NURS 6003 Part 5 Professional Development
Nurses comprise of the largest workforce in a healthcare setting. These professionals provide service in a fast-paced as well as a technical environment of care. Health organizations understand the benefits of retaining competent and confident nurses to ensure that these professionals adapt as well as meet the demand for safe and effective care to patients (Katsikitis et al., 2013). Nonetheless, nurses need to make quick decisions regarding patient care and are also required to communicate effectively with colleagues as well as other personnel in the continuum of health service delivery. In nursing, professional development plan stands as the most preferred option in improving competency to adapt to the changing environment of complex care (American Nurses’ Association, 2016). Certainly, a personal development plan constitutes the alignment of goals and objectives to meet the required skills for a given competency. Nurses commit to professional development plan by focusing on advanced education and recognize the value of leadership roles as they strive to improve patient outcomes (Kutney-Lee, Sloane & Aiken, 2013). However, even though professional development conveys a future for nursing practice, uncertainties still characterize nursing education and the development of a generation of nursing leaders capable of implementing quality improvement in the advancing global health. Besides, challenges arise in consolidating the need for lifelong learning and expanding leadership capacity among nurses as ways to address societal changes in healthcare.
In order to address the need for professional development in nursing, the present article assesses advance learning and leadership styles for family nurse practitioners (FNPs). The discussion focuses on the reasons for a professional development plan for practicing nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). It further gives a glimpse on the purpose of the plan, elements to be included and the modalities for developing the program. Moreover, the article addresses how the family nurse practitioners (FNPs) with an associate degree in nursing (AND) prepares a professional development plan for ethical leadership in nursing. It is apparent that a professional development plan cannot be ignored, especially as registered practitioners serve to achieve their potentials in care delivery (Stewart & Dennert, 2016). As such, the article recognizes the importance of a successful nursing career through the professional development of leadership and continuing education.
The family nurse practitioners in care settings are graduate-educated professionals in the continuum of care. Besides, the FNPs are
nationally-certified and are state licensed advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) (Stewart & Dennert, 2016). The professionals provide nursing service to medically stable patients from infancy to geriatric stages. Just like nurse practitioners as well as physicians, FNPs manage chronic conditions, conduct health promotion, education and perform preventive health services to improve quality outcomes to patients. Even though the FNPs provide the much-needed service in primary care, their scope of practice can be limited. Rules and regulations for preventive care might bar the FNPs from administering particular services unless they acquire post-bachelor’s level education in health diagnosis, physiology or pharmacology for them to serve a role in primary care (Wilson, 2015). A nursing professional development plan comes handy to bridge the gap in the scope of health service delivery by the FNPs.
Ideally, new and seasoned nurse practitioners may have difficulties in understanding their professional responsibilities. Besides, both newly recruited and established nurse practitioners might have questions on how to advance their careers or even become leaders to take control of the nurse practitioner-led clinics in the event of physician shortages. In this case, a professional development plan would assist the MSN and other graduate nurses in their service delivery (American Nurses’ Association, 2016). The plan offers information on how FNP nurses can achieve career goals that conform to the nursing regulations of a given state. Besides, the development plan serves to assist in the transition of nurses from theory in school to practice in the clinical settings. Notably, the professional development offer avenues for continuing education which acquaint MSN nurses with the latest health trends in patient care and treatments (Leach & McFarland, 2014). The purpose of the plan is to allow nurse leaders to develop the necessary competencies as they undertake supervision role for nursing staff under their service. With the professional development plan, a Nursing Professional Development (NPD) specialist would inform the MSN nurses on matters related to certification and licensure requirements based on the changes in the standard of practice by a state.
As per the findings by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2011, nursing professional development provides a framework for practitioners to identify and respond to future changes in service delivery. In other words, professional development in continuous education, as well as nurse leadership, prepare practitioners to improve competencies and skills to respond to complexity in the delivery of care (Institute of Medicine (US), 2011). Nonetheless, further professional development enable nurses to specialize in the aspects of clinical practice. The approach gives nurses an advantage in positive patient outcomes and build their future career trajectory for excellence in healthcare (Stewart & Dennert, 2016). Moreover, according to the report, professional development provides an avenue where nurses receive mentorship and are prepared for being leaders in their future practice.
