Nurses, do you need some new magic in your nursing career? Nursing career development  isn’t rocket science, but manifesting some magic and joy for your career is certainly possible if you want it. Is it time to let the rabbit out of the hat?

Let your nursing career magic out of the hat

On January 22nd, 2018, I published a blog post about this subject, and I recommend you read the entire post as a companion to this podcast episode.

Here are some quotes from that blog post:

If your nursing career feels like it’s lost some of its magic and mojo, don’t despair — there’s plenty you can do to make things right again.

Sometimes, our careers feel lackluster because our current area of practice or specialty no longer feels like a good fit — after all, we change personally over time, and our professional lives need to change along with us.

At other times, it’s a negative workplace culture or poor cultural fit that makes your work feel like a slog. Even if the workplace culture isn’t terrible, you may simply not feel aligned with your colleagues, and that can make you feel like a nurse fish out of water.

Career magic can be lost when your personal life has changed, and your needs (or the needs of your family) are impacting how you feel about your work. Years of night shift may no longer serve you when your elderly parents need you present for daytime management of their healthcare. Or maybe your physical health or stamina aren’t what they used to be, and you need a job that feels like a better fit at this point in your life.

Losing the magic doesn’t mean it’s gone forever, but it does mean that you need to put some skin in the game, apply some elbow grease, and figure out how to set things right again.

A (Not So) Magical Strategy

Coming up with a magical strategy isn’t really magic — it’s more about persistence, attention, intention, and the desire to do the hard work of finding your new path. Here are some ideas for where to begin your inquiry:

1) Assess where you are in your current area of work or specialty. Is it fulfilling? Does it utilize the skill set(s) that you feel speak to who you are and who you want to be as a nurse? If your area of practice has lost its hold on you, moving forward may be impossible until you come up with a new plan of action.

2) Seek informational interviews with nurses doing work that piques your curiosity.

3) Attend a conference or seminar about an area of professional interest.

4) Consume various media that share content of relevance to your situation and your professional desires (e.g.: articles, books, blog posts, videos, and podcasts).

5) Shadow a nurse who does a type of nursing that you find fascinating.

6) Work with a career coach, life coach, or counselor who can walk you through a process of research, career development, and personal/professional self-discovery.

7) Seek opportunities to utilize personality inventories (e.g.: Myers Briggs) or other tools (e.g.: DISC assessment; StrengthFinders) that will help you deepen your level of self-inquiry and self-knowledge. 

This professional nursing journey is what you make it. You may find an area of specialty practice that remains compelling and fulfilling for 30 or 40 years. Then again, the magic can disappear at any moment, and you’re faced with the decision of staying the course out of habit or striking into the unknown in search of a novel path of professional self-discovery.

Career magic can indeed be magical, but it can also entail the seemingly un-magical shedding of copious blood, sweat, and tears to create the life and career you want. How you approach the creation of magic is up to you, but know that the magic is always there within your grasp if you’re willing to invite it to your door.


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Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses.

Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.