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  • Writer's pictureRnMindset

When is a Nurse Successful?

Success is a tricky word these days. Many people have a different view of what success means. Being a nurse is a journey. Nursing is a career, job, and lifestyle. No matter what stage you are at in your nursing career, remember this one tip to remind you just how special you are being a nurse, and how successful you really are.

According to Zig Ziglar, "success is not a destination, it's a journey, it's the direction in which you are traveling." That's the tip, and the clue to help you remember how successful you are as a nurse. Whether you are in high school wanting to be a nurse, or you are a seasoned veteran in a large hospital, when you are on the right path to doing what you love doing, that is a success.

It is a proud feeling most people have when they get into the college of their dreams. Proud moments are followed by getting into a nursing program, then passing nursing exams and clinicals, then graduating from nursing school, then passing the NCLEX, then getting your first nursing job. A really successful fealing is when you help other people, and you get the feeling that all of the nights of studying paid off.

A sad feeling that many nurses are feeling now, which may contribute to not feeling successful is the feeling of not having progression. While on a hike it is nice to sit down and enjoy the view, if you are stuck on the trail and not moving in a good direction you will feel hopeless and in nursing terms "burned out."

If you feel like you need a change to progress in your career, do what makes you happy. Staying in a toxic situation to your success is a horrible feeling. One experience to expound on this point is an experience I had while visiting with a man who had a well-trained dog. The dog was a purebred and would listen to his master extremely well. If his master told him to do something the dog would do the task even if it meant severe pain to the dog. The master had an emergency whistle that when whistled the dog would drop whatever task it was doing and return to the master.

I watched the man play fetch with the dog in a river that was moving swiftly. The master would throw a stick close to the bank, making sure not making it too difficult on the dog. A younger boy saw the game and decided to throw a small log into the river, and he threw it in far. The dog jumped into the river and swam to get the log. It was seemingly impossible for the dog to get the log, but the dog kept trying to retrieve the log. Everyone on the bank was yelling frantically for the dog to give up and return to shore, but the loyal dog tried and tried and tried to get the huge log back into shore. Regardless of the yelling from shore, the dog didn't stop until the master blew the emergency whistle.

When we are talking about the road of success, I imagine that the success road is what makes you happy. It's a road of "process" that you enjoy. If you are not happy with where you are at, you need a change. With the stresses of life, it is easy for people to be like the dog who are working tirelessly on a hopeless cause. Nursing is a broad career, if you are unhappy with the position you are in, do what needs to be done to make you happy. The "logs" that many nurses encounter is staying loyal to ungrateful employers, not going back to school to continue education, staying in a job you hate but are too afraid to leave because of financial obligations. Sometimes nurses need that emergency whistle to get them back on the trail that makes them happy.

Remember that success is a journey, not a destination. There will always be more ladders to climb in the nursing world and more money to be had with higher positions. Enjoy where you are at now, and keep moving forward. If you are not happy with where you are at, and you do not feel successful, think about what makes you most happy, and then do it.


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