After watching a video at InnovativeNurse.com, it inspired in me the desire to talk about personal branding as a nurse.
Most nurses don’t think of themselves a brand. I didn’t think of myself as a brand until I had started blogging. But nurses as individuals also have brands. Think of yourself as an independent contractor. You have to make yourself a marketable asset and resource so that a company see’s value in you.
But I Love What I Do Right Now
Even if you’re gainfully and happily employed, you still need to be aware of your personal brand as a professional nurse. Treat your career as a business and market yourself accordingly. Are you happy with the your current income level, your current role, and your current opportunities for growth? Or do you want to to do more in your nursing career? Do you want to grow in your profession? Do you want your business to be a long term success with constant growth, or do you want to stay exactly where you are at in your nursing career?
Being Content in Your Role
If you are content with what your current nursing role, pat yourself on the back. I’m envious of you. It would be so much easier to just be content. There would likely be a lot less stress in this world if we could all just be content. Then again, we’d also never innovate, never seek improvements, and I’m pretty sure we’d still be trying to figure out fire, the wheel, and silly things like that… Those crazy non-content ancestors of ours really stepped up to the plate on some of those things.
I sometimes wish I could be content. I sometimes wish I could stop wanting to do just a little bit more. I sometimes wish that I didn’t care so much. It would certainly be easier. It would certainly be less exciting. But it would also be boring.
Not Ready to Settle
For those of you who are not ready to settle or who want more out of life and your nursing career, personal branding is key to setting yourself apart from the rest of the nurses who are after the same success you are. You have to define yourself a unique asset and market yourself as a vital piece of a healthcare organization’s success. You have to believe in yourself and believe in the work you do and can do.
If you don’t believe in yourself, how on earth do you ever expect to convince anyone else to believe in you?
Believe in Yourself
The best tool any nurse can have in their toolbox is confidence.
Your patients, co-workers, and administration will value you for it. Let us not confuse confidence with arrogance, because no one will value you for that. You should be aware of your strengths and use them to provide the best patient care possible.
Market yourself as confident. Even if you are not trying to get another job, use every professional encounter as an opportunity to show someone you’re confident in the care you provide. Your confidence in your care will improve the relationships you have with your patients and coworkers and you will be seen as a resource to others. You should always be aware of how you are perceived to others. You never know when an impression you’ve made can lead to bigger and better things for you and your career.
Be a Little Different and Be Prepared for Parade Rainers
There will always be parade rainers.
Be prepared for that.
Actions speak louder than words. Rather than just dreaming up dreams, you need to dream up dreams and then put them into action. If you want to set yourself apart, you have to step out on the edge, be a little different, and shine a little brighter than all the other stars. As nurses we already set yourself apart from many with the rigorous education we have attained, but you graduated with 100 others who have the same credentials behind their name. Multiple that by some astronomical figure and that’s you’re competition.
I’ll give you a great example of putting your dreams into action.
I wanted to work in nursing informatics. I built a blog, taught myself some basic database knowledge, researched, researched, and researched. Did my BSN clinicals in an informatics setting, and networked like crazy. Less than 3 months after I began seriously looking for an informatics role in nursing, I landed an awesome dream job. I am valued not only for my skills, but for my opinions and insight as well. I get to be part of a great healthcare organization who are doing amazing things for the community, but also get to be myself and pursue personal dreams and goals as well. All with my employers full support.
Is that what you want for your nursing career?
Branding is About What Makes You Unique
You have to show why your star shines a little brighter. It’s not about trying to be better than anyone, but it is about giving your personal best and highlighting what it is about YOU that is unforgettable, unmistakable, and irreplaceable. If you were interviewing for a job, you don’t want them to put your resume in a pile. You want them to have conversations about you. You want them to see a spark in you that they didn’t see in anyone else. You want them to call the other applicants and tell them to not even bother.
Determine Your Value and Sell it
You are probably sitting here confused at this point. Have you ever stopped and thought about what makes you unique, valuable, and an asset to a company? If you haven’t, then now is the time. Make a list. Find your top 3 personal attributes (charisma, dedication, focus, team-work, self-motivations, creativity, team-player, leadership, and so on). Determine how these can be best applied to the nursing role you are after, and work out your game plan. Write your nurse elevator pitch and be prepared to sell yourself whenever the time arises.
If you want others to see you as successful, you have to see yourself as successful first. Own your expertise today and your job will likely find you!