Ah. Spring is here. If you’re like me and live in a state that sees clouds and a cold winter, you wait patiently for the sun and warmth to return. When spring comes, you feel as if you can get back to your life again.  Many nurses do the same thing with their career.  They finish school, get their first job and then wait. They wait patiently for their career to grow. They wait patiently – okay, or impatiently – for success. They mistakenly think that “spring” or success is right around the corner and all they have to do is wait. The problem with this thinking is that growing your career and becoming successful requires you to add the right nutrients throughout the year. You need to feed and water your career even during the times you think it’s okay to hibernate.

What are the right nutrients to grow a successful nursing career?

Knowledge (food)
Nursing school teaches you the basics of caring for patients. However, you’re not done cooking yet! Knowledge is the food we need to do our job well. Commit to lifelong learning as an adult. Once you master the basics of your role, kick it up a notch. Attend inservices, read journal articles, dig deeper into your role and learn how to be the best at what you do. Trust me. Once you are known for your knowledge, the doors of opportunity will start to open!
Professional presence (water)
Knowledge will open the door, but professional presence will invite you in. It’s like watering a plant. You need to check every day to make sure it’s well hydrated.  How good are your communication skills? Are you communicating assertively, respectfully and honestly? Got attitude? Do you smile? How do you introduce yourself to others? Are you professionally dressed?  Remember, you are sending messages to others every day through your verbal and non-verbal communications. Displaying a positive professional attitude at work can be just as important (if not more) as your knowledge and competence.
Relationship building (sun)
Successful people know that building relationships with others is the secret key nutrient for success. It’s like the sun; you can give plants all the food and water you can but if you don’t have the sun, there’s no growth. Are you involved in your career? Do you go out of your way to support your colleagues? Are your co-workers bummed out when you go on vacation? Are you considerate of other disciplines (dietary, housekeeping, physicians, and therapists)? In every interaction with others, you are either building the relationship or tearing it down.
This spring, as you watch the flowers bloom and feel the warmth of the sun, think of how you can give your career the same necessary nutrients for successful growth. The trick is to keep feeding your career when the clouds and cold roll in. Until then, enjoy spring!

I hope these tips help you to thrive in your nursing career. You deserve to believe you make a difference!
Take care and stay connected