Mapping Out Career Goals: My Journey from Nursing Student to Professional RN
Navigating Texas’ Licensing and Career Opportunities in the ER
My future success and development in meeting goals in my professional nursing career are important to know and understand as I transition from a student to a trained RN. I will be seeking employment in the state of Texas. A license in Texas is obtained from the Texas Board of Nursing, which sets forth the standards for becoming licensed. Among the licensure criteria, there are three major steps that a student must complete before becoming licensed, such as passing a criminal background check through the Department of Public Safety and the FBI, registering 30 days before graduation with Pearson Vue for the NCLEX and completing an affidavit of graduation from an approved nursing program in Texas.
I will be seeking employment in the Houston area in the Emergency Room (ER) Department. I have experience working in the ER for West Houston Medical Center for eight years. Therefore, my first option is to transition into a nursing role within this hospital. Hospital requirements for new graduates require a BSN and the completed RN licensure as well as a StaRN program to obtain the necessary experience before transitioning into a staff position. The attraction to this is being able to experience hands-on clinical training within all areas of the hospital and being guaranteed a job at successful completion. The drawback to this position is that it requires an additional 10-24 weeks of training, no days can be missed, and the next enrollment is not until July 2020.
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Diverse Nursing Roles: From Home Healthcare to Otolaryngology
Another option I investigated is working in a home healthcare setting with Aveanna Healthcare, a pediatric home health company. The requirements for this position are a good-standing RN license, six months of experience, and a willingness to work with pediatric patients in a home setting. This position will provide paid training and offers a lot of flexibility with scheduling as well as part-time opportunities with benefits. The drawback to a position such as this one is that you may not be getting as many hours as a nurse in a hospital or clinical setting, and they may not accept my years of working in the ER in place of the 6 months necessary experience as an RN.
Lastly, I researched a position with Baylor College of Medicine as a Registered Nurse I. This is an entry-level nursing position in the Department of Otolaryngology and requires a current license as an RN with a BSN and a Basic Life Support certification. The drawback to this position was there was no mention of the type of schedule, benefits, or pay. These are all very big factors in choosing to take a position such as this. However, in a position such as this one, if there is no necessary experience, I could step directly into a nursing role and gain valuable experience needed for growth in my career. I used Chamberlain’s CareerCare website to create an assessment profile. Within this assessment, I was able to create goals for my life, career, and professional development in nursing.
Striking a Balance: Merging Career Ambitions with Personal Well-being
Balancing your career and your home life is very important in order to avoid burnout. Nursing is a very stressful job and requires a lot of energy and emotional stability. In order to separate work life and home life, I will have to find a balance between patient care and personal self-care. Throughout my nursing student career, I joined the gym, and it has helped me manage my stress. At first, it is difficult to think that there is no time for self-care, but there is always time if you make it a priority. In my first year, I believe that I will continue to work as it helps keep me healthy to do the necessary work, and it also helps me to release tension and maintain a healthy mindset. As my career progresses, I believe I will have experienced more adrenalin rushes, possibly some burnout, and even more deaths of patients.
In five years, I hope to have developed a system for myself with healthy habits and be able to know when I need a break and take any necessary time to refocus on myself and my health. I believe you can not take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first. In any situation, finding a few minutes of self-care, such as deep breathing or meditation techniques, can be beneficial as it relaxes the mind, helps prepare us for whatever obstacles we might encounter, and helps us provide the best patient care.
Bracing for Transition: Career Stressors from Student to Professional RN
Moving from a student to a professional will have many different challenges and come with loads of stress. The first stressor will be finding and getting a job. To help alleviate the anxiety of acquiring a new nursing position, I have visited the Chamberlain Career Center, and I have studied the literature needed on applications, interviews, and search strategies to find the best options for me and my vision for my career. I feel like being prepared for what to expect will help me to make the best of a situation that could be very stressful. After accepting a position, it will be difficult to acclimate myself to the facility, develop new relationships with existing staff, and even manage the workload.
According to a study by Casey, a new nurse graduate needs a year to acclimate to the new atmosphere, and months 6-12 are the most difficult. In order to manage this, I hope to enter a new nurse orientation that will help guide me through the transition and allow me the first few months to develop a superior understanding of the systems, charting, and teams. I also plan to look for a mentor whom I can go to with questions and concerns during any difficult situations. Five years after being established in my career, the stressors will surely still be present, just in a different context. As technology changes and systems advance, it can influence nurses as hospitals and workplaces roll out new methods and systems. For this type of challenge, I plan on, again, trying to be prepared the best I can and implementing my holistic life balance techniques to help with the transitions of new and developed processes.
Commitment to Lifelong Learning and Aspiring to CRNA
Within my first year after graduation and starting my career, I also plan on exercising the option of obtaining my master’s in nursing. Continuing my education is also dependent on where I am able to get a job. If I can transition into a nursing role within the hospital I currently work for, the master’s program will be sponsored and paid for by my employer; in this case, I will immediately continue my education. If I obtain employment somewhere else, I will take the first year to acclimate myself to my new surroundings, get more experience and training, and then continue my education.
My 5-year goal is to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). I will use my experience in an acute setting to better my chances of getting accepted to the program. Also, during this time, I will work on obtaining needed certifications such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Certification. Learning will also be a part of my everyday life. There is always a new case, new patient, and different illnesses to learn about in a day at work as a nurse.
Embracing Professional Contributions: Amplifying Nursing’s Voice
It can be easy to get started in a nursing career and be so encompassed by work and life and trying to balance it all that government or educational changes are often pushed aside. According to Nock, by joining and contributing to a professional nursing community, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA), I will have the ability to network with other professionals and have access to the latest articles and resources concerning nurses and even help to influence policy that can help provide the best patient care. The ANA also helps with career development and can help unite members with opportunities that non-members do not have. In alignment with my future goals, I plan to become a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).
The AANA also contributes to legislation, and being a part of this group will allow me the chance to stay up to date with my profession, earn CE credits, and even take part in research on CRNA and patient care. Professional development is key to enhancing my skills and my overall career. Every day, we see legislators making laws that make our job nearly impossible in a clinical setting, and it is important to connect to groups where we, as nurses, can help make a difference and really improve patient care.
In the next few years following graduation, I know it will be important to maintain a positive attitude and learn balance as I transition from student to professional. Learning holistic life techniques will help me manage uncomfortable situations. I look forward to joining professional organizations to be a part of such a community that can help with my career goals and help nurses be heard on a state and federal level. I look forward to the next chapter in my career as a nurse.
- Texas Board of Nursing. (2022). Licensure Guidelines and Procedures.
- Pearson Vue. (2022). NCLEX Registration and Guidelines.
- West Houston Medical Center. (2021). Emergency Room Department: Overview and Opportunities.
- Aveanna Healthcare. (2023). Pediatric Home Health: Job Requirements and Benefits.