Why you should set goals for your nursing career

31 March 2022

Nurse in blue uniform smiling at camera

Setting goals can help you get the most out of your life. They guide your focus, create and maintain momentum and give you a clear destination to reach.

In your nursing career, it’s important to set goals. They encourage you to challenge yourself, keep things exciting and help you to reach your potential.

If you’re a current or aspiring Nurse, you may want to create career goals for your future.

Your goals should motivate and spark excitement inside you. They can help you to plan your career, improve your skills and advance into senior positions.

Why setting goals is important

  1. Goals provide focus

Without goals in place, it's easy to ‘sleepwalk’ through life. This can make you feel like you’re not achieving anything. Goals give you a clear focus on what you want to achieve, making it easier to work out how to get there.

  1. Goals help measure your progress

Whether you’ve set yourself short-term or long-term goals, both can help you see the progress you’re making and establish the rate you’re going.

3. Goals provide motivation

Goals remind you of the things that you want to achieve.

Thinking of your end goal can be motivating. And every time you hit a small goal, it can motivate you to keep going to reach the next.

4. Goals can help eliminate distraction and procrastination

It’s easy to get distracted and lose sight of where you’re heading. Goals realign your focus, help to minimise distraction and allow you to refocus if you ‌get distracted. 

How to set short-term and long-term goals

Setting short-term goals

Setting short-term goals is great to stay motivated and keep the momentum going to reach your bigger goals. Short-term goals should be things you can reach now or soon. 

Think about the big things you want to achieve and break them down into smaller steps. These will be your short-term goals.

For example, your long-term goal might be to get a promotion, so your short-term goal might be to learn something new or do training that will help you get that promotion.

At Exemplar Health Care, we offer a range of learning opportunities to support your career related goals.

For Nurses who want to progress into a leadership role, our formal learning programmes include People Management Skills and Leadership and Management Programme.

Or if you want to develop their clinical skills, we offer a range of specialist eLearning modules and face-to-face training, including Exemplar Positive Behaviour Support training.

You also have the opportunity to work on different units and in different homes so you can develop your skills and experience, such as working with people with Huntington’s disease or who have tracheostomies.

As a company, we’re embarking on an exciting digital transformation, so you’ll get the training and support to increase your digital and technology skills.

As an employer, we also support non work related goals. For example, if you’re goal is to manage stress better, we offer mindfulness training. Or if your goal is to manage your finances better, our online Wellbeing Centre and fastPAYE system has online tips and tools to help you manage your money.

Setting long-term goals

The long-term goals you set will be personal to you. Whether you’re just starting your career in nursing or have been a Nurse for a while, ask yourself what you want for yourself in the future.

Whatever you dream of achieving in your nursing career, these should be your long-term goals.

One thing to remember is that, unlike short-term goals, long-term goals will normally take time to accomplish, so it’s ok to change your long-term goals along the way. 

At Exemplar Health Care, our Nurses can progress into a range of roles including Unit Manager, Home Manager, Commissioning Home Director, Practice Learning Facilitator and Quality Manager.

Read more about nursing career journeys at Exemplar Health Care.

How to stick to your goals and achieve them

Setting goals is often the simple, exciting part - sticking to them can be harder.

Here are some of our tips on sticking to your goals.

  1. Make your goals specific. Write ‌down exactly what you want to achieve and how you will achieve them.
  2. Make smaller goals that you achieve regularly that align with your long-term goals.
  3. Celebrate your wins, big and small.
  4. Hold yourself accountable. Remind yourself why you set your goals in the first place and why you want to achieve them.
  5. Be lenient with yourself. If you fall off track don’t dwell on it, just pick up where you left off.

Nursing jobs with Exemplar Health Care

Are you looking for a new career opportunity in nursing?

A career as a Nurse with Exemplar Health Care offers stable and rewarding employment, with exclusive rewards and great career progression.

We’re proud of the people that work for us meaning you’ll be surrounded by a wonderful team of colleagues who go above and beyond to make every day better for the residents living in our specialist needs care homes.

We’re looking to grow our team with caring and compassionate people. So whatever your skills and experience, there’s a role at Exemplar Health Care for you.

Use our handy job finder to find nursing jobs near you.