You be the Architect... (long)

  1. My mother-in-law recently retired from her nursing administration position at a local hospital where she had climbed the ladder and then decided to teach for a few years before retiring completely. It seemed like a good way to use her vast skills/knowledge/ experience before it disappeared (into retirement) and it was a nice way to step down into retirement. I think that she felt it was a great way to give back to nursing for all that she had received from her vocation.
    Where I work now, the pace has increased quite a bit and some of the senior techs can't keep up or they are completely wiped at the end of the day. The younger techs are faster, but have a lot of questions/ less experience.
    Reflecting on these two events, I have been thinking about how in the beginning of a career, one's skills are just starting and there's so much to learn. Also, when you start, you are younger (than when one retires, anyway), maybe greater physical strength/stamina too. As we progress in our careers, we develop greater skills and knowledge, but maybe decline in stamina/physical abilities (eventually). How would I balance these changes to maximize all the advantages and minimize all the disadvantages? Maybe those that are younger work certain shifts or certain units. (Obviously, new techs/nurses need to have experienced/ senior techs/nurses around to guide them, but that would be part of the plan too.)
    If you were to the Architect to build a life-career in nursing model, what would your blueprint be? Going for the BIG picture, here, people! More that the ol' "med/surg 1st year or ICU" sort of thing. (Although if that's part of your Grande Scheme, that's fine.) From graduation to full-time employee to retirement.
    Would your model change department every four years or change hospitals/faculities every six years? Make the "youngin's" work third shift? Require a Bachelors degree?
    I just figured that with all the personal experience of the nurses here in this forum, plus what everyone has seen/witnessed at their places of employment that has or has not worked that we could create the "Uber Nursing Career Blueprint"(or perhaps you prefer "ultimate nursing model"?)
    I know that everybody is an individual and no one thing works for everybody, personal circumstances influence decisions, but... It's a theoretical exercise. This isn't so much what you did/ would do as what you think, based on experience (life, nursing, management, ect), what would be the best path for "Jane" or "Joe" nurse to follow and develop all facets of their nursing selves?
    Thought that this would be a thought-provoking, creative brain-teaser to kick around the forum. It's good to stretch those mental muscles! Let me know!
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Hmmm - I like this. Trauma's idea of a nursing career. First of all, I must clarify that I went into nursing in my early 30's.

    1. Get some life experience! Be able to make good, solid decisions and be mature enough to take the blame or credit for the results. The military is a great divider of this. My experience - 2.5 years in the USN out of high school.

    2. Work full-time. Develop time management skills, some basic people skills. Learn to be responsible, dependable and develop integrity.

    3. Do some soul-searching as to what you want to be "when you grow up." Realize that nursing is a wonderful, well-paying profession but that with the perks comes the pitfalls: its a 24/7 job, you will be overworked and stressed out. However, your life experience will help you to develop that important sense of self.

    4. Go to school! Pass the NCLEX!

    5. You're kinda at the beginning again - re-develop the prioritization skills necessary to be a nurse. Realize that you won't always know the answer - you have to ask questions.

    6. Keep up the challenges. This may be in the form of going to a more acute unit, trying something completely new or obtaining more formal or informal education.

    7. Share your knowledge...mentor other nurses. Appreciate the energy and enthusiasm that the new nurses have.

    8. Laugh and have a highly developed sense of humor. THis is the most important trait that a human being can have, IMHO. It will get you through some of the darkest moments of life.
  4. by   Wave
    While still in school, when I graduate (with an Assc. degree) I'll be 39 (Ouch!) It's very strange to be new to nursing, still learning how to do various things and yet realize what is a more important skill to be good at or what is a priority. Also to have worked with various personality types and have a feel for who will "make it" and who will have problems. It's just amazing what life experience brings "to the table"!
  5. by   gr8rnpjt
    This is an interesting exercise. My plan would include:

    1 After graduation of nursing school, work med surg at least 2 years. Considering family issues, this is a good time to work part time while you are starting a family. Take as much time part time as needed. While working part time and raising children, volunteer at your childrens school ( I helped the basketball and cheerleading teams get their physicals- local Dr. and myself volunteered our time and completed the necessary forms. Volunteer at women's shelters, head start, or big brothers/sisters. This all looks great on your resume.

    2 after about 10 years, start to think specialization. this is the time to work full time, go back to school (do homework with the kids) continue to work, be on committes at work. Take the plunge, go to a specialty unit, volunteer to work to open a new unit, get certifications. Take a big plunge and get out of the hospital. (Insurance companies will pay you well for your knowledge)

    3 Keep your resume updated and look for opportunities for growth and more money. Keep in mind what your aging body allows you to do. Find a large company with great benefits ( 100% paid tuition, pension plans-yes there are still places that offer pension plans along with your 401k) After you find a place that pays you well, that is tailored to your physical and intellectual needs, that puts you in a good place when you retire, then you stay there and build seniority. Keep looking within the company for more opportunities for growth and job satisfaction.

    Anyway, this is how I would write up a plan, because that is exactly what I did. I am happy with my choices and would not change a thing.

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