Goal setting is something that every charge nurse will do at some point in their career. They will set goals for their units or departments and they should also be setting career goals for themselves – goals that will help them improve their own performance, enhance their career opportunities, and improve their own satisfaction and engagement with their work while setting a solid professional example for employees in their units or departments.
The broad scope of responsibility for charge nurses requires a disciplined approach to personal goal setting. SMART goal setting is a time-tested, healthcare appropriate method that can help nurse leaders ensure that they are setting reasonable and achievable goals for themselves and their staff and growing in their careers. It can help a nurse leader apply the same rigor and discipline to professional goals as are likely being applied to their organizational goals.
SMART is an acronym that helps set parameters for the kind of goal setting that really works. This approach can bring focus to the what, where, why, how and when questions that are essential to effective goal setting. Goals should be:
Even with the practical parameters set by the SMART goal setting process, getting started on your own professional goals might feel a bit overwhelming. This is likely because the job description for most charge nurses is extremely broad. Charge nurses need strong clinical knowledge and skills, good planning and management skills and the ability to evaluate their own nursing unit's performance including the performance of the providers who report to them. They need the kind of strong interpersonal skills that will facilitate the communication that will help their units be efficient and work well with other disciplines within the organization.
So where should a charge nurse start when setting goals for their own professional development? The most logical place to start is with where you would like for your nursing career to take you within the next five years and what you will need in order to land in that spot five years from now. Remembering the SMART acronym, establish a plan for each of the five years currently between you and your goal.
Don't forget to revisit your plan. Career aspirations change and your SMART goals can change too. Also, remember to take advantage of your organization's educational resources. It is likely that people performance solutions will be essential to each of your one and five year plans. Be sure that your solution offers:
If you are a charge nurse or have aspirations to be one, don't forget to set some SMART goals for yourself. Use the SMART goal planning process to build attainable goals for your team and yourself.
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