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How to Be a Better Nurse in 2019: 8 Career Changing Tips

Are you one of the approximately 4 million registered nurses in the United States?

Have you been feeling a bit stagnant in your career? Do you want to learn how you can perform better in your job and serve your patients more effectively?

If you’ve been wondering how to be a better nurse, these eight tips will help you achieve your goals. Start putting them into practice today!

1. Reflect on Your Career Goals

If you have been working as a nurse for quite a while, it’s easy to settle into a routine and feel bored or dissatisfied with your career.

One way to ensure you’re continuously growing and become a better nurse is to take time to regularly reflect on your career goals.

Sit down and think about where you’d like to see yourself in the next six months, year, and five years from now.

Think about your career goals, then start writing out a detailed plan to figure out how you’re going to accomplish them.

Taking time to reflect on your goals can reignite your fire and inspire you to push yourself farther as a nurse.

2. Stay Organized

As a busy nurse, it’s easy for charts and files to get out of order when you’re working with several patients at once.

This lack of order can, in turn, cause you to feel stressed out and overwhelmed.

If you want to be a better nurse, make an effort to set up an organizational system that works and helps you easily find the information you need.

That way, when an emergency happens, you won’t miss a beat and will be able to stay calm when you need to locate a patient’s file or find some other piece of information. 

3. Challenge Yourself

Sometimes, you need to give yourself an additional challenge. If you’re never pushing yourself, you’re never going to become a better nurse.  

There are lots of different ways in which you can challenge yourself as a nurse, many of which are very different from your day-to-day responsibilities.

Maybe you can join a committee or participate in a research project. Maybe you can write or review articles for a nursing journal. 

If you would like to take on more responsibility but aren’t sure where to begin, start by speaking to your supervisor or nurse manager. There are probably lots of projects going on — you just need to ask about them!

4. Participate in Continuing Education Courses

The field of nursing is always changing, and it’s important to make sure you’re always learning about the latest tools and techniques out there.

As a nurse, you already have to do 30 hours of continuing education every time you renew your certification. But, consider going beyond this minimum requirement.

Try getting certified in a new specialty or adding to your other certifications.

You can also attend conferences or read more about webinars and other events to help nurses learn more and gain new skills.

This will require some extra work, of course. But, a little extra work is usually what you need to level up and become better at your job.

5. Take a Class in Something Non-Nursing Related

In addition to taking nursing-related classes, you might also want to take a class in something not related to your career as a nurse. For example, try taking a class in something like public speaking or business management.

These courses will likely include a lot of information that will transfer over to the nursing field.

They also provide you with an opportunity to learn new skills and shake up your regular routine. 

6. Manage Your Stress

Whether you’ve been a nurse for two years or twenty, you know how stressful it can be. Maybe you’re even one of the two-thirds of nurses who have considered quitting because of the stress involved in their job. 

If you don’t manage your stress effectively, you’re more likely to end up feeling burned out and unmotivated. This, in turn, can negatively affect your performance.

There are lots of things you can do to start managing the stress associated with your job.

Try taking up a mindfulness practice like meditation, yoga, or even just some simple deep breathing.

You should also make an effort to spend time with your friends and family on your days off. This can help you feel refreshed, re-energized, and ready to perform when you go back to work.

7. Eat a Healthy Diet

If you’re nourishing your body properly, you’re going to have more energy and feel better during your shifts. When you feel your best, you’ll be able to perform better and serve your patients more effectively.  

Keep these tips in mind to make healthy eating a bit easier:

  • Eat a filling, healthy breakfast before going to work
  • Minimize your sugar intake and stick to foods that contain complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein 
  • Pack portable snacks (beef jerky, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, protein bars, etc.) that are easy to eat on the go

You might also want to find a healthy protein shake that you can sip on during your shift. It might not be as tasty as a soda, but it’ll be more filling and energizing.

8. Find Ways to Give Back

Finally, consider volunteering more frequently. Working with a local charity can renew your sense of purpose and help you feel more motivated to continue improving as a nurse.

You don’t even have to volunteer as a nurse, though.

Finding ways to give back to your local church or food bank can also be beneficial if you’re starting to feel a bit jaded about your career. 

Want to Learn More about How to Be a Better Nurse?

Now that you know how to be a better nurse, it’s time to start implementing these tips to take your career to the next level.

By participating in continuing education courses, and managing your stress effectively, you’ll soon become a better nurse than you ever thought possible. 

If you want more tips on how you can level up in your nursing career, check out this article on how you can be a better employee.