2017 is almost a memory and 2018 is on the horizon, and that means one thing for nurses and non-nurses alike: New Year’s resolutions.

Many people are indulging in retrospection and re-evaluating some of their life choices. New Year’s resolutions are the perfect opportunity for all those who have failed to start making the changes that they said they would make next week, next month, or perhaps at the end of Winter.
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If those patients have really been getting to you lately, and you are pretty much over everyone’s issues on your unit, perhaps now’s your chance to sit down and prepare a list of important lifestyle and mindset changes you wish to make.

It’s true they’re hard to keep, and most people forget them by February, and yes real change is difficult. However, if you’ve made the decision to become a nurse, it’s clear you have the capacity for self-improvement in you. You’ve already made a commitment to study, to serve, and to surmount challenges. You’ve got this. If you can be a nurse, you have it in you to be an even better nurse.

“I will have more empathy”

Let’s be honest for a moment: Patients can be annoying. They seem to always need something or, even worse, they refuse to take your good advice. And it is always just about them. What you think, or feel is not allowed air-time on the nurse platform. They complain and lash out, and sometimes you wonder why they’re even seeking medical treatment at all. Anyone who’s ever worked in healthcare can tell you stories about nightmare patients.

But there’s a reason healthcare is often so tense. People who need treatment are often experiencing a fair amount of stress. You, a trained nurse, might know that a patient’s disease or injury can be easily managed, but he or she might not. On top of that, they could also be thinking about things like missed work, insurance entanglements, and how long they’ll have to be in a hospital, away from their normal life.

Empathy is necessary for nurses to keep their wits about them, and to keep from turning into nightmares for their patients. It can be difficult, but it’s entirely necessary.

“I will explore”

There are many ways to be a nurse. The clear majority of nurses work in hospitals, but smaller clinics, assisted living facilities, private homes, and schools also employ nurses. It’s also possible to work as a nurse educator, a consultant, or even as an entrepreneur. Explore your options. Find new ways to shape your career. Expand your horizons and uncover what you’re good at. And, if you’re really up for a challenge, go abroad. Being a nurse can take you far beyond the world you know. No matter what your plan is, resolve to avoid that comfort zone which will inhibit your growth potential.

“I will learn”

Education isn’t just something you do once. It is an ongoing process. For nurses, that means continually making sure their healthcare knowledge is kept up to date, and that they understand current best practices. It can also mean aiming for a more advanced level of nursing education. If you don’t have your BSN yet, achieving one is a perfect New Year’s resolution. If you do, you can be part of the growing number of nurses with BSNs. A major goal for the industry is for 80 percent of nurses to have a BSN by 2020.

“I will forgive myself”

Most of the resolutions made at this time are all-or-nothing kinds. People vow to totally give up chocolate or to exercise every day for instance. Yet the inevitable moment arrives when they succumb to temptation. It is the nature of being an imperfect human. When this happens (and it probably will), don’t beat yourself up or wallow in defeat. Instead, forgive yourself and start again.

Keeping New Years’ Resolutions means that when you fall, you get back up and keep on keeping on.

What are your resolutions for 2018?
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