Nursing is an excellent career choice, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with its own problems. Nursing can also be very tiring, stressful, and demanding. While working as an RN can be very rewarding, the best way to control your career and find that perfect position that helps support you is to continue your education and earn an MSN or all the way up to a doctorate.
Becoming an APRN opens up so many possibilities in terms of what you can do and where you can work. With so much need for nurses and such high demand, there is no wrong decision you can make for yourself.
Staying motivated is the best thing that you can do for yourself and for your patients.
Nursing is the best career choice when your passion is to provide care. Doctors’ priority is the medicine first, then their patient’s care. With nurses, it is the opposite, and it is why their work is so instrumental to the quality of life, care, and outlook that patients receive.
After all, having a successful surgery is only the first step to recovery. After-care, both in hospitals and in clinics or other rehabilitation centers, is where the true healing comes. Doctors provide expert medical treatments; nurses are there to provide that expert care.
Caring for others, however, can take its toll. If you have found that chronic stress, chronic fatigue, or chronic compassion fatigue have plagued you and made it difficult to progress through your career (especially in recent years, thanks to the pandemic), then you need to use this guide to help you stay motivated.
The same applies to those who have been recently inspired to make the leap into nursing. It can be a huge shock to start working as a nurse, especially if you got used to a role where the stakes weren’t high, like a standard office job that had you primarily work on admin work than anything critical.
Whether you are just starting your career or have hit a snag and need help getting through it, these expert tips and tricks can help you stay motivated and progress through your nursing career goals.
Always Take the Accelerated Route [If You Can]
When it comes to progressing your nursing career, you will always need to invest in further education. The cost, the effort, and the stress can be a huge barrier to progressing your career, which is why you need to stay motivated. One of the best ways to do that, both as a second career professional and as a current RN, is to always choose the accelerated option.
What accelerated means is rather simple: rather than starting from scratch, you use existing credentials to skip parts of your degree to graduate faster. Accelerating isn’t cheating. In many ways, it’s the opposite, as it helps you avoid repeating the same course material twice.
Opting for the accelerated option means less time and less money spent towards your next qualification, which is a win-win for those who either already have a bachelor’s degree or have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing.
Accelerated Second-Career Education Options
There are many instances where you can cut the fat off your nursing education and head right to the bulk of it. If you already have a degree, for example, especially if that degree was in a STEM subject, then you may be ready to jump right into an accelerated nursing degree.
This means that instead of taking the full degree, you can put your existing experience and knowledge towards shaving off time and kickstarting your career faster.
This is an excellent option particularly if you are a second-career professional. Being a second-career professional is as simple as deciding that the current path isn’t right for you and making steps towards a new one.
In many cases, this can be a murky area of effort that requires a lot of networking and a lot of patience, but when it comes to transitioning to a career in nursing, it couldn’t be more straightforward.
Learn more about accelerated degrees and what prerequisites are required (which can vary from state to state and provider to provider). If you don’t have all the prerequisites, don’t worry and instead get in touch with the enrolment advisor. You may find it easier to take the prerequisite courses one at a time while continuing your current job, or you may want to tackle those extra credits in your BSN degree.
Regardless, using the experience and qualifications you already have to fast-track through the BSN is the best way to kickstart your career as a nurse.
There are other ways, for example, you can slowly work your way up so that you can work as a Certified Nursing Assistant or Licensed Nurse Practitioner while you study your BSN part-time, but at the end of the day, you are going to need that degree, so what better way to get started than to take on that degree full time?
Full-time, an accelerated BSN can be completed in approximately 16 months. This is an incredibly fast turnaround to become an RN, meaning you can start earning well and start helping others faster.
Accelerated ADN to BSN
If you already are an RN but became an RN with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, then use that ADN qualification to similarly fast-track through your BSN. You will not be able to move up the career ladder until you have than BSN, no matter what good work you do or how much your coworkers value your knowledge.
Not pursuing your BSN as an ADN-RN could even mean having your license revoked. Some states have given a deadline by which ADN-RNs must have their BSN, but never should you start a full BSN when you can easily fast-track it.
Investigate to Find Your True Passion
There are so many different areas of medicine, meaning it can be easy to actually miss the field that interests you the most. Though you won’t be able to explore every option and every field of medicine and what you can do with it, you can easily broaden your horizons.
