SMART Goals: Individual Success Plan

Areas for Improvement

Identifying areas for improvement is a crucial component of designing an individual success plan. My instrument for such identification was participating in research and clinical activities, in which I could learn what aspects of my knowledge and skills were well-developed and relevant to practice and what aspects, in turn, required improvements based on evidence from such practice. In this context, measurable tools for identifying areas for improvement were used, too, such as the Test Your Knowledge Exam.

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The first area includes Safety & Effective Care and Health Promotion & Maintenance competencies. Based on the experience I have obtained, I recognize that I should improve my cooperation with colleagues, including interprofessional cooperation (Orchard, King, Khalili, & Bezzina, 2012), and my patient communication skills in order to ensure better patient outcomes. The second area is Physiological & Psychological Integrity; from the perspective of this concept, I should strive for a better understanding of the combination of physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a patient’s health and the importance of all three categories. Finally, there are the areas of Secondary Prevention and System Focused Interventions; to improve in them, I need to enhance my knowledge on types of diseases and their prevention as well as on different populations and the identification of each population’s needs and expectations.


In goal-setting, it is necessary to commit to the SMART approach (Haughey, 2016); i.e., to ensure that the goals I set are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. First, I want to increase my average exam scores to 90 percent in the current semester. This refers to the knowledge-related areas for improvement I have identified. Achieving the goal will require working hard both independently (on my assignments and readings) and in cooperation with my peers and educators (during class discussions). My second goal is to enhance my evidence-based practice. It is closely connected to relevant areas for improvement, and I will be pursuing this goal by addressing currently available research findings, conducting my own research, distributing findings, and ensuring that my activities are aligned with what I continuously learn. These activities will also improve such skills as finding relevant and evidence-based information and applying it to real-life situations.

My third goal is to choose a number of patients with different diagnoses and develop properly designed nursing care plans for them. This goal is linked to the Physiological & Psychological Integrity and System Focused Interventions areas for improvement. Not only will I be able to improve my writing skills, but also important experiences will be obtained. To design the plans properly, I will consult other students and nurses and search for relevant academic literature. Finally, my fourth goal is to graduate and pass the NCLEX. This is crucial and connected to all the areas of improvement I have identified. To achieve the goal, I will use all the available learning resources to the maximum possible extent.


There are three main challenges for me in pursuing the goals I have set; in a way, they are related to each of the goals. First of all, there is the matter of planning and explaining; it can be challenging for me to plan my activities and objectives and justify my suggestions. However, I recognize the importance of lifelong learning (Davis, Taylor, & Reyes, 2014), and by committing to working hard and finding evidence to base my practice on, I will be able to overcome this challenge.

Second, meeting deadlines can be an important challenge that needs to be addressed. I believe that proper initial planning, evaluating the resources I have, and developing better time management skills will help me overcome the challenge. Finally, I may find it hard to cooperate with people I do not know. To overcome the discomfort I experience in such cooperation, I will observe the work of other nurses and the outcomes of it and will communicate with them extensively. This will help me develop a frame of reference and obtain the experience that I need to feel comfortable and confident when interacting with my colleagues.


I primarily expect that the implementation of my plan will be difficult because I have identified several areas for improvement, set several goals, and considered several challenges to be overcome, and I will need to address all these simultaneously without damaging my ongoing work and performance. To succeed, I need to translate the measures to be taken that I described above into action plans and commit to them. First of all, I will need to plan my time and schedule my activities according to my goals; this will help me develop a timetable in order to ensure that I make contributions to the implementation of my individual success plan and become closer to achieving my goals every day. My plan is aligned with my experience and knowledge, compliant with my current work and studies, and supported by relevant research, which is why I believe it can be effective if I adhere to it and commit to following it step by step. My future goals will include continuing my learning, enhancing my strengths by diversifying my practice, and making a contribution to my profession by engaging in research.

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Davis, L., Taylor, H., & Reyes, H. (2014). Lifelong learning in nursing: A Delphi study. Nurse Education Today, 34(3), 441-445.

Haughey, D. (2016). SMART goals. Web.

Orchard, C. A., King, G. A., Khalili, H., & Bezzina, M. B. (2012). Assessment of interprofessional team collaboration scale (AITCS): Development and testing of the instrument. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 32(1), 58-67.

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