1. Hathaway, Lisa R. RN, BSN

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Where do you see your career in nursing going? Have you mapped out a plan? Whether you're just starting out, at the midpoint of your career, or looking back over a career in nursing, I challenge you to take this opportunity to do a self-check of where you are and where you'd like to go.

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Of course, we all know about the shortage of nurses and are looking at constructive ways to solve it. This is a great time to look at different careers in nursing and then consider making a move.


I challenge you to do a career self-assessment by honestly answering the following five questions. This quiz will help you see how satisfied you are and whether it's time to make a change.


1. Do you like what you're doing, or even better, are you excited about going to work? Of course, everyone has the occasional bad day, but I'm talking about whether you're usually happy to go to work.


2. Do you feel challenged enough? There's a fine balance between feeling challenged and feeling overwhelmed. If your work is generally boring or not what you expected, you can explore other opportunities. For instance, you may want to prepare yourself for a change by taking courses or getting your certification.


3. Are you satisfied with the compensation you're receiving? You may feel uncomfortable talking about what you earn, but it's a smart idea to investigate the going rate for what you're doing. And the good news is that if you're not satisfied with your earnings, you can take steps to change that because qualified nurses are in demand in most areas. On the other hand, if you are satisfied with your pay, congratulations!!


4. Do you have room to grow? I hope that learning and growing as a nurse are part of your expectations. I'm not necessarily talking about moving into management-that's not for everyone. But we all need to grow, try different things, or take on new projects. Branching out to try something new or taking on more responsibility may be a good way to grow while staying where you are.


5. Is your current position a good fit with your lifestyle? I think we all want to work to live, not just live to work. Does your job let you do other things you enjoy, such as spending time with your family or pursuing a hobby? A well-balanced person is a healthy person and a better nurse.



So, how did you do? Is your career running smoothly? Or does it need a tune-up or a complete overhaul? If so, devote some time to see how you can achieve a perfect score or start mapping out the career path you desire.


Because you're reading this, you're probably already on the road to a career that's perfect for you. I applaud you!!


Lisa R. Hathaway, RN, BSN


Clinical Editor, Nursing2006