As a nurse, you have the opportunity to work in several different roles and specialty areas during your career. When you are ready to make a change, how do you decide what position or specialty might be right for you? Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you determine your next career move.
1. What do you like to do and why?
Look at the jobs you’ve held in the past. Ask yourself which you liked the most and why. When I worked as the evening charge nurse on a hospital medical/surgical floor, I found I liked being in charge. Why? I’d rather solve problems myself than discuss possible solutions with many different nurses.
One of my favorite jobs turned out to be Home Health. Why? I liked the autonomy and independence. I was responsible for assessing my patients and writing and carrying out their nursing care plans. I liked forming long-term relationships with patients. I developed a great working relationship with the family practice physicians in the clinic I worked for. They consulted me about nursing issues, and I consulted them when a patient’s condition worsened. A few years later, I became a nurse practitioner because my experience as a home health nurse showed me I wanted to learn more advanced assessment techniques.
2. What do you hate doing and why?
I hated working in the CCU/ICU. Why? It was too fast paced for me. I did not like all the machines and equipment. Several codes every night was draining. Many of the patients were unconscious so I could not develop a relationship with them.
3. Do you know what you do well and what you don’t do well?
Years ago, as a part-time supervisor, I had trouble delegating responsibility to my staff. Instead, I did it myself. Then, I knew the job would get done right. Consequently, I wasn’t a very effective supervisor.
If you are having difficulty recognizing your abilities, ask your friends and coworkers for feedback. Recently, when I did, my peers told me I communicated well with others and resolved conflict effectively. Management was a good fit for me since I needed to have both these skills to do my job well.
Lastly, analyze your answers. Knowing what you like to do and what you do well will guide you in choosing your next position and specialty. Looking at what you don’t like and don’t do well may help you avoid jobs that would not be a good fit for you. answering these questions will help you figure out your next career move.