The first day you started your nursing job after receiving your degree has faded to a memory, and maybe the excitement that came with it has too. One day you might realize you are just going through the motions, or perhaps your enjoyment has been fading for a while. Maybe you are not sure why you feel this way or what to do about it. You might be wondering if you can revive your passion for nursing.

As time passes, you might begin to feel as if you are just a passenger observing your career’s progress. This lack of direction could leave you feeling lost and unhappy. Taking a closer look at how far you have come and where you want to go can help revitalize your enthusiasm for nursing.

What Has Changed?

The reason for your change of heart may not be obvious. To help you get your career back on track, first examine what may have changed in your personal and professional life since you set your goals. Consider what caused your enthusiasm to start to decline and when. Ask yourself whether your unhappiness is associated with your entire job or only specific parts of it.

Reflect or journal to help you identify:

Changes in your personal life: Circumstances of your personal life can affect your career. Since you began working in nursing, you may have had children. You may have gotten married or divorced. Major life changes can affect your work-life balance. Events may have required you to take a break from nursing for a while and maybe you returned doubting yourself. The goals you set when you were younger may no longer feel as important.

Changes in your professional life: Healthcare changes constantly, which means the job that you had even a few years ago is not the same today. Perhaps new regulations and staffing changes have led you to feel that your job is not as fulfilling, too stressful or overwhelming. Or maybe you have just become bored with the routine. Feelings of burnout can lead to a change in your attitude and outlook.

Is It Time to Update Your Goals?

You may have had a specialty or area of interest that drew you to nursing, but that doesn’t mean you are stuck with that choice if it no longer brings you satisfaction. The good news is that there are many nursing career options. You don’t have to stay with a specialty or in a setting that no longer suits you; instead, visualize what you want now.

Career Inspiration

The following suggestions may reinvigorate your passion for nursing or lead you to a new specialty.

  • Read nursing blogs and journals.
  • Talk to other nurses about their career path.
  • Challenge yourself by learning a new skill.
  • Seek a mentor or act as one for a novice nurse.
  • Shadow other nurses in other specialties.
  • Volunteer so you can meet new people and acquire a fresh perspective.
  • Participate in committees inside and outside of work to build relationships.
  • Recharge and clear your mind with hobbies or exercise.

Create Your Future

Many nurses find inspiration through additional education. This can expand your knowledge while invigorating your mind and increasing your career options. Attending conferences, acquiring a certification or taking online courses can demonstrate that you are dedicated to keeping up with the latest trends and technology, and that you are ready for the changes in healthcare. This might provide opportunities for career advancement.

You can complete an online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program, such as the one at Nevada State College, while you are working. This can enable you to expand your professional network, increase your confidence, improve interpersonal skills and open other opportunities.

Drive Toward Career Success

Don’t wait and see where your job is taking you — grab the wheel and take charge of your nursing career. An examination of your personal and professional goals, with a little time for rest and reflection, can help you infuse renewed enthusiasm into your nursing career.

Learn more about the Nevada State College online RN to BSN program.


Nurse Journal: 5 Career Success Tips for Registered Nurses

Minority Nurse: Mentoring Nurses Toward Success

National Nurses United: Beating the Burnout: Nurses Struggle with Physical, Mental and Emotional Exhaustion at Work

HealthLeaders Media: Is Nurse Work-Life Balance a Myth?