11 Examples of Professional Goals for Nurses

If you are a nurse practitioner or registered nurse looking for career goals and professional goals, this blog post is just what you need! Even as a nurse, it’s is important to have a professional development plan with achievable goals. Setting SMART goals will help you advance your career in a realistic and targeted way. The first step is to decide what you want to work towards.

5 Achievable Examples Of Nursing Career Goals
  • Advance your Degree. …
  • Take a Management Position. …
  • Become a Specialist. …
  • Obtain Professional Certifications. …
  • Provide Nursing Services to Rural Areas.

Goals for Nursing Evaluations

How to choose a nursing career goal

Setting graduate nursing goals is advisable for graduates to guide them as they begin their nursing careers, while licensed nurses should have their own professional goals. Here are some steps you can follow to choose a nursing career goal:

1. Ask yourself about your nursing career goals

You need to know why you are choosing your goals. For instance, perhaps you desire to travel and work internationally or need to have a flexible schedule to spend time with your family. Some things to consider before setting nursing career goals include:

2. Write and set goals that match your ambitions

As an individual, you can reflect on your life experiences and make a list of what you want to achieve during your career and areas to improve on. In addition, you may research and get insights on attainable career goals and choose which one suits your preferences. Thereafter, you can classify the goals as short-term nursing goals or long-term nursing goals, depending on the timeframe it will take to accomplish them. Goals attained in about a year or less are short-term goals. Those that take longer are typically considered long-term goals.

3. Check out the educational requirements and the job prospects

Why is it important to set professional goals as a nurse?

Whether youre a recent graduate or planning to advance your current skills as a registered nurse (RN), goal setting is an essential element in Professional Development. Professional goals help individuals focus on what is important to them and concentrate on how to achieve them. By working on your objectives, you have a higher likelihood of achieving career satisfaction. Goals also help people use time more appropriately. By acknowledging that they have goals to reach, they work on important tasks during personal and working hours.

Setting long-term goals will help you advance in your career as a nurse. Accomplishing these goals will increase your personal and professional satisfaction and will also combat burnout. Setting goals for your nursing career can help you:

  • Plan ahead
  • Constantly develop skills
  • Improve earning potential
  • Feel fulfilled

Goals bring focus and prevent career drift.

Nursing is a broad profession, and you have many career options. When you set professional nursing goals, you gain clarity and direction to make your career more purposeful. Goals give you a path to follow in your career.

Goals help you measure progress.

You can measure the progress of your career more easily when you have specific professional nursing goals, such as obtaining certification in a specialty or earning a graduate degree in nursing. When you set deadlines for yourself, you’ll know whether you’re on track to achieving your goals. They can also give you a sense of urgency that keeps your career moving.

Goals help you build your resume and develop a strong competency base.

When you set professional nursing goals, you don’t just make your career more focused; you also improve the content of your resume. Taking classes, attending workshops, and participating in conferences increase your knowledge base and give you credentials that will typically make you more marketable to future employers. When you take a career-focused approach to build new skills, earning qualifications, and gaining experience in new areas, you’ll overcome resume gaps to enable you to take the next steps in your career.

Goals are motivating and increase your sense of purpose.

Setting professional nursing goals can be very motivating. When you keep track of your career progress, you notice your achievements and see how they fit into your long-term goals. This is motivating and can help you build confidence, too.

Goals help you act professionally.

Professional nurses have clear professional boundaries and must always act within them. Your goals can help you ensure that you always act in a way that is ethical and moral, taking care not to cross professional boundaries. Goals can change your focus and increase your levels of professionalism, helping you think and act like a senior staff member as you climb the ladder.

Goals can open you up to new experiences.

It’s easy to get caught up in daily routines and miss opportunities that could benefit your career. Establishing professional nursing goals makes you more likely to notice new opportunities and experiences when they present themselves. Goals can also help you recognize when an opportunity doesn’t align with your values or career path.

Goals can set you up for career advancement.

As you progress in your nursing career, it’s essential that you continually grow professionally and personally. Setting goals means you’re more likely to advance in your current position and eventually move on to a new opportunity. Whether you want a leadership position, a different type of job, or even to eventually start your own health care business, setting professional nursing goals will help you in your progression.

7 examples of long-term professional goals for nurses

Below are nursing career goals achievable in 5 years or longer:

1. Get unit-specific certifications

Individuals who wish to work in environments like the intensive care unit should gain specialized skills to increase their competency. A majority of hospitals teach technical skill classes internally. They include:

2. Raise your competency level

Almost every unit in the hospital has a specialization, so its essential to familiarize yourself with your work units procedures and aim to become a specialist. Attending classes can help you advance your skills in specific techniques and increase your competency level. Improved competency contributes to patient safety and overall satisfaction.

