Using Goals to Grow in Nursing

Goals are useful in life by allowing people to strive for something better. Never allowing oneself to become completely content, encourages the pursuit of bigger opportunities and keeps dreams alive. Upholding one’s own beliefs and values during the journey toward goals allow great personal rewards. As said by Greg Anderson (2008), “when we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we live life.” Nurses Announcements Archive Article

Using Goals to Grow in Nursing

Determining where someone would like to be, and how to get there in five to 10 years, takes much conscious effort, however, identifying goals that will help someone grow, whether it be educational, professional or personal is very important. Several steps are involved in order to be successful, such as defining the goals, determining the optimum timeframe and putting the plan into action. Combining personal beliefs and values into defined goals and refusing to turn away from these beliefs during difficult times will lead to feelings of true achievement once the goals are attained. With any serious goal, support systems and mentors must be determined and utilized, to avoid becoming overwhelmed when challenges arise. Chitty and black (2007) states "make sure your goals and expectations are realistic. Unrealistic goals are self-defeating. Make sure the goals are measurable, manageable, and meaningful to you, not to please somebody else." (chapter 10, p. 266).

Nursing philosophy is clearly understanding your personal truths, thoughts, and goals and determining how they relate to your professional career as a nurse. Each nurse has unique experiences that influence his or her personal choice of profession, but in general, nurses are drawn to the profession because of the nurturing characteristics that the profession embraces. My philosophy of nursing may vary from other nurses depending on their culture, religion or ethnicity, but the combination of the diversities makes nursing special. In my personal view, the nursing profession is a highly respectable profession, which should always place the holistic care and concern of the patient as the top priority. Continuing education is mandatory for nurses to be able to provide a high quality of care and to provide the latest improved treatment techniques. Whether through treating, teaching, advocating or supporting, patient care is directly impacted through nursing care on a daily basis. Nurses also must accept the responsibility of leading others in the care of patients in order to maintain a high-quality continuity of care.

Baccalaureate prepared nurses are better prepared to accept positions that require more leadership skills. Obtaining the baccalaureate degree also shows commitment to the profession, which shows strength to the employer. As stated by Cynthia O'Neal (2004), "in today's health care environment, baccalaureate nurses must be prepared to use essential leadership skills to manage and coordinate teams of care." the increased amount of training that is focused on nursing ethics, nursing foundations and history, and nursing professionalism promotes the knowledge to organize the responsibilities of several team members successfully, without appearing overbearing. Providing this leadership may not be overly accepted by everyone on the team, and may in turn cause temporary conflict, however, in order for the team to function in an efficient and organized manner, and provide the practice with a productive department, and the patient with a high quality of care, this is a change that must take place.

With any growth, there will be challenges and barriers. Choosing strong mentors is a very important step in reaching goals. Victor ghebre (Dec 2008), instructs us to "find a mentor or someone who can inspire you in the area of personal development, and try to associate yourself with other people who are on the path to self-growth." during the education experience, academic advisors or facilitators are wonderful mentors, and during the professional career experience, introducing yourself to staff development coordinators, physicians and management staff can facilitate introductions to such mentors. Having a strong support system within the personal relationships of our daily lives is also important. With growth, growing pains will happen, and having support during difficult times will encourage the growth to continue. Having a healthy expectation of the challenges that may be present and a plan of action will lessen the effect when these challenges occur. Family, and the responsibilities that family involves, is a large challenge to overcome when attempting to grow in a professional aspect. Learning to meet these responsibilities satisfactorily, while working toward professional goals is possible.

Identifying goals and becoming committed to achieving these goals lead to life-changing events, bringing satisfaction and personal fulfillment. People are surrounded by goals from birth, learning to walk and talk, to planning for life after retirement or even death. Continually setting new goals and attempting to achieve them is what prevents complacency. For some, complacency may be the goal, but for others, setting new goals is a means of growth, and growth is necessary for embracing life. Goals do not have to be anything as important as a new profession. Goals can be as simple as deciding to start walking daily and planning where to walk or making a goal to learn to sew. Making realistic goals and attempting to attain these goals while abiding within certain beliefs and values introduces several areas that continue to add value to life, such as special friends, strong support systems and learning to overcome challenges. Goals are an important part in life in that it promotes growth, and combining professional goals with personal goals can create holistic peace within self and family.


Anderson, Greg (2008). Goals. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from

chitty, k. K., black, b. P. (2007). Professional nursing concepts and challenges. [University of Phoenix custom edition e-text]. St. Louis, Mo: Saunders, Inc. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from the University of Phoenix, resource, nur391- professional nursing practice website.

O'neal, Cynthia. (November 2004). Creating leadership skills in fundamental courses. Journal of nursing education, 43(11), 524. Retrieved March 19, 2009, from career and technical education database. (document id: 739662121).

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While I understand the need for "college educated" nurses I have had to face endless discrimination because I am a second- career nurse who has a BA in another field and an MA in another field and an ADN. But apparently all that and the fact that I am bilingual does not make me as desirable as the younger nurses. I am 59 and look 49. I am so frustrated as I have been "stuck" in med.surg for four years already.

Going back to school is a great way to advance in nursing. Healthcare in online programs is growing immensely throughout the US. When looking for an opportunity for a healthcare degree it is important to research and find degrees that will support your advancement in the nursing industry.