Doing a bit of career housekeeping at year end can help clear away mental cobwebs and stagnant behaviors. Once you've got a clean slate, it's much easier to make the new year into whatever you most desire.
Here are four simple steps to getting your work into tip-top shape:
1. Update your resume.
It's fun to look back over the past year and see what you've accomplished and what new skills you've added to your bag of tricks. Write a stream-of-consciousness list and let yourself go, not worrying whether an item is deserving of mention, and if people will think you're bragging by taking credit for achievements.
Once you've added, deleted, or revised that rough draft, update your resume so that it you ever decide to go for another position or a promotion, you'll be ready.
2. Create a LinkedIn profile.
Or update it if you already have one. (There's a nice feature that lets you import your resume so you don't have to re-type the whole thing.)
More and more nurses are turning to social media sites, like LinkedIn, to gain the recognition and connections that drive career development. Be one of the digitally savvy folks in the healthcare profession.
3. Set up folders, either online or in a home file cabinet.
For instance, grab some manilla folders and mark them Benefits, Resume, Promotions, Vacation, Education, etc. (You can make them even more distinct by breaking up Benefits into 401K, Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, and so on.)
That way, it's simple to toss any documents in the proper folder. When it's time to update your resume, say, you'll have memory joggers about any special projects you completed or educational seminars you attended.
Be sure to mark one folder Praise, then stuff it with letters of commendation, thanks from patients and their families, and employee recognition program accolades. When you're down and feeling unappreciated, you can browse through that file as a reminder that what you do as a nurse really does matter.
4. Start working with that Education file now.
Decide what you want to learn in 2014 that will help catapult you into a more satisfying or better-paying position. Check with your nurse supervisor or human resources department to see what courses are available and if your employer will cover the cost.
Even if you don't want to go so far as to add a degree or specialization, taking a course here and there can keep you up to date. And it can help keep you excited about your career as a nurse.
The topic doesn't have to be entirely job related, either. Perhaps you want to brush up on your high school Spanish. Or maybe join Toastmasters so you're more comfortable speaking out at meetings. Learning is growing, so any course is a great investment in your professional future.
How will you decide to organize your way to awesome in the new year?
Jebra Turner is a freelance business and health writer living in Portland, Oregon, but you can visit her online at www.jebra.com.