Why Nurses Should Set SMART Goals for 2023

A new year is a new opportunity. Every New Year’s eve, we set goals and resolutions that we intend to accomplish in the following year. As the saying goes: it is better to work smarter, not harder. To grow professionally, you need both the right kind of nurse goals along with a well-developed plan of attack. In this article, we will show you how you can set and pursue SMART goals for nurses, in 2023. 

Defining SMART

Aspiring nurses need to know what they need and how they plan to get there. By setting SMART goals, you answer all these questions and provide your career with much-needed structure. 

For reference, a SMART Goal is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

You want to set specific goals that will provide your efforts with focus. If you want to become a registered nurse, “passing the certification test” or “submitting your first job applications” would be your specific goals. 

When your goals are measurable, you can quantify whether or not you have succeeded in them. If you tell yourself that “I will submit three job applications,” then you will only succeed if you submit three or more. 

You will set yourself up for failure if your goals are not attainable. Landing your first nursing job within three days is technically possible, but highly unlikely. When you know you can finish something, you are more motivated to take action. 

Be sure your goals are realistic when you consider your current situation and capabilities. It is OK to aspire for bigger things down the road, but those benchmarks will take a lot of time. 

Finally, giving your goal a specific time frame makes you conscious of your progress. Some self-imposed pressure helps in getting things done, and a reasonable time limit provides just that. 

Examples of Smart Goals For Nurses

Finding a new job 

Say you want to look for new registered nursing roles in the new year. Job hunting can be a tricky prospect, so expecting to immediately land a new gig is not very SMART.

In this instance, an intelligent goal example would be “submitting 6 nursing applications over the next 5 months.” You are setting a clear timeframe for you to gather all the required documentation and tailor your application to each facility. 

Making it a specific number of applications also ensures your progress is numerically measurable. 

Pursuing further education 

Nowadays, nursing schools let students learn at their own pace. To set SMART goals for nursing students, you want to know how long it will take to complete your program. 

If you are pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, and you want to finish it as soon as possible, enroll on an Accelerated MSN program. Although the curriculum is compressed and very busy, it lets you earn your credentials much faster.

A SMART goal for nursing students would be “finishing your MSN within 15 months while finishing 103 credit hours per year.” This is a brutal schedule, but the benchmarks are clear and attainable for those who can handle the workload.