Navigating the New Year’s Resolution Maze: A Prescription for Success in Professional Development

by | Jan 1, 2024 | Community Pharmacy, Education & Training, Practice Nurse, Travel Health

Happy New Year from Health Academy!

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, we often find ourselves filled with optimism and determination, ready to embrace a fresh start. For nurses and pharmacists in the UK, the new year offers a unique opportunity to embark on a transformative learning and clinical professional development journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges of starting a New Year’s resolution and provide a prescription for success, guiding healthcare professionals towards achieving their goals.

Every new year, countless individuals set ambitious resolutions, but a significant number find it challenging to stick to them. In fact, a recent survey found that last year (2023) 30 million people around the UK set themselves new year’s resolutions, with the topics of health (28%), money (27%), family (24%) and self-improvement (21%) leading the way for the most common resolutions. Lifestyle changes are, however, hard to maintain and commit to. Recent statistics suggest that, on average, British adults are likely to only last seven weeks before giving up a new habit, and that 21% of British adults only lasted for a month before breaking their new resolution.

Unveiling the Motivation Behind the Resolution

Image showing a woman sittting down to think with pen and paper. Stop & Think.

One of the reasons for this is that many rush into setting a New Year’s resolution without properly thinking about what is motivating them and just how the new habit will benefit them. The first step in overcoming this hurdle is to cultivate curiosity about your motivations by asking questions to really get to the bottom of how the new habit can improve your life. As a health professional pondering your professional development goals, it’s crucial to ask:

  1. What drives you to enhance your skills and knowledge?
  2. What aspects of your current role ignite your curiosity and passion?
  3. Where do you want to go next in your career, and what knowledge and skills do you need to develop in order to get you there?
  4. How will your growth benefit your patients and colleagues?

By weaving these answers into a narrative, healthcare professionals can create a compelling story that will serve as a powerful motivator throughout the year.

Setting Realistic Goals

The road to success is often paved with well-defined goals and measurable milestones, and one of the main reasons for failing with a new years resolution is not properly setting these out in the first place. Consider the following steps as a way to help you get really specific with what you want to achieve and how you can keep track of how you will do it:

  1. Assess your current skill set: Identify areas where you excel and pinpoint those that require improvement.
  2. Set SMART goals: Make your resolutions Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  3. Track progress: Regularly monitor your advancements to stay motivated and adjust your goals accordingly.

Example: Putting Healthcare New Year’s Resolution in CPD Into Practice – A Pharmacist’s Journey to Launch a Travel Health Service

Sarah is a pharmacist who wants to set a New Years resolution of improving her knowledge and skills with more training for her career as a community pharmacist. In trying to unravel the motivation behind this she comes to the following conclusions. She realises that she wants to move ahead with her career and offer more to the local community who attend her pharmacy. She is also aware from trying to get travel vaccinations for herself recently, that her local area does not have much to offer in the way of travel health services. She knows that offering this service will be a great benefit to the local community.

Effective Remote Working

In assessing her current skill set, Sarah, recognises her proficiency in patient care but acknowledges the need for additional skills to run a travel health service. She compiles a list of essential training courses, including Safeguarding, Immunisation Foundation training, Sharps, and Travel Health Training, identifying the areas where she needs to enhance her expertise. She also lists the need for supervised practice and how she can use a framework to this done.

Sarah then creates a detailed plan outlining the steps required to complete each training course, setting realistic timelines for completion. She breaks down her overarching goal into smaller, manageable tasks, ensuring each step contributes to the larger objective. Sarah prioritises her training based on urgency and relevance, recognising the foundational importance of Safeguarding Update and Immunisation training. Aware that tracking progress is crucial for staying motivated, Sarah commits to regularly monitoring her advancements. She plans regular check-ins on her timetable, assessing completed courses and adjusting her goals accordingly. Sarah establishes a tracking system, using a calendar and project management tool, to visualize her progress and celebrate each milestone achieved. Very soon Sarah is ready to book her first course.

Image showing payment on computer. The importance of supervised practice

Conclusion – a Healthcare New Year’s Resolution can be achieved with the right steps

Embarking on a healthcare new year’s resolution journey is undoubtedly challenging, but with a combination of cultivating curiosity and setting realistic goals, nurses and pharmacists can overcome obstacles and realise their professional development goals. As nurses and pharmacists immerse themselves in their professional development journey, embracing a mindset of continuous learning becomes paramount. Approach each learning opportunity with a sense of wonder and an eagerness to explore new concepts. Connect with experienced colleagues or mentors who can provide guidance and support throughout the learning journey. Acknowledge and celebrate each achievement, reinforcing a positive association with the learning process.

Cheers to a year of growth, learning, and unparalleled achievement!

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