I am a career coach who helps nurses transition into health technology careers. Since 2020, the pandemic has taken a toll on healthcare workers’ mental and physical health. In 2021, it is not surprising that many nurses are looking for other career options. Here are the three pieces of career change advice I am giving my clients this year—regardless of what field they are trying to get into.
A personal mission statement is similar to a corporate mission statement. This statement describes out what you stand for, what your values are and why you do what you do. It is a way of defining your “why” for wanting to make a career change.
I advise my clients to start by writing out a personal mission statement because it helps clarify their wants and desires. Instead of focusing on what they do not want (like being understaffed or dealing with administrative red tape), it gives them a chance to reflect on what they do want.
I like to share these questions to get the ideas flowing:
You can use the answers to these questions to fill in your personal mission statement.
“My mission is to [career change you want to make] so that [why you want to make this career change]. I am passionate about [what makes you get out of bed in the morning] and am happiest when I can [what made you happiest in a job], which this career change will allow me to do. I feel I can bring my skills of [three things you are good at] to an organization that has the qualities of [what made you proud to work for an organization]."
It is much easier to plan a career change when you understand what it is like working in your target area. No matter how much online research you do, nothing replaces perspective from someone already in the role.
I advise my clients to connect with people working in health technology in various capacities. This could mean reaching out to employees at the same organization who are in the desired role. It could mean reaching out to people in their professional, friend and family networks.
I recommend setting up informational interviews that simply ask someone to meet with you to pick their brain about what they do. Preparing some questions in advance helps. Ask how that person got into their role, what they love about their job and what challenges they face. Not only does this help to create a realistic picture of what will be needed to get into that field, but it also starts to build contacts who could help with the job search.
None of my advice matters if my clients do not take action. After clarifying their “why” and making a few connections, I have them create a plan for the next 90 days.
In this plan, I have them describe specific actions they will take, such as:
I also have my clients choose one action to take in the next 24 hours. For many, the hardest part is just getting started. That action could be something as simple as emailing your college roommate’s friend who does the thing you want to do. Once you get the ball rolling, following through is much easier.
If you are thinking of making a career change, my main piece of advice is to do it. Getting clear on your why, making contacts in this new field and then creating a plan are the steps that will help you get there. The key is to take action. Nothing will happen until you decide to make it happen. Best of luck!
This article was written by an FGB Contributor.
Lisa Jenkins Brooks is a Registered Nurse and writer on a mission to help people transition to the digital health era. In her career, she has taught information system classes for nurses and led large technology projects at healthcare companies.
She is the writer behind Writing the Future of Health, and holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing Informatics. When not writing, Lisa loves recreating dishes from her travels (Shanghai pan-fried dumplings are a favorite) and relaxing with her lazy pit bull.
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