My transition from student nurse to BSN graduate requires a significant commitment to fulfill my academic potential and accomplish the goals and objectives of the degree program. In my chosen state of Florida, I must meet a variety of requirements to obtain licensure and practice in a healthcare setting, including graduating from an accredited nursing school approved by the State of Florida; the submission of a $110.00 application and licensing fee to the Board of Nursing; and passage of the NCLEX examination for registered nursing (Florida Board of Nursing, 2018). I could gain employment as a Registered Nurse at several organizations, including: Home Healthcare for Interim Healthcare Agency; the Hospital Corporation of America; and Sarasota Memorial Hospital, all of which hire new BSN graduates (Liquid Compass, 2018).

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In the first year of employment, it is my responsibility to respond to training and acquire new knowledge to embrace my role as a professional nurse. I must understand the responsibilities of this role and the importance of maintaining personal connections and relationships which are separate from the workplace. In this context, a holistic work-life balance reduces the risk of turnover, reduces burnout, improves satisfaction, and optimizes psychological wellbeing (Boamah & Laschinger, 2015). The significance of a positive work climate is paramount and supports the demand for leaders who support positive collegial relationships and team-based dynamics (Boamah & Laschinger, 2015). Under these circumstances, I can perform more effectively in the workplace but also have the strength to conduct my personal life on my own terms. These factors are critical in advancing my professional growth, development, and maturity over the first five years of my career.

There are a variety of stressors which may impact my performance in the workplace if I am unable to manage these influences effectively and consistently. For instance, my role as a caregiver can be challenging and pose a risk to my own health if I am unable to separate the two priorities and achieve the desired balance in my career, thereby posing a risk of burnout and exhaustion over time (Blum, 2014). Some of the most common stressors are associated with clinical care activities, but lack of direction regarding the career path and limited feedback from managers or leadership can also contribute to higher levels of stress (Blum, 2014).

Therefore, I must recognize the importance of self-care activities which may include understanding the responsibilities of the professional role and the boundaries that exist; the use of a reflective journal to express personal thoughts and ideas regarding the role; the use of a treasure map to identify and advance a specific goal through a series of steps, and other issues which affect stress and anxiety levels (Blum, 2014). In the professional nursing role, it is my duty to identify areas where stress can impact my duties and to identify methods of overcoming these challenges through different activities and my cooperation with colleagues and leadership. In my first year I will identify these steps and as my career progresses towards five years, I will master these techniques to better alleviate stressful situations as they occur.

My role as a nurse requires the acquisition of continuous knowledge to advance my career and improve my analytical and decision-making skills. In the first year as I acclimate to the role, I will gain comfort in different aspects of nursing through knowledge acquisition. In this capacity, I will obtain new certifications and understanding their impact on my role more effectively, along with how I can fully contribute to the organization in the most productive manner (Hirst, LeNavenec, & Stares, 2017). Most importantly, lifelong learning is acquired in a variety of settings and contexts, from traditional classroom instruction to hands-on training, communication with colleagues, and mentoring from leaders and managers.

Therefore, I can continue to expand my knowledge base in many ways and use this information to improve the nursing practice environment while expanding my career path. Learning must be continuous and provide nurses with as many knowledge points as possible to perform these roles effectively and to ensure that communication among nurses is strong and collaborative (Hirst et al., 2017). At the five-year mark, my knowledge base will be considerably larger than in the first year and I will make valuable contributions to the practice setting and will feel comfortable in making recommendations to improve the practice setting.

In a professional capacity, it is my responsibility to contribute to the nursing community in different ways and to make my voice heard as best as possible (Regan, Laschinger, & Wong, 2016). As part of the practice setting, it is my responsibility to ensure that patients can overcome obstacles and receive high quality care and treatment on a continuous basis; therefore, I must share ideas and support change within the practice setting as appropriate. I plan to join the American Nurses Association in my first year to gain new knowledge and networking opportunities in this platform and by year five, anticipate that I may take on a larger role in this community, perhaps as part of a committee to strengthen nursing practice in different ways. Furthermore, quality and safety are of critical importance in addressing some of the key challenges of the practice setting and in ensuring that my contributions are valuable and timely in addressing patient care needs. Measuring outcomes requires my understanding of how quality care and patient safety can be achieved and the use of data metrics and statistics such as length of stay and readmissions to monitor areas where patient care quality and safety must be improved through increased training, staffing, communication, or resource allocation in areas where specific needs have been identified.