If you are a nurse reading this, you probably think your job is already fulfilling. Let’s face it — it is the primary reason most nurses get into the profession. However, there are ways to make your role even more fulfilling than it is. Combining your interests and strengths can add significant benefits to your career, and feeling a sense of fulfillment in your career can lead to overall job satisfaction and happiness. This article will define career fulfillment and provide some tips for achieving it.
What is job fulfillment?
So, what exactly is job fulfillment? What about your job makes you feel energized, motivated and delighted? Is it making use of your strengths? Do you enjoy doing something? Being a part of a group? Obtaining financial independence? To be sure, all these factors play a role. However, fulfillment comes from something you enjoy doing and making a meaningful difference. Of course, being a nurse, you already have this. But what if you could improve upon it?
Fulfilling jobs allow professionals to broaden their skill sets as they work on increasingly complex and rewarding projects. In addition, individuals feel secure and happy when they have meaningful jobs because they are in supportive environments where they can see the link between their hard work and its results. These dynamics foster a sense of purpose that benefits people’s careers and self-esteem outside work.
Various factors influence whether and to what extent one’s career is fulfilling. However, there are some common elements that, when combined, lead to job satisfaction. Here are a few of those components:
Many people, particularly nurses, want to spend their time at work making a difference in the lives of others or the world at large. Some of these individuals aspire to positions of power and influence, where their influence can be felt on a large scale. Others want to make a smaller impact, such as running a family dental practice or working as a jack-of-all-trades at a local retailer. These people have the same desire to make a difference as those with more public-facing goals — they focus their efforts on less visible but equally important areas.
Inspiration can take many forms. It fuels a lot of the energy we bring to work every day. It is critical for nurses — and likely for many people — to be inspired by the mission of the company or organization where they work. Is it a source of pride for me to tell people where you work? Are the leaders inspiring you? Your coworkers? The team you are in charge of? Which projects will you be working on? You can create a narrative about your work that inspires you for yourself. And then, you can share it with others, serving as an inspiration to the entire team.
Intuitively, we should feel that our work is meaningful if it benefits others or fulfills a creative vision. Creative vision is difficult to quantify, but fortunately, helping others is not. We already have a field of study to help us figure it out: economics.
In economic terms, helping others is roughly equivalent to increasing utility. Utility is a technical term that roughly translates to happiness or what people desire. When you raise someone’s utility, you assist them in getting more of what they want out of life. According to this definition, a fulfilling career provides value to others.
Professionals who find their work interesting find it more fulfilling because it consistently satisfies their curiosity. Individuals may have vastly different interests, but they can all feel the same satisfaction from learning more about topics that are important to them.
Engineers, for example, may consistently enjoy solving complex physics problems, whereas a server in a restaurant may enjoy meeting new people and learning about their backgrounds. When considering opportunities, consider your long-held interests as a guide for the types of assignments and projects you would enjoy.
Managers and leaders interested in impacting your life will look for ways to engage you as a team member. Your superiors should understand your targets and listen to your concerns while offering encouragement and providing you with tools so that you can achieve your targets. They should speak with you openly; this should be a two-way process. This can help to promote your professional growth and develop your communication skills. In addition, an employer who offers engagement helps to make your position more gratifying by celebrating your accomplishments and challenging you to work hard for success.
How can you achieve greater fulfillment?
It can be tempting to conjure up a fantasy role where every minute is thrilling, the pay is spectacular, and the perks are to die for when trying to figure out your dream job. However, following some, if not all, of the suggestions below, is a more effective and realistic approach:
What are your core beliefs? What characterizes you as a person? Please make a note of them. Create a personal mission statement that defines how you will act regardless of external circumstances. Then put it into practice every day at work, no matter what you are doing or where you are. This will result in inner unity and the feeling that you live with integrity. This will increase your job satisfaction.
The purpose is entirely personal. It varies from person to person. So, to find meaning and purpose in your work, you must first define what that means to you. Yes, some people want to save the world or make a difference, but it does not have to be that lofty. Perhaps your purpose is to provide for your family. It may be to set a good example for your children. It could also be about assisting students or people starting their careers.
Perhaps your purpose is all about personal development and becoming the best person you can be, which could, for a nurse, be the transition from RN to NP. To help aid this, you could look into an online course with Walsh University, which is an expert at educating the future of healthcare professionals. Take some time to reflect and write down what is important to you and what gives you meaning.
It is easy to become bored when you repeatedly complete the same assignments, feel unchallenged, and never learn anything new. Instead, create new goals with a clear plan for how to achieve them. Seek new and challenging projects to improve company efficiency or further your organization’s mission.
The goal is to try something new and exciting outside your comfort zone. Your manager will appreciate your eagerness to take on new challenges and may even recommend a reskilling or upskilling plan for you. You might even discover your unique talents or hobbies. As a result, you will be more satisfied with your job.
Organizations frequently form smaller teams to tackle specific projects, and they may initially require volunteers to join. Examples of these activities include participating in a brainstorming session, assisting with onboarding new employees, or writing articles for the internal newsletter. Choose projects that are a good fit for your skills and interests. Some experts refer to this willingness to take on new tasks as organizational citizenship behavior and claim that it can significantly impact your fulfillment.
Being in a top-tier profession is nice, but it can lack meaning. It would be best to have respect, where people appreciate and admire what you do. Do not be the hospital’s ruler — instead, be the nurse that doctors request and patients rely on. While most of us desire a boost in social status, knowing that others respect us for what we do and how we do it is one of the keys to a fulfilling career.
Company policies, compensation, job security, location, and working conditions can help someone decide on a career. However, focusing solely on these factors makes it unlikely that you will find true satisfaction and fulfillment in your work. This is because they are not the elements that allow you to find joy or happiness in your career. In other words, fulfillment will not come from a job’s extrinsic qualities but from its intrinsic ones. So, rather than viewing these factors as sources of satisfaction, think of them as a small part of your career decisions.
Workplace fulfillment is connecting to a higher purpose and aligning your daily work with your beliefs. You can find career fulfillment by defining your mission, discovering your purpose, and setting tasks and goals to pursue your mission. Your employer should assist you in finding a purpose that naturally aligns with company goals. In addition, if you take the initiative to learn something new every day and challenge yourself to rise to complex challenges, you are more likely than not to find fulfillment at work. Finally, building relationships with coworkers and supporting their profession is essential to career fulfillment.