Mapping Out 2016 for Nurse Practitioner Students

Are you a resolution maker? Over the past few years, I have intentionally used this first week of January to set goals for the upcoming months. True to the stereotype of setting resolutions, I often fall off course somewhere in the first months of the year, my goals forgotten or more likely intentionally neglected. Why do we so often set aside the personal and professional resolutions we make as nurse practitioners and NP students?

Setting resolutions without creating a roadmap for achieving them significantly decreases our chances of success. For some goals we set, the path to achievement may simply mean setting a weekly or daily reminder in a planner. For others, we must to lay out a stepwise path to completion.

Life as a nurse practitioner student lends itself to planning ahead. Syllabus in hand, you know what to expect over the course of the semester. You must fit in clinical hours, projects, papers, and a possibly employment. If you’re lucky, you can schedule a bit of down time as well. Prevent school stress and chaos from getting in the way of your 2016 goals and resolutions, by making a plan of action for achievement.

To start your action plan, write down everything you hope to accomplish over the year. I’m talking long-term plans. Then, jot down major papers, projects or other commitments requiring significant time and effort. Perhaps you have two major clinical rotations this semester that will eat up your week. Maybe you have a lengthy vacation planned you need to work around. Write it down.

Look at your list. If you want to accomplish everything on it, when do you need to get each major project or task started? How often will you need to be reminded of your goals to see them through? Break down your list into monthly segments and each major project into parts. List the items you need to work on over the course of that month to ultimately accomplish your intended outcome. The list may consist of work commitments, school projects, or even personal resolutions requiring a constant reminder. The resulting breakdown of your year is a rough outline of how you must plan to allot your time to maximize your chances of success.

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In your daily planner, make a note of the roadmap you have created. You may consider noting significant projects, events, and tasks in a different color of ink so they catch your attention amidst the less significant daily tasks that come up. A constant reminder of your long-term plans helps you schedule your days and weeks in way that prevents the chaos and over commitment that plagues many nurse practitioner students.

What goals do you hope to accomplish as a nurse practitioner student in 2016?


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