Partner Up!

There’s an old saying that two heads are better than one. This rings a bell for me and I’d wager it does for you as well. We’ll start with a small example. It’s 5:00am and you’re searching frantically for your keys when your roommate saunters out of her room. She eyes you sleepily, sweeps your keys out of the crook of the couch and asks, “Are you looking for these?” Thanks to her help, you make it to clinicals on time.

I know there are punctual readers out there who won’t relate to this, but I’m confident everyone could tell me a time when an extra set of eyes, a complimentary collection of knowledge or a fresh perspective helped them achieve more than they could’ve alone.

Take Stock of Your Circle

Recognizing that partnerships can lift us up is just the beginning. The next step is determining what kinds of partnerships make you thrive. This can be difficult at first and takes a fair amount of introspection, but the rewards are well worth it! There are a few ways to do this, but here is one I find particularly useful:

1. Write down your personal and professional goals.

2. Pick a person in your life and write out the ways this individual helps you achieve your goals and the ways in which they keep you from them.

3. Repeat this with a few of your friends, peers, leaders and mentors.

4. Combine these reviews to make a general list of the supportive characteristics and a list of the deterring characteristics.

Goal: Become a
Registered Nurse.
Jenny Smith, Friend
Helps me understand
confusing material
Influences me to study less than I need to.
Introduces me to different
volunteer opportunities
Tempts me to skip class with her.

These comprehensive lists can help you identify partnerships that are no longer positive in your life, as well as those that will bolster your success.

Be Deliberate in Partnerships

You may find that while you and Jenny matched well in high school, her laissez faire attitude is influencing you to put less efforts into your studies -- ultimately directing you away from your goal of becoming a nurse.

Meanwhile, your study buddy John is always a chapter ahead of the class. With a little reflection, you may find that spending time with John has been helping you stay on track.

Be intentional about your time and energy! Spend more time with the people who are helping you achieve your goals and less time with those who lead you away.

Mind the Gap

Lastly, after you’ve readjusted your current partnership landscape, take a moment to reflect on how well your needs are being met. Is there a part of your journey that is not being fully supported? Perhaps you have been working diligently at your studies and you’re well on your way to becoming a registered nurse, but you realized you’re unsure if you want to work in oncology or emergency care. Or maybe you know you absolutely want to be a medical-surgical nurse, but you’re not sure if there is something you should be doing while you’re in school to ensure you get a job in that field right out of college.

If you find that you have some gaps in your support network, be deliberate in reaching out. Identify an acquaintance, peer, teacher, leader or mentor who demonstrate the positive qualities you determined in your earlier exercise and form a partnership with them.

Partner up!

Melissa Strube is a recent graduate of Rush University’s General Entry Masters of Nursing program. She currently works as an Orthopedic RN and nursing student tutor at Rush University Medical Center. She also serves as the Elected Executive Consultant to the Student Nurses Association of Illinois.

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