3. Upgrade your communication skills

Communication is a vital skill in nursing as it aids the provision of care and treatment. Possessing excellent communication skills enhances interaction with patients, doctors, lab technicians, nursing assistants, and other staff who assist in overall patient satisfaction, care and experience. Since you interact with patient populations with varying communication skills and levels of education, try to understand their feelings and concerns to give correct recommendations.

4. Get a higher management rank

Higher ranks signify greater responsibilities that offer an opportunity for career progression and also enable individuals to get a pay raise too. An example of a management position is a head nurse position. A head nurse manages work shift schedules, staffing and resolves problems that could arise during working hours. To become a head nurse, you need five years of experience and a BSN degree, although some hospitals may prefer a post-graduate degree.

5. Get an advanced degree

An advanced degree enables you to further your career in specific areas. Advanced training allows a nurse to focus on various patient populations and offer personalized direct care to patients. To choose a specialty, an individual needs to identify which area they feel passionate about or naturally attracts them. It also requires some commitment and time to achieve this goal.

Advanced training requires a postgraduate degree or a doctorate for registered nurses. Some specialties in advanced practice include nurse practitioner, physicians assistant, nurse anesthetist and nurse-midwife.

6. Extend your nursing services to remote places

This long-term goal suits individuals who are passionate about charity. Remote areas have little to no access to comprehensive medical facilities and care, therefore, nurses can enroll in programs such as flight care nursing to supplement this need. By participating in such programs, you have various effects on peoples lives in remote areas and as a result, you can be eligible for plans that lower your student loan debts.

7. Balance professional and personal life

As a nurse, it is often essential to balance your career and your personal life. However, this is a long-term career goal that requires effective time management. You can do this by dedicating some personal time for your friends and family, having a schedule set for your working hours and adhering to it and organizing your priorities.

4 examples of short-term nursing career goals

These types of goals are quicker to accomplish and a nurse can often attain them in about a year. They include:

1. Take and pass the NCLEX-RN certification test

This is one of the main graduate nurse goals since most employers require it before approving a hire. Passing the NCLEX-RN test is compulsory to propel forward in your nursing career and get certified. Several bodies give certifications to nurses, one example being the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

Afterward, individuals can update their resumes and apply for nursing position jobs. Applying and getting your first job as a registered nurse is motivating for most people. Thereafter, you will progress and change positions as time goes by through gaining experience. Still, it is a significant step in your nursing career.

2. Gain experience during the training period

Most training periods take over four months and during this duration, nurses ought to be curious to get clarity on how things work. This period is exceptional as its a mark of transition from studying to practicing the taught skills, which provides an opportunity for recent graduates to showcase their skills early in their nursing careers. This short-term goal acts as a base for eventual long-term goals.

3. Keep learning consistently in your practice

The healthcare sector is a growing industry that requires an individual to keep learning to stay aware of necessary changes. Nurses should prioritize consistent learning about their profession and find opportunities to gain new knowledge. Nurses should also be technologically competent by learning the latest technological features and advancements to give better care and treatment to patients.

4. Join professional organizations

Depending on your area of specialization, you can join several professional associations to progress in your career. These organizations also use evidence-based practice to assist members in being updated on current procedures. The organizations arrange conferences to gain new knowledge on various issues. To propel your nursing career, you can work on panels and in advisory councils.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


What are some professional goals for nurses?

7 examples of long-term professional goals for nurses
  • Get unit-specific certifications. …
  • Raise your competency level. …
  • Upgrade your communication skills. …
  • Get a higher management rank. …
  • Get an advanced degree. …
  • Extend your nursing services to remote places. …
  • Balance professional and personal life.

What are examples of SMART goals in nursing?

Examples Of SMART Goals For Nursing
  • Simple goal: I want to show more compassion and empathy to my patients.
  • SMART nursing goal: I will spend an extra five minutes with each new patient and ask questions about their lives to learn at least three interests we can discuss to distract them from stress about their condition.

What are professional goals examples?

10 Examples of Professional Goals For Work 2022
  • Take a course to sharpen your skills.
  • Learn a new tool (or 5)
  • Improve your public speaking and presentations.
  • Research other departments.
  • Improve team collaboration and communication skills.
  • Build your network.
  • Research a competitor.
  • Get better at time management.

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