1. Pullen, Richard L. Jr. EdD, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNE-cl, ANEF

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Q: What does it mean to establish your legacy?

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A: Crafting your legacy means conducting your professional life in a manner that positively impacts the people you serve. Your legacy includes the relationships you have, your professional accomplishments and community service, the patients and families you've taken care of, and the students you've taught. This is a continuous process of learning, growing, and self-reflection. Your legacy is the sum total of who you are as a person and a nurse. The word legacy often makes us think of being remembered after we die; however, a "living legacy" demonstrates your meaningful contributions while you're alive.


Here are some ways to begin a "living legacy:"


* Make people and relationships the central focus of your professional goals.


* Spend time with people, having an intentional presence so those you encounter feel valued.


* Continue your education, earning additional degrees and certifications.


* Have a strong work ethic as you accomplish your goals.


* Mentor other nurses throughout your career, helping them develop confidence in their specific roles, grow professionally, and be prepared as the next generation of leaders.


* Be actively involved in professional organizations and community service to enhance quality of life for all.


* If you're an educator, stay focused on high-impact, interactive, and engaging teaching strategies, connecting with students to prepare them for practice.


* Maintain a written, audio, or video journal that chronicles your career to help you enjoy and reflect on your professional journey.



Legacy building is an honorable task. It means that you integrate your knowledge, skills, and attitudes, placing a high value on relationships and developing a trusting culture by being a leader, advocate, and change agent for the nursing profession. Do you want to be recognized as a caring and competent person who made the world a better place? It isn't too soon to start. Nursing students should explore how they plan to positively impact the nursing profession early in their career to ensure safe, quality, person-centered care in the clinical setting. And if you've been a nurse for years, celebrate your service and that your primary professional focus is on a cause greater than yourself.




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Sullivan EJ. Becoming Influential: A Guide for Nurses. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Pearson; 2013.