?

Short-term goals provide you with a way to work toward long-term goals, so you can keep feeling motivated to achieve them. Setting goals to work toward on a short-term basis can help you break long-term goals down into more manageable steps. These goals can also give you an opportunity to improve your current situation when you’re earning a nursing degree or working as a professional nurse.

Tips for Short-Term Nursing Career Goals

When you’re setting short-term nursing career goals, focus on goals that you can achieve now or in the near future. Keep these goals smaller in scope, so you won’t end up feeling overwhelmed about reaching them. Think of these goals as steps toward reaching larger or more long-term goals or ways to improve the quality of your career overall.

Pass the NCLEX

When you graduate from nursing school, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX to become a registered nurse. Having a studying plan and taking practice exams can help you prepare for this test. Look for NCLEX test prep resources, such as guidebooks that help you learn more about what to expect on this exam. Work on managing stress as well through deep breathing, exercise or other ways, so you’ll feel focused and calm while taking the test.

Discover Your Interests

Knowing your interests can help you determine what kind of nursing job you would like. Think about what you enjoy doing and how you like to spend your time. For example, you might find that you have a strong interest in helping children, which might mean that becoming a pediatric nurse is the right career path for you. Keep your interests in mind when deciding what type of nursing career you should pursue.

Find a Nursing Job Position

Depending on your long-term goals or interests, you might not find the exact position you want when you’re just getting started. However, you can get your foot in the door by checking with local hospitals and other medical facilities for available nursing positions. Taking an entry-level position at one of these facilities can help you gain experience in the nursing field. You can then use this experience to apply for positions that fit better with your career goals.

Develop Your Interpersonal Skills

Strong interpersonal skills are an important part of being a nurse since you’ll be communicating with patients and their families, supervisors, fellow nurses, and other professionals. Work on your interpersonal skills, such as your listening skills, on a day-to-day basis as you interact with other people. Keep in mind that you can develop your interpersonal skills through interactions with friends and family, as well as at school.

Continue to Learn

Keeping your nursing skills up-to-date and learning new ones as needed can help you thrive in your career. You should plan to attend conferences and other nursing events to continue learning. You might also take time to learn how to use the latest healthcare equipment or learn the latest procedures in your area of nursing.

Why Setting Long-Term Goals Is Important for Nurses

Long-term professional goals for nurses can help you determine where you want to be years from now in terms of your career. When you set these goals, keep the distant future in mind rather than focusing on the present or near future. Think about which direction you want your nursing career to go in, so you can set goals accordingly.

Tips for Long-Term Nursing Career Goals

Setting long-term goals for your nursing career should involve determining your ideal position in this field. For example, you might want to become a nursing director at a local hospital. However, remember that these goals should be flexible since you might change your mind about your career path somewhere along the way. As an example, you might decide that you want to teach nursing rather than continue working in a hospital or physician’s office.

Be Sure to Set SMART Goals

SMART goals stand for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. When it comes to nursing, your SMART goals might focus on professional development, patient care and safety. You might also set SMART goals with a focus on improving your accuracy and efficiency. You should reassess your SMART goals from time to time to help you stay on track or make adjustments as needed.

Determine Educational Requirements for the Next Step

When you’re planning your long-term goals as a nurse, look into the educational requirements you might need to meet. For example, check these requirements if you have an undergraduate degree and want to pursue a graduate degree. You might also want to look into certification options for your area of nursing. Certifications can help you gain advanced knowledge and skills needed for your career.

Build Clinical Experience

Clinical experience over the years can help you advance your career in order to achieve long-term goals. Doing volunteer work, finding employment at a local medical facility or shadowing nursing professionals all provide ways for you to build clinical experience. This experience offers many benefits, such as helping you learn to handle different nursing situations, while also being required for earning advanced degrees.

Earn Your MSN Degree

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN degree) isn’t required to be a nurse, but it can provide you with a higher number of opportunities. You might find nursing positions that pay better or offer a more rewarding career. When you earn your MSN degree, you’ll also be learning new skills and improving skills you’ve already learned. Since working toward this degree takes time, keep it in mind when setting your long-term career goals as a nurse.

Differentiate Yourself

Setting yourself apart from those around you in the nursing field can help you achieve success as part of your long-term goals. You might do this by specializing in a certain field that fits your career goals, such as oncology, gerontology, mental health, or a leadership role. You can also differentiate yourself by networking with other professionals in your field and striving to provide outstanding service on the job.

If you’re planning to advance your nursing career, American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post University offers high-quality online nursing degree programs. Please contact us to find out more about our Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program or our Master of Science in Nursing program.