Career Planning and Developmental Tool: Four Phases

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Phase 1: Scanning the Environment


Planning for my future and exploring the opportunities that are open to me is an important step in ensuring that I have a successful career. A key state in my career planning will be to scan the environment for current realities and future trends in the nursing field. This is a critical step since the market requirements are constantly changing and it will be prudent to highlight what is relevant in the present market.

Good academic qualifications are mandatory for one to enter the nursing field. This is because academic qualifications imply competence in the various nursing practices that are going to be required in the field. Educational requirements in the nursing field include the attainment of a bachelor’s degree. This qualification enables one to stage a competitive bargain in the nursing field. The nursing practice services are highly in demand in both nursing and related health care services (Dorothy, 2011, p.1). With the high demand in the market, the employers are keen about the decision they make in hiring new members of staff. Typically, employees look for the candidate who has attained a high level of theoretical and practical knowledge in the field.

The health care field is constantly changing as new methods are discovered or older practices refined so as to provide a quality care for the patients. For a nursing professional to remain valid in the field, he/she must keep abreast with the current practices in the field. Davidson (2006, p. 183) suggests that the nurse should join professional bodies and subscribe to nursing journals which highlight the current industrial practices. By doing this, a person will always be relevant in the field and be able to provide the best care for the patient.

Local Trends and Issues

Employers are also looking for a workforce that is able to stay current as the industry keeps on changing constantly. Flexibility and personal drive to stay current and relevant to the market is a plus to anyone seeking a position in the health care facilities. Employees are asking for self drive and competence in the market in terms of skill. Nonetheless, the number of registered nurses is out weighed by the demand of their services. This has been influenced by a number of factors in the field. The most prevailing factor is the challenge of recruiting and retaining qualified and registered nurses.

The competition in the job market is growing everyday and consequently the market requirements are quickly getting more and more competitive. The fundamental responsibilities of a nurse in accordance to the International code of ethics for nurses are “promotion of health, prevention of illness, restoration of health and the alleviation of suffering” (Davidson, 2005, p.181). All employers require the candidate to be competent enough to fulfill these fundamental responsibilities.

Nurses’ deal with many people on a daily basis asking question to verify the problem a patient is faring. In the process they are subjected to difficult situations. Patients come with different moods and the nurses have to contain and cope with each patient as they come. In the nursing practice, time is never enough (McVicar, 2003, p.43). Nurses have to deal with so many issues with very limited time at their disposal and they always work against time. The challenge is how to manage the limited time and perform one’s duties effectively and competitively.

National Trends and Issues

Demand for nursing services has a direct influence also on the market as compensation does. Medical services are increasingly rising in demand and that increases the need for nursing services. The shortage of nurses raises the possibilities for graduating nurses to be absorbed in the market.

In the nursing field, collaborative work is encouraged and working in groups is commonplace. In such environments, the individual members are required to demonstrate high levels of commitment to achieving the collective goals and objectives (Van Loon & Carey, 2002, p.45). Employees are looking for people who can participate in collaborative work by understanding that collaboration is about sharing and responding to each others ideas and not taking over or dominating.

Most employees are keen to maintain their current staff and avoid constant hiring. This is because the hiring process is expensive since the new employees have to be orientated, mentored and enrolled into preceptor programs to make them efficient in their new posts. Education factor is also an input in the market as the level of academic performance is held so highly in determining the workforce in the healthcare industry (Waddell, Donner & Wheeler, 2009, p.22). In readiness for a nursing career, an individual has to respond to the academic qualifications required to meet the standard mark of consideration in the field.

Cultural competence is especially significant since the US is a multicultural country. Van Loon and Carey (2002, p.78) assert that the clinical decisions made by the nurse are based on multiple social factors and it is therefore imperative for the nurse to be knowledgeable of the various cultural factors. Without considering culture, the nurse will not be able to act in a manner that is beneficial to the patient. Cultural competence will ensure that the nurse has the best interests of the patient in mind while providing service.

The nursing profession has its bright moments and dark ones as well just as any other profession and career. Bright moments include the feeling of satisfaction and reward that comes from being able to help a patient successfully overcome their sufferings. However, challenges are more pronounced in this practice compared to many other careers out there. A nurse normally works under the instruction of a doctor who is the superior in the chain of command. Nurses are challenged with this issue of questioning the doctor’s directives (McVicar, 2003, p.23). A doctor may give a nurse an order while he or she has made a mistake but normally nurses are not in a position to question the order in fear not to be or sound rude.

Global Trends and Issues

Job opportunities in the nursing market include school nurses who work with the children in schools. Nurse practitioners who have diagnosis and treating training are required in health centers to offer patient care. Hospitals are the major instructions that require nursing services although other emerging new markets have come up. Organizations that are not health oriented like the beverages companies currently are hiring nurse practitioners whose responsibilities include checking on fellow employee s’ health. The need for nursing services has grown to greater heights surpassing the regular hospital employment. Nurses are being employed none-health firms to provide health guidance to the staff and for medical consultation.

Cultural competence is also one of the desirable attributes that employers seek while hiring. Cultural competence is defined by Purnell (2002, p. 195) as “the process through which cultural differences are recognized and the individual acts in a manner that is culturally appropriate”. This competence is becoming a necessity in the nursing field as nurses have to deal with patients from diverse cultures.

Strong leadership is desirable for the success of all organizations since it ensures that goals and objectives are met. This applies for the health care field where leadership will assist in the achieving of goals and completing tasks (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p.3). The market is therefore looking for strong leaders who are not only able to not only motivate followers but also to inspire them to work towards meeting organizational goals.

