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Setting and Reaching Goals as a PRN Nurse

In many ways, PRN work is a dream. Who else gets to work whenever or even wherever they want and take as much time off as they want as well? Who else gets to decide after a single bad day at a facility that they simply will never go back there? Furthermore, what other type of gig work gives as much job stability? Despite these unquestionable advantages, PRN work also has its challenges. For instance, the unlimited freedom that PRN work offers can make it difficult for nurses to be organized and disciplined enough to meet financial goals.  

To help you enjoy the benefits of PRN work while still reaching financial goals, let’s take a look at some evidence-based strategies that will help you accomplish anything you set out to achieve.   

Write Down and Share Your Goals

A 2015 study by Dr. Gail Matthews found that writing down our goals significantly increases our chances of reaching them. Moreover, sharing these goals with others helps us commit even further. 

Matthews divided participants into five groups in order to determine which strategies helped participants the most to reach their goals. 

  • The first group was asked to simply think about their goals.
  • Groups two through five were asked to write their goals.  
  • Group three was asked to write action commitments in addition to writing their goals.
  • The fourth group was asked to do the same as the third group but also send these commitments to a friend.
  • Finally, group five was asked to do all of the above as well as send weekly progress reports to a friend. 

The results of this study showed that only 43% of people who simply thought about their goals were able to reach at least half of said goals by the end of the study, whereas over 76% of the participants from group five, who had written down their goals and been held accountable by a friend, had reached at least the half-way point with their goals. 

At this point, it is probably clear that writing down your goals and asking for a friend’s help to keep you focused on your goals are effective strategies. However, you might be wondering what writing your goals implies and how to do it. For this, we can turn to SMART goals.  

Set SMART Goals

The method of setting SMART goals is as relevant today as it was back in 1981 when George T. Doran published his article “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management goals and objectives.” 

SMART is an acronym for the following words:

  • Specific: Choose one goal at a time; you could focus on reaching monetary goals, or you could focus on having the best work schedule, but don’t set very general and ambiguous goals, such as “Increase job satisfaction.”
  • Measurable: With PRN work, this could be deciding on a number of shifts per month or a specific monetary goal.
  • Assignable: In regard to their work, PRN nurses will be responsible for setting and reaching their own goals. However, you can choose a trusted friend or fellow PRN nurse to help hold you accountable.
  • Realistic: Your goals must be realistic and safe. For example, if you are working the night shift, you should give yourself three whole days to rest after a maximum of three consecutive night shifts.  
  • Time-related: PRN nurses’ income goals could be set weekly or monthly. However, if your goal is to decide on the work setting you enjoy the most or to choose an area for specialization based on your unique personality traits, you could allow yourself a few months in order to make a decision.  

By following the SMART guide, you can begin setting goals that you can reasonably achieve in a specified time period. Since these goals will also be quantifiable, you can easily send weekly updates to a trusted friend to help hold you accountable. 

PRN Nurse, Achieve Your Goals Today!

Working PRN full time requires a learning curve, but this type of work is absolutely worth the time you invest in developing discipline and organizational skills. Remember that the simple act of writing down your goals will help you achieve them. In addition, you can pair up with another PRN nurse friend to help hold each other accountable. Using both of these strategies will nearly double your chances of reaching your goals as a PRN nurse!
If you are still new to this line of work, browse Nursa's PRN nursing blog for more tips on how to reach personal and professional goals through per diem nursing and don’t forget to download our PRN nursing app for free to help you find the highest-paying per diem jobs near you.


Blog published on:
July 12, 2022

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