4 Career Goals for Nurses

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: Dec 16, 2021

4 Career Goals for Nurses

Setting goals is an important part of any career, helping you fuel your growth ambitions. They can provide motivation, direction, and clarity. Not everyone excels at establishing goals, but if you are reading this post, you have the desire to get started!

So, where should you focus attention to make you a better nurse? What goals will help advance your career? Let’s look at four nursing career goals that will improve your chances of getting where you want to go.

Top Career Goals for Nurses

Increase Technology Skills

Medical technologies and systems are continuously evolving. Hospitals and other facilities use EHRs, diagnostic devices, implants, and other technology that may be updated or brand new.

Set a goal to proactively learn about incoming technologies. By increasing your technology skills, you become a more valuable member of the team–able to assist new users and help your floor adopt new tech.

Familiarize yourself with the latest telehealth system or patient monitor so you understand features, reports, and tools completely. You can also set a goal to become capable of troubleshooting issues, increasing your value even further.

Improve Communication Skills

Nursing duties involve a great deal of communication with medical staff, hospital employees, patients, and others. So you will need to communicate effectively and efficiently in person or via technology.

From a patient’s perspective, an average hospital stay may involve interactions with 17-25 different staff members–and you’ll often be the linchpin for patient care. You may need to engage with lab techs, pharmacology, housekeeping, and others beyond your core care team.

With all these moving parts, it’s important that your communication skills are on point. Are you the best communicator you can be? If not, give yourself a goal of improving your skills in written, verbal, and non-verbal communication.

(And don’t forget that nursing communication often involves interpreting body language as well.)

Nurse with Laptop

Improve Clinical Recording Skills

Charting is a vital task for every nurse. But let’s face it: getting assessment notes, care instructions, and patient details ready for the next shift nurse is time-consuming and can be stressful. To relieve some of the stress, create a goal to make your record-keeping more efficient. Where can you save time logging information to reduce end-of-shift anxiety?

Maybe it’s a memorization technique or a charting hack. The more efficient you are with your charting, the better teammate you are, which can set you apart from your peers. So look for hacks that help you improve time management with better recording skills, so you can end your day with confidence.

Activate Professional Development

Continuing education is a part of your career as a nurse. But many nurses stick with the minimum requirements. To boost your career, make a goal to proactively manage your professional development. Consider enrolling in a certificate program for a different nursing specialty or specific unit. In fact, unit specific certifications increase your competency levels tremendously, which increases your value to the healthcare organization.

You can also subscribe to nursing journals, newsletters, or other publications that will increase your professional acumen.

Don’t forget to log your goals somewhere that you can access them and update, if necessary. And use a SMART goals framework to really refine and visualize your targets.