Phase 2: Self examination

In the nursing field, certain skills are necessary for a person to provide quality care to the patient. One skill that is of great importance is good communication skills. Proper communication is fundamental in the nursing career since the nurse is required to elicit information from the patient as well as give proper feedback in the course of providing service to the patient. Effective communication is deemed as the corner stone on all successful relationships and it would be impossible to adequately serve a patient if there is a breakdown in communication (Van Loon & Carey, 2002, p.34). Nationally, I am a social person and have the ability to talk to people and make them feel comfortable and confident enough to confide in me. This combined with my passion for nursing and my drive to assist people to access health services will make me competitive in the nursing field.

Nurses are predisposed to experience a lot of stress in their work life. McVicar (2003, p.132) declares that nursing professionals are more likely to report high levels of workplace stress as compared to other professionals. This is because of the emotional labor that arises from the relationships that nurses form with their patients as they endeavor to offer them better care. I make it a habit to ensure my mental health by taking time to unwind and avoid too much pressure. I also maintain a strong social support system which includes my family and close friends. This people help me to cope with stressful situations and therefore avoid being overwhelmed. By ensuring that I am not overwhelmed, I can manage to take time and try to understand a person from their point of view then after listening patiently to their concerns I respond with the best solution possible.

I am passionate about nursing and I believe that this passion will be useful in building a strong career in nursing. As a result of my passion, I am able to look beyond the challenges that I have to go through so as to fulfill my goal. Compensation in the field of nursing in most cases is quite attractive and many students are influenced to pursue nursing in response to that. But to establish a successful career in the nursing industry one has to look beyond the paycheck. Nursing is a humanity service oriented job and only passion and a call for service can influence a successful career in this field. A deep passion for the career will ensure that I will be enthusiastic about providing care to my patients since I have a deep conviction that a nurse should always be there for the patient. Hard work is an important tool as well in making a successful contribution in the profession as time is crucial in health management (Davidson, 2006, p.182). The ability to go the extra mile is a virtue in the health practitioners.

As a nurse, I am bound to constantly encounter patients who will be facing bleak situations. The chances of such patients making a successful recovery will be influenced not only by the effectiveness of the medical procedures that they go through but also by their frame of mind (Lieff, 2009, p. 1385). I have had the value of positive attitude instilled in me by my parents since I was a child. I will therefore use this positive attitude to inspire patients and make them hopeful of recovery. In my future in a management capacity, I will use my positive attitude to inspire other employees and therefore enhance my leadership abilities.

Phase 3: Career vision

My vision is to acquire the knowledge necessary to become competitive in the nursing field and hence excel in my career. To offer health services to all and in the process contribute to the creation of a better world. Be a helping hand to patients and protect life in my capacity the best way possible.

Phase 4: Strategic Development

Action Steps Resources When to Accomplish How will I know I Have Succeeded?
Achieve the highest possible level of academic qualifications that will enable me to be competitive in the nursing field and remain relevant in the constantly changing nursing field.
  • My tutors
  • My colleagues
Within 1 year My successful completion of my Nursing degree and graduation from college.
The acquisition of my RN certification
Gain meaningful employment within the health service industry
  • My tutors and colleagues
  • My Friends and the acquaintances I have who work in the health care industry
Within 6 months of completing my studies I should have obtained gained employment with a hospital where I can begin working as a general nurse
Increase my proficiency as a nurse and hone my collaboration skills since the nursing field requires one to
  • Nursing Journals
Throughout the course of my employment as a nurse I will develop professionalism which implies adopting professional values and behaviors and being adept to working in an interdisciplinary collaborative environment.
Develop a network of useful contacts. These contacts will be essential in my career advancement as well as for mentorship purposes.
  • My tutors and colleagues
  • The internet
Throughout the course of my career I should have a number of good professional contacts and a solid professional network.
Enrolled in nursing Management
  • My tutors and colleagues
  • The internet
In the next 3years I should have set out to further my studies in nursing management
To achieve my goal to become a manager, I should have classes within the next 4 years.
Move from general nurse to management position
  • My Friends and the acquaintances I have who work in the health care industry
In 5 years My employment at a management position


Davidson, P. M. (2006). Clinical leadership in contemporary clinical practice: implications for nursing in Australia. Journal of Nursing Management, 14(4), 180-187.

Dorothy, S. (2011). Developing Business Acumen in Baccalaureate Students: Challenges and Triumphs. Web.

Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2007). The Leadership Challenge (4th Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lieff, S. J. (2009). Perspective: The Missing Link in Academic Career Planning and Development: Pursuit of Meaningful and Aligned Work. Academic Medicine, 84 (3), 1383-1388.

McVicar, A. (2003). Workplace Stress in Nursing: a Literature Review. Boston: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Purnell, L. (2002). The Purnell Model for Cultural Competence. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13 (3): 193-196.

Van Loon, A.M. & Carey, L.B. (2002) Faith community nursing and health care chaplaincy in Australia: a new collaboration, in L.M. Vandecreek & S. Mooney (eds) Parish Nurses, Health Care Chaplains and Community Clergy: Navigating the Maze of Professional Relationships. NY: Haworth Press.

Waddell, J., Donner, G. & Wheeler, M. (2009). Building Your Nursing Career, A Guide for Students (3rd Ed.). Toronto: Mosby Elsevier.

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