New Year’s Resolutions for Nurses

It’s a new year, and you may have decided that it is time to turn over a new leaf in your life.  While you may pledge to hit the gym more or spend more time with family, you can make some resolutions about your nursing life, as well.

Some resolutions, we just can’t get.  For instance, vowing to never work overtime in the coming year could be bad for you financially and may put your job at risk if it is required.

However, some resolutions we can make about our careers, about nursing, and about how it impacts our lives.  Here are four, but feel free to make up your own that fit the struggles you face in you day to day life as a nurse.

“I will not get to work early and stay late for no pay.”

My nursing school instructors told me that the smart nurse arrives twenty minutes before the start of their shift.  In actuality, it is necessary to show up a little early just to get your bearings.

Yet, if you are coming in so early that you are spending hours preparing for your shift, you deserve to be paid for that time.  It only adds to your stress coming in early, even if it makes you super prepared for your shift.
Staying late is another problem many nurses face.  Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in a shift to get everything done, and charting often gets pushed off until the shift is over.

Some facilities make you punch out on time so they don’t have to pay you overtime.  The solution is simple: if you are working on work related materials, you deserve to be on the clock.

“I will pursue my education this year, no matter what.”

Many of us became nurses to take care of people, but we are also interested in the various educational and professional opportunities that the profession supports.  It is so easy to just let the education slide for another year and never get out of your current position.

If you are an LPN, make it a point to become an RN.  If you are an RN, pursue your BSN.  After that, go for the master’s programs in whatever you find interesting.

Perhaps, though, the thought of so much schooling doesn’t appeal to you, you don’t have the money, or literally don’t have the time.  This is where credentialing comes in, and it can help you to earn a raise, get a promotion, or find a new position without the commitment that school requires.

“I will find time for myself outside of work.”

No nurse has enough time.  If you aren’t at work, you are taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, or dealing with other family issues.

Unfortunately, this can add to the stress of an already stressful job.  Don’t focus on exercising and improving yourself if that’s not something you are interested in.

Instead, focus on doing something you enjoy, apart from the family and different from work.  Take up a hobby: read, write, play an instrument, learn a language.  Do something that is for you and treat that time as sacred.

“I will be grateful for the opportunity to touch people’s lives every day.”

It may sound hokey and cliché, but an attitude of gratitude can make all the difference in how you feel about your job.  Yes, staffing may stink, management is a bunch of jerks, and you are completely overwhelmed, but you get to help people in an intimate and personal way.

Despite all the training and the preparation for the worst-case scenario, our job is really about touching the lives of people who need us.  It helps to try to remember that because it is so easy to forget with everything else that goes on.

Make it your resolution to find something to be grateful for every time you step onto the unit.  It will make you feel better about your profession, and ultimately make you a better nurse.