The nursing profession is an arduous career path that entails acquiring and applying the highest level of knowledge. In the era of evidence-based practice, nurses must continuously update and use critically analyzed knowledge and information to inform the delivery of nursing care (Rubio et al., 2017). Theoretical knowledge is important in delivering quality and safe nursing care to patients. I increasingly and consistently strive for growth and development. The nursing career has been an immense journey, with its fair share of successes and challenges. The following paper highlights my learning experience during the course and how the learning materials have changed my perspective of professional nursing, nursing education, health policy, ethical and legal decision-making, core health care competencies, cultural competency, and building a nursing career.
The journey of becoming an expert in one’s profession encompasses passion, dedication, resilience and perseverance, hard work, and motivation. Growing up, I have always been a caring person, striving to make a difference in other people’s lives. I also love challenging and pushing myself beyond my limits. Integrity, empathy, courage, respect for everyone, and professionalism are my other personal values. The nursing profession aligns with my core values, it is challenging, and at the same time, it is interesting. Therefore, my preference for a career path in nursing was decisive. My nursing career is steadily growing, and I am happy with where I am: I can provide evidence-based, patient-centered, and quality nursing care. Although nursing education is demanding, I have been an excellent nursing student, retaining and applying fundamental theoretical concepts in designing patient care. I do not regret anything and would do nothing differently as I am passionate about nursing and what it has to offer in the long run.
The future in nursing is promising and full of growth and development opportunities. An important nursing aspect I could capitalize on is lifelong learning. Lifelong learning offers nurses a chance to sharpen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they care for patients (Qalehsari et al., 2017). It is also pivotal in the delivery of evidence-based practice. Hence, I will strive to become a lifelong learner as I also work to obtain the highest level of nursing education. I desire to bring change to nursing through advocacy, lobbying, and influencing policymaking. In addition to influencing change, I think a successful career should be satisfying, honorable, and effortless, lead to financial self-sufficiency, encompass respect for everyone involved, and positively influence others.
I strongly believe that my purpose in life and nursing is not mere superficiality, just providing care, but it is more than that. My meaningful purpose is to make a difference in other people’s lives at a personal and career level. Such a purpose keeps me focused on improving myself every day and being excellent in all aspects. There are certain aspects of nursing that can motivate or demoralize one while caring for patients. For me, the positive sides of it include it being interesting, fulfilling, and satisfying, seeing patients recover, working with other health professionals, and caring for children. However, the negative side includes seeing patients die, long shifts, staff shortages, being disrespected, routines, and dealing with difficult patients. To improve my experience at work, organizations and the government should work towards improving staffing and ensure there are policies and legislation to safeguard the interests of nurses.
I possess several skills that have propelled me through my nursing career, including effective communication, collaboration with other professionals, teamwork, empathy, professionalism, strong work ethic, conflict resolution, flexibility, critical thinking, decisiveness, open-mindedness, and the desire to learn. Working with patients and their families and helping them, collaborating with other professionals, and making/influencing change are some of my interests. Entirely these skills and interests are transferable to a new position and can help in the uptake of new roles, regardless of the setting. For instance, flexibility can help one adjust to a new role without compromising professionalism and work ethics, which can also help during the transition. I will use conflict resolution and communication skills to develop effective interpersonal relationships with new colleagues in my new role.
Career goals are crucial in my nursing profession as they guide me toward achieving my career milestones. My short-term goals are to complete my master’s degree in two years by allocating enough time to read widely and complete assignments on time. I will consistently keep learning while I practice by participating in continuous learning activities, seminars, and conferences. Within two years, I will join at least two professional organizations or bodies by subscribing to membership within my state. In five years, I will be able to balance my professional and personal life through efficient and effective time management, learning to dedicate time to family and friends, and having a schedule.
In the next ten years, I will extend my nursing services to underserved areas, including remote and rural areas, by either volunteering or opening up my practice in those areas. To ensure my goal setting is successful and I become more accountable, I will share my goals with my family and close colleagues. My family members have been supportive for the longest time, encouraging me to keep pushing my limit. Sharing the goals will be pivotal, as they will remind me of the goals and constantly hold me accountable.
Building a Plan
Achieving a successful and extraordinary career requires a rigorous plan that includes setting goals and objectives. Furthermore, there are several prerequisites for the attainment of such a career. Furthering my education and training to the highest levels possible is the most important prerequisite I am striving to attain within the next 10 years. Obtaining higher education and training will equip me with the knowledge and skills to tackle complex healthcare issues. Additionally, earning the highest level of education confers individual confidence for success, a strong social network, and work ethics and experience. With advanced training and education, I will be posited to take up leadership or managerial roles to influence policies and change. Moreover, my skillsets, such as critical thinking, will be sharpened, giving me a competitive advantage in the profession.
While advancing my education and training, I will also expand my social network, giving me more opportunities to learn from different people. It will also be a strategic marketing blueprint to sell my services and expertise to potential employers. My career aspiration is to become a virtuoso in the profession and open up my independent practice to improve health outcomes for everyone. Although this career plan is not bound to an exact timeline, I will start with a target within 10 years.
The course has been immense, with many triumphs and lessons and a few challenges. Before the course commenced, I was nervous about the workload and topics, such as critical health policy issues and informatics. Initially, I expected that I would have limited time to meet the course’s objectives. However, brick by brick, the course objectives have been addressed, and appropriate applications have been made to my role as a nurse. For instance, I have learned about fundamental ethical principles and legal issues in nursing. Every person has rights, and it is my professional responsibility to ensure rights such as beneficence, autonomy, non-maleficence, and justice are upheld when caring for patients. Such a lesson has positively influenced my role in providing safe, quality, and patient-centered care that champions dignity and respect.
My understanding of the professional role of a nurse has expanded as a result of this course. I now understand that nurses have roles beyond the delivery of patient care. For example, as a nurse, I have the role of ensuring patient rights are protected. Nurses also play an important role in health policy development to protect patients and health professionals’ welfare, not just implement them (Turale & Kunaviktikul, 2019). As a nurse, I am supposed to take roles, including advocacy, lobbying, and influencing legislatures and policymakers. Although there are several lessons from the course, core healthcare professional competencies were the most relevant takeaway because it builds a competent and complete nursing professional.
Qalehsari, M. Q., Khaghanizadeh, M., & Ebadi, A. (2017). Lifelong learning strategies in nursing: A systematic review. Electronic Physician, 9(10), 5541–5550.
Rubio, D. M., Robinson, G., Gabrilove, J., & Meagher, E. A. (2017). Creating effective career development programs. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 1(2), 83–87.
Turale, S., & Kunaviktikul, W. (2019). The contribution of nurses to health policy and advocacy requires leaders to provide training and mentorship. International Nursing Review, 66(3), 302-304.