Without setting goals an individual will not be able to measure his or her level of success. Late last year, as I reflected on my career path I began to feel unaccomplished and unfulfilled. I have been a nurse for over eighteen years and worked in long-term care nursing homes, acute care hospitals, and home care settings. My experiences working in medical surgical, telemetry, and critical care doing bedside nursing challenged me to further my career by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). My decision to go back to school was carefully thought about as I took into consideration my work schedule, family commitments, and the length of time needed to complete my degree. When I decided to become a nurse, I did not fully understand the different aspects of nursing as I was only ten years old. At that age, however, I knew that nursing was about taking care of people. As a result, I developed short-term and long-term professional goals which embraced my philosophy of nursing.
Philosophy of Nursing
My philosophy of treating people as I would like to be treated was instilled in me from my grandmother from an early age. With this in mind, I strive to provide the best care to my patients as I seek to connect and identify with their experience. According to Watson (2008), “the human-to-human connection expands our compassion and caring and keeps alive our common humanity.” Patients are depending on the nurse to give them the care that will enhance and improve their health physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As nurses, we do not only care for the sick but we also reach out to the families of individuals because they play a big role in helping to maintain their dignity and integrity.
Role of the Baccalaureate Nurse
The baccalaureate prepared nurse will have a more advanced education in leadership and management therefore will be better able to make more independent clinical decisions (Sara Ellis). After completing my nursing degree I will have a better opportunity in moving up the clinical ladder. Although I will not get an increase in pay for obtaining my BSN it will be self fulfilling and gratifying as this has always been one of the goals in my nursing career. With a degree, I will be more marketable and flexible as I broaden my horizons. This will allow me to seek employment in many health care settings such as community health, case management, and supervisory positions (Blais, Hayes, Kozier, & Erb, 2006, p. 3). With the rising challenges of the health care needs in today’s society, more and more nurses are graduating with a BSN as the minimum level education. Therefore, it is important to have a higher level of education to be competitive and stay abreast with the latest technologies in nursing.
Professional Role Transition
Nurses are governed by a code of ethics as set forth by the American Nurses Association (ANA), which holds nurses accountable and obligated to protect patient’s rights and privacy. They are morally obligated to provide quality care that will maintain the patient’s optimal level of functioning.
Nurses play a vital role in helping patients to improve their quality of life. Each decision the nurse makes contribute to the overall welfare of the patient. Thus, it is best if the nurse view each decision as a life changing decision, no matter how small it may seem.
As a nurse, I must acknowledge each of my patients as having their own cultural backgrounds, needs, values, and beliefs (American Nurses Association, 2001). Therefore, I should treat them the way I would like to be treated, with the best care and respect. My patients’ family is a great source of support and influence in their well-being. Therefore, it is imperative to treat the patient’s family with extreme respect as well. Families are important in providing valuable information that will assist the nurse in giving quality care and improve patients’ level of functioning (Potter & Perry, 1985, p. 441).
Role of the Baccalaureate
Having a BSN is not only rewarding but it prepares the nurse to advance from bedside nursing and to explore new opportunities as it pertains to management positions. It also allows me to use the knowledge, capability and skills that I have acquired to help others achieve quality lifestyles, health and well-being. The feeling that comes with knowing that I am making a positive difference in someone else’s life is more than money can buy.
Short-term Professional Goals
The twenty-first century is without a doubt, a time period in which computer literacy is vital. Once upon a time, the use of computers was not an integral part of a nurse’s day to day activity. However, that is not the case today. Thus my short-term goals are to increase my computer literacy and become a nurse preceptor within the next six months.
Currently my level of knowledge in regards to computers is on a beginner’s stage. I plan to reach the intermediate stage within the next six months by attending various computer classes and constantly practicing the different techniques that I learn. Mastering the basics of computer technology will enable me to research more efficiently, whether it is to complete an assignment or keep up-to-date with the changes in the health care arena. Furthermore, developing my computer skills will assist me in being an effective nursing preceptor. The use of technology is incorporated in various aspects of a nurse’s duties. Therefore, adequate computer knowledge will empower me to effectively mentor new nurses. In addition, I would need to attend training classes and demonstrate that I am a good communicator to be promoted to a nursing preceptor.
Not having immediate access to a computer and my family commitments are several barriers that may prevent me from reaching my short-term goals. My commitment as a wife and a mother does not provide me with the flexibility to attend all the computer classes which are available. In addition, my family commitments may also prevent me from attending the necessary training classes to become a nursing preceptor. However, having my family as one of my biggest support system will assist me in overcoming these barriers. I will implore my children to teach me as much as they can when we are home. In addition, I will purchase a laptop so I can practice and develop my computer skills at my convenience. Furthermore, I will allocate different chores to the members of my family so that I will have free time to attend the various training classes.
Long-term Professional Goals
My long-term professional goals are to successfully complete the BSN program in a year and a half and become a Clinical Instructor in the next five years. Having a BSN is not only rewarding but it prepares the nurse to advance from bedside nursing and to explore new opportunities as it pertains to leadership and management. After completing my BSN I plan to continue my studies and pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. In doing so, I will achieve my ultimate long-term goal which is to become a clinical nurse instructor.
A Clinical Instructor is required to have a vast amount of knowledge of nursing skills and techniques. Thus, my present experience as a Registered nurse and my enrollment in the BSN program is the stepping stone to achieving my ultimate long-term goal of becoming a clinical instructor. Even though my role as a Clinical Instructor takes me away from personally fulfilling my philosophy of nursing, I belief it will still be just as rewarding since I’m empowering others to fulfill their philosophy of nursing.
As with my short-term goals, my family commitments are barriers to achieving my long-term goals. My family commitments may force me to extend the time frame in which I hope to accomplish my goals. To get over these barriers, I will have to compromise some of my family activities such as vacation time and family time. In addition, my family is my biggest support system in achieving my long-term goals; their desire to see me succeed motivates me to do my best. Also, being a role model to my children motivates me to do well.
In addition, having to work while I’m enrolled in the BSN program is a challenge. However, the encouragement of graduates of the BSN program is a constant reminder that I too can successfully complete the BSN program. Thus, I requested the necessary days off from my job so I can attend classes.
In conclusion, providing quality care to patients is my personal philosophy of nursing. As a result, my short-term and long-term professional goals are centered on this philosophy. Therefore, I continuously seek to obtain higher education, skills and techniques to empower me to assist my patients in possessing optimal health. This will enhance my professional development and fulfillment as a nurse.