Ringing in the New Year is a great time to reflect on one’s accomplishments and hopes for the future. Healthcare professionals may think of their resolutions just like any other person, with an emphasis on their personal lives rather than their work. After all, healthcare workers have to worry about their own health and fitness too.
But job-related New Year resolutions are also a good idea, as they allow healthcare professionals to commit to being even better. Whether you’re a physician or a nurses’ aide, you probably haven’t unlocked your full potential.
Check out these six ideas for New Years’ resolutions or come up with your own promise for this year.
Although Spanish is still the most commonly spoken foreign language in the U.S., Arabic, Chinese, and Korean are also popular. Since foreign language classes are required by most high schools and universities, you’ve probably already learned the basics of a language. Brush up on it using a smartphone app or traditional textbook and seek out conversation practice at a local meetup or university.
Even if you can’t become fluent in a language, you can at least become good enough to be helpful. Being able to speak a few words to comfort a young patient or guide someone around the hospital can make a huge difference, especially when translators are in short supply.
With all of the other distractions outside of work, it’s easy to lose focus during continuing education classes. Committing to share notes from the CE with a friend or supervisor can be a powerful accountability tool and forces you to pay attention fully.
Sometimes, we also end up doing the same types of CE over and over again or always get them from the same provider. Commit to seeking out a more diverse range of CE providers this year, as they may offer courses from new perspectives. Plus, you may identify new opportunities to advance your career, especially if you’re a nurse.
Patience is a critical quality in healthcare providers, but even good days at work can be trying. When struggling with a patient’s needs, it’s important to pause and remember not to take things personally.
If a patient or their family is having a rough day, remember to show them that you’re listening. A simple phrase like “I hear you” or “I see where you’re coming from” can help soothe nerves if delivered with a sincere tone.
Nurses’ stations, medical carts, and other equipment can become cluttered by the end of a busy shift. Keeping them organized is a group effort, but a promise to do your share will be much appreciated by your colleagues. Even a few minutes of downtime during a shift can be useful for tidying and re-organizing.
Cars and other personal spaces fall into disarray even more easily, since supervisors and other colleagues can’t see them! Commit to keeping these spaces cleaner as well. Though working in healthcare requires long hours, making time for weekly cleaning is essential. Even a quick 15-minute weekly clean-up can help keep coffee cups and other unhygienic trash from piling up.
Yoga and meditation require distraction-free time, which can be hard to come by when working in healthcare. Taking 5-10 minutes a day for meditation or yoga can help start each day off right. If your mornings are too busy for this, consider doing them in the evening or making time to read a relaxing book after work. At the very least, work on mindfulness to reduce stress throughout your day.
For emergency room staff, trauma is a significant factor in stress and burnout. A licensed therapist or psychologist can help with these feelings. While many healthcare professionals can benefit from mental healthcare, emergency room staff, in particular, may need it – and there’s no reason to be ashamed of that.
Biweekly or weekly appointments are a good New Years’ resolution if you’re irritable, not sleeping well, or showing other signs of depression or anxiety.
For healthcare providers who love socializing, volunteering at a nursing home can be a great way to make a difference while having fun. Talking with elderly residents can be a good learning experience for people who usually work with younger populations. Volunteering at schools can also be great, especially if you’re willing to talk about your career choice with students.
Making time to volunteer can be a challenge, but many organizations are happy to have extra help once or twice per month. Your employer may already have a relationship with local nonprofits that can use your unique skills. Resolving to volunteer once a month can be the start of new friendships, or even a new career path.
Healthcare jobs can be demanding, and family commitments can make it difficult to have free time outside of work. Consider doing one or more of these resolutions with family or friends. A morning yoga class or monthly volunteer project can easily double as a social activity and helping kids with their Spanish homework can be a great practice for you.
As the year goes on, it’s possible that some New Year resolutions will be forgotten. Some, though, should be done no matter what. Showing more patience and putting full effort into continuing education can make all healthcare professionals stronger, no matter what your job requirements or specialization is.
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