Elements to Be Included in a Professional Development Plan
The nursing field is a constantly evolving profession, and this also influences the practice of the staff. Besides, nurses are required to maintain confidence as well as remain open in collaborating with the health care staff as they assess and evaluate the best patient care practices. However, for this to be achieved, nurses need to commit to professional development to improve their practice skills by taking part in lifelong learning (Kutney-Lee, Sloane, & Aiken, 2013). Nurses enrolled in these programs use these opportunities to refresh and increase their knowledge base by taking courses that not only interest them but also challenge their skills on practices. In formulating a professional plan, FNP nurses need to include elements of leadership and personal development skills (Epstein & Turner, 2015). The subsequent discussion provides a highlight of these two components in the course of designing a continuing education and leadership plan.
Leadership Development Skills
Nursing is a profession defined by personal development that extends to leadership effectiveness. Occasionally, practitioners use the wealth of experience garnered through years of service delivery to respond to complex care. However, individual nurses can get overwhelmed by challenging situations, especially when the provision of service require skills and abilities that go beyond their professional knowledge (Leach & McFarland, 2014). Certainly, these challenging situations may provide an avenue for motivation as the nurses will engage in further learning to pursue mastery of the context in question. In my practice as an FNP, an interprofessional leadership program will promote my competency in collaborating with staff during care delivery (Stewart & Dennert, 2016). This will, however, commence with an assessment of personal leadership style followed by the development of a plan for ethical leadership.
Assessment of personal leadership style. My leadership style as FNP reflects how I solve challenging concepts and my relationship with the staff. Even though I have never held a major leadership position in the nursing department, I can point to a few personal styles that I had embraced when I had the chance to spearhead the diabetes management group (Stewart & Dennert, 2016). I took into account democratic leadership styles to coordinate activities of participants during the program. This leadership style is based on Lewin’s leadership theory where members of a given team are involved in the decision-making process (Leach & McFarland, 2014). According to the theory, the leadership style encourages creativity as participants engage in a project and in making a decision. In using this style, I realized that members had a high satisfaction and contributed effectively in the program as they took ownership of the project. However, this leadership style required a wider consultation with members, and it was difficult to make quick decisions.
I also found transformational leadership useful in guiding the team to achieve the objective of diabetes management. The leadership style relates to the use of emotional intelligence to inspire a team towards a vision (Wilson, 2015). In implementing this leadership, participants were held accountable for actions undertaken during the program on diabetes management. I found this style effective in communicating the best practice strategies as participants were engaged fully and the outcomes were highly productive (Epstein & Turner, 2015). On the contrary, the style demand participants to be well versed with the topic of study and hence time-consuming.
Plan for ethical leadership. Having personal qualities to lead help to create conditions that would help team members provide mutual care and support during service delivery. The approach requires leaders to pay close attention to aspects that motivate each person in the team so that they channel all their efforts in the delivery of care (Wilson, 2015). Besides, as a leader, one needs to understand the underlying emotions that might affect team members so that they develop an atmosphere of mutual support. The premise will help colleagues connect between what they feel and leverage it on how to improve the quality of services they provide (Katsikitis et al., 2013). However, the ability to coordinate a team to achieve a given goal would require adherence to stipulated standards of ethical practice. Ideally, ethical leadership inspire team members to model right behavior and act responsibly.
As an FNP in a care facility, it will be imperative to formulate a plan of ethical leadership as I prepare to take charge of the diabetes management team. The premise will require me to do what is right as I adhere to universal standards of moral behavior. My plan for ethical leadership is structured below;
Step one: defining the organization’s values: Understanding the values of the health facility will guide me in operating with the established principles of work. These provide the day-to-day business that all employees are required to emulate (Leach & McFarland, 2014). It will be essential to communicate these values to team members so that we coordinate actions towards the benefit of the hospital as we strive to improve patient care. These are aligned with ANA Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice #7 which addresses the competency on primary commitment the needs of health care consumers.
Step two: knowing personal values: The ethical culture in which the organization operates is matched with my personal values of ethical leadership. I will assess the standards of behavior that are important for the organization to inspire the team towards realizing the established goals. These are related to the ANA Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice #7 competencies on accountability and responsibility to nursing practice.
Step three: setting the tone: I will establish the right environment for the team members to emulate and reflect on their behavior. I will practice ethical leadership by showing compassion and respect to all the team members so that their dignity, worth as well as unique attributes are appreciated (Wilson, 2015). Nurses work in conditions of emotional distress and advocating for their rights together with safety will translate to how they provide care to patients. However, integrating the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (ANA, 2015) would help guide team members in nursing practice and offer a moral foundation that defines care for patients with diabetes.
