Making a New Year's (nursing) resolution

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The giant ball in Times Square is dropping, the holiday season is coming to a close, and it's time to wipe the slate clean for another year. No matter where you are or what you do, 2008 holds limitless possibilities for change, and adventure. Sounds exciting, doesn't it!? It's also time to roll out the list of resolutions. Will this be the year you kick that smoking (or shopping) habit? Will you drop a few extra pounds? Will you finally contact those old high school classmates? With so many options, we've decided to help you out with a list of 25 New Year's resolutions. And best of all, we've used a nursing theme.

The bulk of the list was compiled from our Stressed Out books, a series intended to help new graduate nurses with the difficult transition from school to practice. Still, you can apply many of these to your life as a nurse manager. Pass the others on to your staff and colleagues. Or post them on the units for everyone to see! Here we go:

  1. Volunteer to be a mentor to a new nurse at your facility.
  2. Volunteer to be a mentor to a new nurse outside your facility. Listservs, blogs, and discussion boards are great ways to network with colleagues across the country.
  3. Join a committee that is working to improve the culture at your facility.
  4. Don't talk about a colleague unless he or she is there to hear what you are saying.
  5. Say "no" at least once a day. Saying "no" is a skill you need to practice so that you do not cave in. It's okay to set limits and say "no."
  6. Get along with every physician at your facility. Yes, even that one.
  7. Document accurately--every time. If you do make a mistake, handle the situation appropriately.
  8. Go to a day spa at least twice during the year to treat yourself. You deserve it.
  9. Double-check every medication before administering it to a patient.
  10. Create a budget and actually live by it.
  11. Send a thank-you card each week to someone on your unit that made your life a little bit easier.
  12. Join a national nursing organization.
  13. Volunteer to work with difficult patients on your unit. You'll be respected for it, and you may make an unlikely friend.
  14. Take care of your self physically. Take meal breaks and bring snacks. Stay as hydrated as an athlete.
  15. Use progressive muscle relaxation to help you fall asleep at night.
  16. Stop wasting time worrying. Confront your problems and make plans to solve them.
  17. Go somewhere warm when you take a vacation.
  18. Become a leader against nurse-to-nurse hostility within your facility.
  19. Once a month, make some homemade goodies and bring them in to share. Friends will never be hard to find.
  20. Organize a mission trip, like this one.
  21. Go back to school and start working on another degree.
  22. Plan your shift according to patient needs. Who are your priority patients? Figure out who you need to see first, second, third, etc.
  23. Get published.
  24. Better yet, become a blogger on Send an email here to find out how.
  25. Laugh every day.

Happy New Year!

Editor's note: Excerpts from Stressed Out About Your First Year of Nursing, Stressed Out About Difficult Patients, and Stressed Out About Communication Skills were all used in compiling this list.