I was thrilled when I received my name tag bearing Katie Aumann, Student Nurse.  I felt like Cherry Ames, the nurse heroine in a series of books which featured Cherry in a new setting:  Student Nurse,Senior Nurse, Army Nurse, Chief Nurse, Flight Nurse, Veterans' Nurse,  Private Duty Nurse, Visiting Nurse, Cruise Nurse, Clinic Nurse, Staff Nurse, Companion Nurse, etc. 

Nursing continues to offer many exciting career possibilities, and whether your hopes and aspirations are related to your nursing career or are more personal in nature, here are some tips to use the nursing process to accomplish your goals.




Assess your current position and your needs.  Determine your priorities and eliminate unnecessary activities and distractions.  Protect your private time and accept help to balance your life.  Plan for some fun and relaxation.  For example, while a clean house is important to me, my time is limited.  I have hired someone to help me with household chores.  In addition, my husband and I visit a local spa every few months or so.


Three areas to assess are the facts, others, and yourself.  What are the facts?  Identify potential obstacles and measure progress towards your goals.  What you can measure, you can manage.  Outline key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your goals.


Who are the others involved?  Networking may include social networking sites such Facebook, professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, or site's that are a combination of both, such as NurseTogether.com, that offer a variety of benefits.  High speed networking, similar to speed dating, is also available.  Refine your interpersonal skills by focusing on communication, personality types, and conflict resolution.  Identify attitude problems in others and yourself.  “You” are the one area completely in your control.  First impressions are crucial, both in person and on paper.  When meeting someone, pay attention to your attire, grooming, handshake, conversation, and attitude.  When making contact on paper, pay attention to the cover letter, resumes, and business card.    




Make your plan of action, such as a business plan including a mission statement.  When setting goals, consider your inspiration.  What motivates you?  Leverage yourself with another goal.  Clear goals provide a sense of direction for growing.  Goals provide not only motivation for the dream you're striving for, but also a basis for decision-making, planning, and activity development.  Consider your capacity.  Can you physically do it?  There are only 24 hours in the day.  Avoid self-limiting thinking.  Eliminate the word just from your vocabulary.  You are not just a nurse.  You are a nurse.  Unleash a natural love of learning.  Spend at least one hour a day in self-development, demonstrating your studious side.  Learn as a group.  Be consistent.  Finish what you start and never quit when you experience a setback or frustration.  Devise a standard scheduling process to schedule in advance.  Plan next week this week.  Match resources to needs, and always keep the budget in mind.  Plans fail when they are incomplete.  While the plan should be as simple, practical and uncomplicated as possible, common errors include: neglecting market research or financial forecasts, lacking specific detail on achieving the plan, being too vague or too optimistic, lacking realism, and failing the 'reasonableness' test.  To develop the plan, ask better questions.  What benefit are you providing or what problem are you solving?  What values and vision underpin your business?  Incorporate the 10 traits shared by successful professionals:  seriousness, wanting to do better, dealing with the unexpected, communication skills, enthusiasm, helpfulness, taking the initiative, cool under pressure, remaining focused, don't follow, and lead.  Many identify the secrets to success to be practicing, knowing your audience, and determination. 




No one has ever built a reputation on what they planned on doing. Organization skills are a must.  In addition, identify your “peak hours” and plan accordingly.  Break large tasks in to smaller components, practicing the 15-minute time rule; perform the task for 15 minutes daily.  Don't do the work alone.  Enlist the help of others, but set clear boundaries.  Help others succeed by not forcing them in over their heads.  Pay It Forward.  Find someone you can mentor and motivate, empower a diehard procrastinator.  Help, but not too much; prod, don't push; praise, don't punish.  Behave with integrity; always be truthful and keep your word, even if you lose money.  Your word is your bond.  Do what you say you will, even if you have changed your mind.  Deliver outstanding service and delight others.  Take responsibility.  Devote extra time and resources if necessary, even if it costs you valuable time.  Don't be a perfectionist afraid to make mistakes.  Set realistic expectations.  Be willing to leave your comfort zone.  Create a bank account to draw from when you are discouraged.  Get your Recommended Daily Allowance of support and encouragement.  Be a cheerleader; pump yourself up.  Choose to be happy and positive rather than negative.  Be health conscious.  Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat right to maximize your best resource - your health.  




Review your goals and celebrate accomplishments.  Define success internally, against your own previous performance the last time you measured, and externally, against averages for others. 



Two Week Challenge:




My challenge to you is to identify three things you can do today to achieve your goal.  Apply a new skill.  Follow up with a new contact.  Do something differently.