The best way to do this is by learning. From books to online short (and free) courses to asking other nurses or taking online quizzes, there are so many ways you can discover more about yourself and what you are excited about in the field of medicine or care.
You may find your calling in helping premature babies recover. You may find yourself thrilled working in a field like cardiology. There are enough options and roles for nurses that you can help the people you are most passionate about helping while simultaneously immersing yourself in a field of medicine that you find absolutely enthralling.
Being fascinated by the science behind care does not mean you don’t care or have compassion for how horrible something like cancer can ravage patients.
What it will do is help you care for those better while being happy to continue your training and learn more about oncology as a whole.
Use Routine to Make Your Day Feel Easier
Whether you work and study or are taking studying on full-time, it is going to take its toll. Learning and starting a new chapter of your life is always going to take more brainpower and more effort until things settle and you know what to expect.
A good way to make your day easier, which in no way means giving yourself a break or somehow slacking as a nurse, you will want to look at your routine.
Your routine can help you feel better. It can help you feel more alert and awake. It can help you understand and even memorize better. You could be taking on an accelerated degree full-time, or you could be working as an RN and working towards your BSN or MSN, and the fact remains the same: being healthier is better for yourself and those around you.
Working as a nurse and studying or studying full time are two difficult endeavors. Add on cooking meals or cleaning, and you can easily start to feel your cup overfill. Taking out the stress of those daily chores and living requirements is a great way to destress and better manage your energy.
How to Make Healthy Eating Easier
One of the key components to healthy living is healthy eating, but cooking and making home fresh meals can be too much effort when tired or stressed. A good way to avoid this effort is to hack your meals.
You could do this by using a day off (from work and studying) to prep healthy meals for the week. You could also make it easier on yourself by buying things like a rice cooker, or a microwave so that you can easily make or reheat with minimal effort.
If you have the budget for it, you could even order meal kits to your home. Having pre-portioned meals that just need to be thrown together and cooked for a few minutes can save you a lot of mental power and effort, allowing you to eat healthier and give your brain and body the fuel it needs to tackle the tasks you put in front of it.
How to Get a Better Night’s Rest
Drink coffee after coffee all day long, and you still won’t feel as awake or alert as a full night’s rest can offer. Getting that full, restful sleep, however, can feel impossible, especially if you are stressed for one reason or another.
The good news is that there are many great ways to “hack” it. Your body has a circadian rhythm. This rhythm is what can wake us up at the same time every day or make us sleepy at the same time every night. White light can mess with this rhythm.
This is because daylight is what our bodies revolve around, and daylight is the same blue-white light that emits from our electronic screens. To start, you will want to set every one of your electronics to night mode, where the screen will dim and turn warmer yellow after the sun sets.
If you can, you will also want to be very consistent with your bedtime and when you wake up. Drinking enough water throughout the day and eating healthy meals will also help you sleep deeper and more restfully every night.
If you are contending with the difficulties of shift work, then use a wind-down routine instead. An hour or two before bed, don’t look at your phone and instead listen to the same relaxing playlist while you slowly go through relaxing activities like drinking a non-caffeinated tea, meditating, or enjoying a warm bath.
How to Make it Easier to Learn
Eating well and sleeping better are both going to make it immediately easier to learn and absorb information, but there are many other great ways to make it easier and feel better to learn. When it comes to staying motivated, enjoying the learning process is one of the best tips you can take home with you.
Create a Productive Learning Environment
Create a workspace that is dedicated to your learning. This could be at a desk or on your kitchen table, but make this space for your education and nothing else. This way, you can sit down and put yourself in a productive mindset faster and more efficiently.
Work Outside or Take Breaks Outside
Nature has many great benefits for your health and mental wellbeing, including making it easier to learn and remember. If the weather is nice, don’t be afraid to work outside or study in a park at a picnic table. If you don’t have that type of time, then go for short walks outside to refresh and feel better.
Explore New Areas to Work to Keep Up Momentum
Your home working environment can start to feel stale, which allows your mind to wander and can make it feel more difficult to focus. That is why you will want to have a list of options for when you just aren’t feeling the at-home study setup.
This could be your local library, a community center, or a café. By having a large list of options, you can pick and choose which area will suit your energy the most.Being in a new environment can help your brain more readily accept and absorb new information and is also a great way to feel better when you learn.
If you need to stay motivated, use this guide for advice when facing this.