When I was in nursing school, we set goals. Where do you want to work? What kind of nurse do you want to be? Where do you see yourself in 3, 5, 10 years? It was always a challenge, but in the safe walls of the school, it was easy to get lofty, imagine a little bit, and throw out “goals” for my future post-grad life.
Now here I am. And amazingly, I’ve achieved a LOT of my goals. I graduated with honors, passed my NCLEX, vacationed the summer away and started my new job as a nurse in my absolute dream job, on my top choice unit. I met my goals, I rocked, and I get to toot that horn for a bit.
Except now in my new grad classes at work, we’re having to do it all over again. MORE GOALS! MORE? Really? I just got through a bunch! I get that we need to constantly have something to work toward, but isn’t getting through my five months of training and landing on my feet a goal enough?Â Short term goals for the next five months have been hard to think of. Of course I want to be confident in my skills, relate to my patients, and manage my time well, but all of that comes with time.Â And the long term goals are things that are now far off in my future: getting my MSN, becoming a preceptor, teaching. They’re so far ahead, in fact, that I really don’t know if I’ll even want to reach those goals a year fromÂ now.
I’ve also been told not to expect too much from myself too soon. I get that. But that’s not how I got through nursing school. I was always setting sights high, and yes, I’d fall hard if I didn’t get to it right away, but I made it through. Now I am trying to be more reasonable in my goal setting, but having trouble figuring out what an achievable goal is and not falling back into my old over achieving ways. What’s a new nurse to do?