Welcome to Lippincott's 2013 Nursing Career & Education Directory! As always, we strive to bring you content that enhances your career path. I'm going to take a new tack this year and suggest that how you spend your downtime can position you for professional success. My inspiration came from a conversation with a business associate from outside of healthcare. We discussed the usual challenges of hiring the right people, the significant investment involved in on-boarding new employees, and how to best identify the qualities in applicants that can predict a good fit in the workplace.
Clearly, the “admission ticket” to land any job interview centers on having the right credentials (that is, the right education, skills, experience, and certification). But when being considered for a job in a tight market or vying for a prime position, qualified candidates just might be differentiated based on what they enjoy doing outside of work. These choices speak volumes about a person's talents, motivation, and personality. They can reveal whether the individual is well-rounded, has achieved a healthy work-life balance, and has attained other life skills that could enhance or complement the job.
Leisure time activities run the gamut from community volunteerism to art, music, sports, fitness, and hobbies, to name a few. Such involvement can help you develop social networks, refine transferable organizational skills, and build character. They may also serve to reduce stress, maintain good health and wellness, and energize you to manage challenges creatively and constructively. At the very least, they're great conversation starters in Relationship Building 101 with colleagues and patients. Those piano lessons your mother insisted you take have a little more relevance now, don't they?
Do all leaders value such extracurricular activities? That's a matter of opinion. Just remember that you come to work as a whole person made up of the knowledge, insights, and abilities born from life experience. Wise leaders know that properly leveraging the diversity of staff talent generates an enormous return on investment in terms of resilience, creativity, engagement, and team competence. This philosophy is complementary to caring for patients as holistic beings. Perhaps this is an area to explore when contemplating where you'll thrive and as a strategy for strengthening your own team.
Food for thought—
Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM
Vice President: Emergency & Trauma Services
Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.