5 Professional Goals for Nurses

Nurses in the current work climate must be consistently looking for ways to remain competitive and abreast of new procedures and expectations in their field. Nurses work in a variety of settings from hospitals, surgery centers, doctor’s offices, schools, and even large companies, and they all share common goals and objectives. In an effort to be competitive and deliver exceptional care, here are five professional goals for nurses.

Provide excellent patient-centered care.

The number one objective for medical personnel is providing excellent care for patients.  “Patient experience and satisfaction is the No. 1 priority for healthcare executives— above clinical quality, cost reduction, and many other burning issues”, (Health Leaders Media Industry Survey 2013) From check-in, vital signs, and administration of medications, to attending to mental and emotional status, nurses are the front-line authority on patient care. They heavily impact the patient experience and satisfaction levels.

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Increase Technology Skills.

Technology changes rapidly. While the latest technological developments enable medical professionals to deliver excellent care to their patients, the ever-evolving technology requires nurses to constantly learn new skills. On top of staying up to date with new technology, nurses must also learn to troubleshoot technology issues that could directly impact patient care in the event of a malfunction. “Nurses and other healthcare providers can be so focused on data from monitors that they fail to detect potentially important subtle changes in clinical status.” (Powell, et al: 2008) Increasing understanding of technology and anatomical/physiological symptoms simultaneously will provide better patient care.

Focus on Continuing Education.

Nurses must focus on continuing to increase knowledge of pedagogy and evolution of medical techniques. Set a goal to learn something new every quarter, and research ways to better develop technology skills, medical techniques, and recommended delivery of patient care.  Life-long learners will be rewarded with positive feedback and marked improvements in delivery of care.

Develop Interpersonal Skills.

During an average hospital stay, a patient will see 17-25 different staff. This requires collaboration and communication between all medical staff to deliver excellent care. The nurse assigned to a patient will need to communicate effectively and efficiently in person or via technology with others assessing patient needs. From nursing assistants, lab technicians, pharmacology, doctors, and even housekeeping and nutrition, all staff contribute to the overall patient care, experience, and satisfaction.  

Become an Expert.

A nurse manages multiple tasks related to patient care throughout his/her day. Administering intravenous fluids and medication, entering patient data, distributing medicine, assessing pain levels, checking patient incisions, dealing with visitors, and juggling multiple orders from physicians are all part of a given shift for a nurse. Focusing on becoming an “expert” on a few of these tasks will enable the nurse to move forward in the specialty area of his/her choice. By honing specific skills to mastery level, a nurse makes herself more marketable and desirable in a given specialty. This level of mastery will also serve to accomplish providing excellent patient care to the continuing education goal mentioned above.