I have a sign hanging in my office with one of my favorite quotes (from my favorite author) regarding my career. “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity” – Ayn Rand. That is pretty much how I have operated my career up to this point. I knew what I wanted, which was to be a nurse leader, and when opportunities presented themselves to me, I jumped on them. I really feel this is how you get ahead. You can’t sit around and wait for things to happen to you, you need to get out and make things happen for you.
When I got into nursing I knew that leadership was what I was cut out for. I was a great bedside nurse, but I knew my skills were better suited to lead teams to greatness. When I was a staff nurse, and an opportunity came to orient to charge, I jumped on it. I was ready to move into a full time charge position or a manager position on the unit I worked in, but they were never coming around, so I looked outside that department and found an educator position on a med/surg unit. Then a few months later, a manager position opened up. I jumped at that opportunity, got the job and have proven myself as a true leader.
I have always felt that I am the only person that can determine my destiny. I make mistakes or missteps all the time, but I would never had found those opportunities if I didn’t take a chance and put myself out there. Heck, what’s the worst than can happen, I get shot down.
Whenever I interview new staff, I ask them what their future career goals are. I don’t ask because I want to see if I am going to get a commitment from them or not, I ask because I really want to know. If there is something I can do to help them meet their career goals, I am there to help them. I will help them to see those opportunities and jump at them when they present themselves. I do ask for some sort of commitment from them, but I also know that a nurse with a goal and direction can not be stopped, so I might as well help them.
If your goal is something beyond where you are at right now, start creating those opportunities for yourself and get out there.
Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed.
Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university.
Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.
By Rob Cameron