Like any job, nursing can slip into a place of routine, where you approach it with a “day in, day out” attitude. This can happen to at any time causing you to seek out new career paths or ways to reboot your current nursing practice. This article will give you some practical tips on how to reboot your current nursing practice or step outside to start something new.
Research the Possibilities
The beauty of nursing is that there’s always variety and new options to explore. So, if your current nursing job is stuck in a rut, take a deep breath and know that you have choices.
Look into other parts of the nursing field that might spark your interest. Revisit some of the career options you considered right out of nursing school. Write down one or two possible specialties that sound interesting. Now, take action — go shadow, ask peers how they like it, and challenge yourself to expand your knowledge of the nursing field.
Change your Approach
Most nurses work with people experiencing acute or chronic illness. Look for jobs that change the approach from a sickness-model to positions that place wellness at the center of the role.
For example, a nurse working with wellness at the core of their role might teach a newly diagnosed diabetic patient how to stay in control of their blood sugar levels, and how to lower their risk of disease progression. They might also instruct on strategies to eliminate the disease altogether. Other wellness nurse positions might focus on teaching about preventive measures like losing weight, diet, and exercise.
To reboot your passion for your current nursing specialty, watch documentaries or read books, fiction or nonfiction, about the specialty you’re working in. This may keep your interest in the area and reboot your approach when you read and learn more about it.
Truly Understand the Underlying Disease Process
Take a look at the area you currently work in and ask yourself why you need a reboot? Do you really understand the underlying cause of the diseases you’re treating? Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at the pathophysiology of why your patients are suffering. Expanding your knowledge to understand at a cellular level may be all you need to pique your interest and keep you excited in your field.
If you are not excited, it might be time to look for a new area. This will only help you expand on your current knowledge, so it’s not exactly like you are starting over. Medical knowledge is like building blocks, you can keep stacking it up.
If you’re looking to learn about new areas of nursing, read the journals of the professional organization you are trying to understand more about. For example, if you are looking into being a surgery nurse, start by reading the AORN journal to see if it sparks your interest. If so, join the professional association to be the first to learn about new technology, information, and trends in the field. Joining the organization provides opportunities to network with a variety of people who are just as excited as you are about the specialty.
If you’re feeling down and ready for a change in nursing, it’s important to understand if it is a personal or job-related problem causing your stress. Take time to reflect on your personal and professional roles to ensure it’s truly the job that has you down before you switch positions. Know your weaknesses and strengths so you can be in the right profession if indeed it’s time to change.
Research shows that being certified in a specialty area of nursing increases your chances of being hired by 86% compared to those who aren’t certified. That being said, you may not want to be certified until you decide that you’re in the best specialty for you. Becoming certified can empower you, leading to feelings of increase fulfillment and confidence. Certification might also improve your earning potential according to a survey of certified nurses.
Find People like You
Finding a community of like-minded nurses can boost your career satisfaction. If you have trouble connecting with nurses on your floor, try connecting online because it’s an incredible place to meet other healthcare professionals. Check out allnurses.com or Facebook groups to find nurses like you. Sometimes, working in an area with low morale can make you fall into a negative mindset. Meeting people online can spark your positivity for the specialty where you currently work.
All of these tips have one thing in common – expanding your knowledge. Medical practice is constantly changing, and nurses never stop learning. If you are bored with your current nursing practice, take a look to see if you need a reboot or an entirely new job. It’s okay if it’s time to move on, knowledge is power, and it will only make you a better nurse.
Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of WriteRN.net.