With 2019 approaching you may be thinking about setting your 2019 New Year's resolutions! A New Years Resolution doesn't have to be a life-altering, turn your life up-side down kind of goal. Pick a resolution that's simple, but that makes a big impact. Continue reading for 10 top SIMPLE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS professional nurses should make to get ahead, both professionally & in their personal life!
1. Learn a New Skill
As a nurse there are always opportunities to take on new roles, learn new skills, and become more clinically competent. Sign up through your employer to gain a new competency or skill. Most times, these competencies offer paid training and are free of charge! Learning to scrub in the operating room, ultrasound guided IV catheter placement, or becoming a preceptor, are some of the skills you can become proficient in.
The possibility of clinical growth is nearly limitless! Plus, when you become competent in a new skill or role, it will give you more marketability should you decide to change specialties.
2. Join a Committee
Each nursing unit has it's own set of challenges, goals, and needs for improvement. The more hands on you can get on your unit the more you can have control over what is important to you while at work. If your hospital has shared governance for nurses, consider playing a part and joining.
Also, many committees exist within the hospitals, for example, patient safety, bereavement, or nurse mentor-ship are some that may be available. Use these committees as opportunities to broaden your network and explore opportunities for leadership & growth.
3. Become a Mentor
Do you remember starting as a new grad nurse and having an experienced nurse you loved working with because she always seemed to have your back? New nurse burnout happens more than the profession would like to admit. It happens due to increased patient loads, high acuity, and a lack of feeling of connection to the experienced nursing staff.
Be a nurse leader and mentor to someone in need of encouragement and coaching. Checking in on the newer nurses, providing support, and clinical knowledge are invaluable to someone who may be struggling in their new role. Make a commitment to be a mentor to the newer nurses and give back. The personal satisfaction gained from helping others will be well worth it!
4. Drink More Water & Less Coffee
Hydration is key to maintaining energy levels, aiding digestion, and your overall health. As a nurse working long hours and back to back shifts, it can be easy to neglect your water intake. Often bottles of water are replaced with coffee cups to get that quick jolt of energy to get your through your workday.
Make a simple change and bring a bottle of water with you on-the-go to keep hydrated. Limit your coffee intake to 1-2 cups a day and replace with caffeine free herbal teas if it's a warm drink you crave. The rule of thumb is to take your weight and divide by 2 for the recommended number of ounces of water you should be drinking daily. (ex. 150lbs ÷ 2 = 75 ounces of water)
5. Pack your own Lunch
Nurses love to treat themselves to some good eats when they are working. It's easy to drop $15-20 on take-out or at the hospital coffee shop on any given shift. Over a year, working on average three days a week at $10-15/day, nurses can save close to $2000.00 if they bring their own lunch to work.
Packing your own lunch is not only less expensive, you will also be more likely to bring healthier options making you less likely to over-indulge on high calorie take-out. Check out this article, Food for Thought: Why You Should Bring a Lunch to Work, to learn more about the benefits of packing your own lunch and to discover some easy lunch recipes to help you get started!
6. Pay Down Debt
As financial guru Dave Ramsey, likes to say, "the borrower is the slave to the lender." Eliminate or pay down debt that you carry to free up your income for investments & savings for the future! Whether it's student loans, credit cards, or personal loans... consider debt a roadblock to your goals and chip it away bit by bit.
Make a resolution to take control of your finances and pave your way to financial freedom. Pay down your smallest debt first and go from there! Use Dave Ramsey's "Baby Steps" to help pay off debt to reach your financial goals!
7. Take Time for You
Nurses are notorious for working through their lunch breaks, not peeing for 12 hours, and working double shifts for overtime... we are burning ourselves out! At the very least, make your lunch break a priority and give yourself a 30 minute break at all costs.
Master time management & find a lunch buddy to cover your patients while you take your break and reciprocate for them. As the old adage says, "you can't pour from an empty cup." Resolve to do what's important for your well being and you will find you have more to give back to your patients.
8. Be a Supporter of other Nurses
Make a commitment to change the culture of a toxic environment. Be a positive role model, don't talk about other nurses behind their backs, promote each-other! All of these are easy ways you can support your fellow nurse and show your appreciation for all their strengths and sacrifices!
9. Go get that Raise
When you take steps to improve your clinical skills, seek out leadership opportunities, and mentor others you may deserve compensation! If you have gone above and beyond in your role, make it known to your manager. Most facilities have yearly reviews and give each employee a chance to prove themselves worthy of a raise.
Make 2019 your year to shine! Start building up your list of accomplishments, write down your strengths and what contributions you've made to improve work on your unit! When the time comes for your review you will have a long list of accomplishments to brag about. There's nothing wrong with being assertive and making it known you are deserving of a raise.
10. Take the Stairs
This sounds simple, but it's truly the small changes we make that promote the greatest growth over time. Commit to take the stairs over the elevator, park further away from the entrance to walk the extra steps, and take opportunities to incorporate fitness & physical activity into your day to promote an active lifestyle!