As a nurse, when you’ve been in a particular position or served at a specific organization for a period of time, you may begin to feel the itch for a new challenge or career opportunity. A professional move can be a boon to your career, in that it can reinvigorate your interest, and give you something novel to sink your nursing teeth into.
Considering a new position can also be a scary notion that’s fraught with anxiety; you must always remember that “the grass is always greener” may not be an absolute when switching from one job to the next. Corporate culture, management style, opportunity for advancement, camaraderie among colleagues, and many other factors can and will be different at every workplace; having said that, a change can also be just what the nurse practitioner ordered.
If you’re changing positions, facilities, or nursing specialties, change can be like an opening door, breathing fresh air into a career that may have hitherto felt stagnant.
At a new workplace, you have a new family of colleagues to get to know, different procedures and policies to learn, and a novel workplace culture into which you need to integrate. This can be unsettling, but it can also be a golden opportunity to expand your professional field of vision, not to mention your skills and professional network.
No matter how minor, a conscious and meaningful career change can be an invigorating balm that lifts your nursing spirit and awakens your sense of professional adventure.
Entering a new workplace provides an opportunity for the expansion of your professional network.
As you keep in touch with former colleagues during the months and years to come, you are simultaneously building fresh professional connections in your new environment; these new colleagues can potentially become an integral part of the human tapestry that makes up your network.
Some members of this previously unknown cohort of coworkers may become your beloved friends, trusted advisors, invaluable mentors, or skilled teachers, and the nuggets of gold within those relationships will reveal themselves over time, and with conscientious nurturing.
A new position, new colleagues and contacts, a change of nursing specialties, or the development of additional clinical or non-clinical skills is part of building your personal brand as a professional nurse.
While you obviously don’t want a resume peppered with six-month stints at multiple positions or employers, periodic changes of employment can demonstrate professional nimbleness, openness to change, as well as conscientious career management.
Your personal/professional brand is predicated on your skills and experience, as well as your value as a nurse of integrity. Whether you’re a nurse researcher, bedside nurse, nurse educator, or school nurse, you’re still building a brand, and an increasingly rich work history can certainly strengthen that brand over time.
While moving around from job to job can indeed reflect poorly on your work history, staying at the same job for decades may also do the same; a rich curriculum vitae can truly be a vote in your favor.
New employment opportunities and experiences don’t only enrich your brand, they also enrich and enliven your career. Boredom, stagnation, and professional ruts don’t necessarily light your nursing fire, so consciously pivoting at strategic times in your career can be a very intelligent decision.
Change for change’s sake doesn’t necessarily cut the mustard, but well-planned, strategic career change may be just the boost that your nursing career needs and deserves.
Keith Carlson RN, BSN, NC-BC
You can read more from Keith on his award-winning blog, Digital Doorway and listen to him on RNFM Radio & on The Nurse Keith Show.
As a Board Certified Nurse Coach, his passion is to help nurses & healthcare professionals create satisfaction in their personal & professional lives.