New Graduates

5 Realistic Nursing Career Goals for New Grad Nurses


By Sarah Stasik, contributor

You should start working on your nursing career goals even before you earn your BSN, but it's never too late to consider the future.

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5 Nursing Career Goals to Start Working on Immediately

Whether you're about to graduate or are starting your first nursing assignment next week, check out these five nurse goals that can help you shape your own career.

1. Land your first nursing job

The Bureau of Labor Statistics clocked the number of jobs for RNs in the nation at almost 3 million in 2016. With an expected growth rate of 15 percent by 2026, that's another half a million openings to fill, which bodes well for new grad nurses and their career goals.

While "get a job" might sound basic, it's actually the most realistic short-term nursing career goal you can make. And while there are plenty of positions to go around, that doesn't guarantee you'll get hired. Boost your chances by working hard on your resume, customizing cover letters for each opportunity you apply to and acing your interviews.

2. Find a mentor to help with long-term nursing career goals

Before or after you land your first nursing job, think about finding a mentor who can help you develop viable nursing career goals. New grad nurses often connect with more experienced RNs in the workplace, but you can also find mentors (and job opportunities) via networking. Join the right nursing associations to get a head start with this goal.

3. Discover your specialty passion

For many RNs, long-term nursing career goals involve specialization. Sacred Heart University advises its potential nursing students that specialists can become leaders in their chosen field and help influence the outcomes of health care through education and practice. Specialists may also be able to earn more, especially in fields that require overnight hours or grad-level education.

Options for specialization include nurse administration or education or work with specific patients, such as children or older individuals. Some nurses choose to specialize in a specific type of care, working alongside other clinicians in niches like obstetrics or cardiology. When choosing a specialty, consider what you like most about nursing and where your passions within health care are. 

4. Develop your work-life balance capabilities

Another important long-term nursing career goal might be to remain in your job without impacting your qualify of life negatively. Nurse burnout is a serious concern and can happen to RNs who are relatively new to the workforce if they don't learn to balance their careers with the rest of their lives.

5. Make friends and find ways to have fun

Finally, consider stepping out of your business hat for at least a few minutes when developing your nurse goals and add something fun to the list. Take time as you enter the workforce to make some new friends or find ways of enjoying your work while also taking it seriously. Small measures like this can make a big difference during long shifts and help create a positive thread throughout your entire career.

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