Set Education Goals for Your Nursing Degree in 4 Easy Steps
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. American author Henry David Thoreau once said that. Now, more than 100 years later, his words still hold true for career changers like you. But where do you begin when you’re seeking a rewarding and life-changing career in nursing? You could set education goals for your nursing degree, using them as a roadmap to your overall goal of becoming an RN.
To begin creating your roadmap, set clearly defined goals about what you expect to attain from your nursing degree. The goal-setting process doesn’t have to be difficult; in fact, we’re here to provide you with three simple steps for setting and achieving your nursing school goals.
1. Discover Your Why
You’ve reached that “a-ha” moment and made the major decision to change careers and become a nurse. But that’s just step one. What sparked that decision to change? Understanding all the reasons why you reached this decision is the key to understanding what you’ll need from the right nursing program.
You will have to find a nursing program that matches your interests and lifestyle. Are you willing to relocate? Are you looking for an online program, or a traditional ground program? Studies show you’re more likely to succeed when your goals are specific. Therefore, all of these factors should be taken into consideration before getting started on your nursing school journey.
You don’t need to feel overwhelmed – many prospective students feel this way while searching for a nursing program that aligns with their needs. First, take a step back and consider the following questions:
- What inspired you to become a nurse?
- What do you want from your nursing career, not just your degree?
- Will you be able to commit to a nursing program full time? If so, what lifestyle adjustments will you need to make?
2. Your Personal Mission Statement
After acknowledging the questions above, it’s time to write down your purpose or personal mission statement for becoming a nurse. Having a personalized journal or notebook solely dedicated to your intentions can be beneficial. Doing this will make your nursing school goals feel more tangible.
Here is an example: I want to become a nurse so that I can positively impact the lives of people around me and provide a better standard of living for my family.
Creating a personal mission statement for yourself is a great starting point and will encourage you to stay proactive throughout your nursing school journey. Now it’s time to take action by identifying the goals that support your mission.
3. Identify Goals That Support Your Mission
Once you have a personal mission statement, you can finally set actionable goals for yourself. This is the part where you can be specific. Consider making your goals practical and SMART:
- Specific: “I will apply to Northeastern University for my Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing because they have a flexible, high-quality program.”
- Measurable: “I will request my transcripts on [x date] and I will schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor on [x date] to get the process started.”
- Attainable: “Through hard work and dedication, I will finish this program in 16 months.”
- Relevant: “This is the perfect time in my life to change careers because the nursing industry is thriving and Northeastern’s ABSN program has more seats available for qualified students.”
- Time Bound: “Within a month after graduating, I will pass my NCLEX and will be working as a nurse.”
Setting SMART goals can help you clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time wisely, and increase your chances of achieving your ultimate goal of becoming a successful nurse.
Stick With It and Track Your Progress
Remember, goal setting is a regular activity that should be ongoing. Once you have started Northeastern University’s accelerated BSN program, build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and plan out times to review your goals. According to Kat S., an admissions counselor at Northeastern, doing these things will help you sustain your momentum.
“Tracking your progress will serve you in many ways and will inspire you to keep moving forward,” says Kat. If you begin to lose sight of your goals, don’t hesitate to reach out to your admissions counselor. He/she is dedicated to your success and can help you maintain your focus on the education goals required to earn your nursing degree.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
Now that you’ve determined your purpose for becoming a registered nurse, your personal mission statement, and the tangible goals that support your mission, it’s time to follow through by holding yourself accountable.
- Make your goals visible: It’s crucial to not lose sight of where you’re headed. Post your mission statement and goals somewhere where you’ll see them every day, like your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. The more you are reminded of why you’re working so hard, the easier it will be to stay on task.
- Turn your goals (such as studying) into habits: Your goals will not fit into your schedule on their own if you don’t prioritize them. You have to plan ahead, blocking out time. For example, at the beginning of each week, schedule your study time (and your relaxation time.) It will be easier to stick to a plan if it’s built into your routine.
- Have an accountability buddy: Northeastern University’s ABSN program gives you multiple opportunities to get to know the classmates in your cohort. Our private Facebook group, for instance, serves as a way to engage socially with other students who have enrolled in the ABSN program. Students use it to connect with other cohorts, sell books and scrubs, line up roommates, plan study sessions, and more. Find someone reliable and truly committed to succeeding in the program, then work together to keep both of you on task.
At the end of the day, success in anything comes from hard work and dedication. It also comes from making your education goals for your nursing degree a priority. It’s not easy, but successfully completing nursing school in 16 months through Northeastern University’s ABSN program can be extremely rewarding.
So, what are you waiting for? If you think Northeastern University’s accelerated BSN program is a good fit for you, reach out to one of our admissions counselors and find out how to get started.