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Professional Goals and Lifelong Learning
Committed to Lifelong Learning
You may be finishing up your nursing program, but that doesn’t mean the end of learning. As a professional, lifelong learning should be a key component of your nursing career. There are many
avenues to lifelong learning, such as mentorship. You may consider seeking out or becoming a mentor, a highly valuable vehicle toward excellence not only for one’s self, but for the profession as well.
Finding a good mentor can help you with career decisions throughout your career regardless of how
long you have been in the profession. No matter what stage of your career, it is important to find
someone who can serve as a role model. A mentor should be someone who can give you constructive feedback about your strengths and weaknesses and provide you with strategies for improvement. Keep in mind that your mentor should not make decisions for you. but allow you to discuss options and benefit from the mentor’s expertise. Likewise, if you are in a position in your career to serve as a mentor. seize it as an opportunity for personal growth as well.
What Makes an Effective Mentor?
What makes an effective mentor? A mentor should be someone that you feel comfortable with, someone with whom you have a good rapport. Choose someone who is an expert in an area that meets your needs and interests. Make sure the person is honest, trustworthy, respected, and influential. Your mentor should be supportive and possesses effective communication skills so they can teach and motivate you. The person should also be accessible to you when needed.
When choosing your mentor, keep in mind that the relationship can be short term or long term. However, it does take time to develop a relationship, so it is best to choose someone who will be
accessible to you for awhile, even if that accessibility is virtual through the use of technology.
Networking as Lifelong Learning
Networking can also be a valuable asset throughout your nursing career Why is networking important to
lifelong learning? Networking provides a great opportunity to exchange ideas, explore new approaches, and obtain other useful information.
It involves reaching out to any contact that might be helpful to you and your career. Whether at a conference, at work, or through a professional organization, networking can help you meet and gain insight from a variety of individuals.
Social media such as Linkedln, Facebook, and Twitter also provide opportunities for professional
Setting Goals for Career Success
As you probably know, effectively managing your time was a key to success over the course of your
nursing program. Setting short-term and long-term goals helped you organize your time and focus your
learning activities. And setting short-term and long-term goals is just as important to the success of your
nursing career. They can help you maintain focus and help you forge ahead along your career path.
When planning your career goals, consider your interests and think about what you want to accomplish now and in the future. Write down those items. Research the necessary experience and education needed to successfully achieve your goals. prioritize the items that you want to accomplish and create a timeline for achieving your goals.
Goals in Action
Let’s look at an example of putting goals into action. Imagine that over the course of your nursing
program, you found that you were drawn to the pediatric curriculum. In your practicum, you really
enjoyed working in the hospital. You love working with children and enjoyed your clinical experience in
the critical care unit. In the future, you picture yourself working as a staff nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit, and eventually becoming an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner.
So what’s next? Research pediatric nursing opportunities in your area. What positions interest you? What are the requirements for those positions?
Goals in Action
After some research, you find that facilities hiring nurses for the pediatric intensive care unit have a prerequisite of 2 years pediatric medical-surgical nursing experience. You must have current American Heart Association basic life support certification that is valid for at least 90 days after the hire date, and you will need to obtain pediatric advanced life support and neonatal resuscitation program certification within 6 months of the hire date.
Goals in Action
Next, you research the requirements of a nurse practitioner program. You see that there are options for nurse practitioner programs: completing the program by going full-time for 1 year. or completing in 2 or 3 years part-time.
You have a good start for basing your short- and long-term goals. For example, for a short-term goal,
you may want to refine your resumé within the next week to make sure that it is geared toward obtaining a pediatric position.
Goals in Action
Next, you research the requirements of a nurse practitioner program. You see that there are options
for nurse practitioner programs: completing the program by going full-time for 1 year. or completing
in 2 or 3 years pan-time.
You have a good Stan for basing your short- and long-term goals. For example, for a short-term goal,
you may want to refine your resume within the next week to make sure that it is geared toward obtaining a pediatric position.
We have discussed nurse residency programs, mentoring, networking, and the importance of setting
short- and long-term goals. Now let’s take a look at key components of life-learning, academic education, staff development education, and continuing education. You may wish to enroll in courses for academic credit to complete a degree or certificate program. There are a variety of options available to meet your needs.
Staff development education is commonly offered in the healthcare facility where you work. It involves
orientation, which is designed to introduce you to the facility and your position, training to help you do your job, and professional development.
Continuing education is a form of systematic professional learning. Many states require continuing education to maintain licensure. In those states, the state board of nursing determines the number of continuing education credits required for license renewal. If you obtain specialty certification, you will also be required to obtain continuing education to meet those certification requirements.
Just the Beginning!
As you can see, finishing your nursing program is only the beginning of a lifetime of learning. With a rapidly changing healthcare environment, it is more important than ever to commit to a lifetime of
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Nursing 340 – Public Health Nursing
1. Introduction to Public Health Nursing