Ethical leadership will also be demonstrated in compassionate care to patients. In other words, their discretion to service delivery will be sought through the administration of informed consent. The premise will ensure a patient’s right to decision-making and self-determination is respected (Epstein & Turner, 2015). Nonetheless, the confidential of patients will also be taken into account particularly in the handling of their health information.
Step 4: recognize and deal with ethical dilemmas: In the healthcare setting, ethical dilemma is identified through analysis of practice principles and reflecting the same on stipulated standards of service delivery. Sometimes team members may know what actions to undertake in care practices but still finds it hard to implement the same. Guided by this argument, I will attempt to contribute to the establishment and maintenance of an ethical environment for safe quality care (Epstein & Turner, 2015). In order to achieve this, I will collaborate with health professionals to promote diplomacy and reduce disparities that might result in ethical dilemmas similar to ANA Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice #7 where competencies address diplomacy to avoid disparities in care provisions.
Step five: identify specific leadership goals: The implementation of ethical leadership will only be achieved following a formulation of ideas to carve out actions during practice. The goals of leadership also influence the behavior and will reflect on how participants perceive activities assigned to them. Goals that I intend to achieve are outlined below:
After three months of professional development I will be able to practice accountability and be responsible for services administered during the delivery of care. Ability to demonstrate trustworthiness is one challenge that I do have since I have a weakness of blaming others before reflecting on my faults. I anticipate to be open and honest with fellow team members in the course of our practice. As the leader in the diabetes management team, I will assume the responsibilities of actions undertaken and will expect the same from other team members (Zepeda, 2013). The undertakings will help me maintain personal integrity and improve the general outlook of the nursing profession.
Formulation of a personal development plan will guide me on how to collaborate and communicate with team members in improving healthcare delivery after 2 weeks of implementation. I realize that I do not communicate clearly and succinctly while explaining goals to the team members. I also have a challenge in incorporating the ideas of other stakeholders during discussions and other engagements. Use of democratic leadership style requires involvement of all stakeholders in the continuum of care. I will be able to address this by listening carefully and including the views of all participants to enhance cultural sensitivity so as to reduce health disparity since the opinions of every individual will be respected.
Following the development of a professional plan, I will use the skills acquired to contribute to the establishment of an ethical environment for safe and quality care within the next three months.Adherence to the moral principles and ethical codes of practice is an aspect of behavior that I value but lack adequate information on how to implement the same. I have a conviction that the formulation of a personal development plan will enable me to stand up for what is right through a consistent behavior of integrity and credibility. My leadership will also provide a framework for ethical practice by advocating for respect, privacy, and confidentiality of patient information.
Personal Skills Development
The level of practice is determined by personal skills acquired through professional development. It relates to how the practitioners integrate theory into practice in order to improve the quality of health outcomes (American Nurses’ Association, 2016). As a family nurse practitioner, personal skills development will be reflected through enrolment for further studies and experiences gained in planning self-care.
Level of practice. Professional development includes fostering avenues for advancing level of nursing practice. I will take part in professional leadership development forums to identify emerging practices in family health nursing. In order to improve my level of practice, I will focus on the following goals:
- To earn additional specialty certification in family nurse practice
Specifically, I intend to build my competency by specializing in areas of women’s health and cardiology. The courses will also be related to evidence-based practice in the assessment and diagnosis of diseases in all human systems.
- To take courses in leadership skills and development
In addition to my MSN in family practice, I will enroll for classes on leadership to build my professional role in coordinating activities.
The following objectives will guide these goals;
- To specialize in cardiology and women’s health
- To build competency in decision making through enrolling in leadership classes
The plan in building level of professional practice will entail taking advanced learning classes after gaining clinical experience as required by the professional nurse regulatory body (Zepeda, 2013). In the next six months, I will have met the criteria for enrolment into the licensure and leadership programs.
Engage in lifelong learning. Nurses play a significant role in the provision of care to patients. In my personal skills development, I will consider continuing education as an avenue to help me stay relevant in the profession. As an FNP, engaging in lifelong learning will be facilitated through participating in educational events by enrolling in an advanced learning program (Epstein & Turner, 2015). Particularly, I will focus on preventive care by taking courses on health diagnosis and assessment. I have a conviction that these classes will give me a chance to participate in a role regarding primary care.
Perhaps one of my strengths inclines towards being accountable and responsible for actions taken. Guided by this argument, I believe lifelong learning will provide mentorship and leadership programs to nurture my practice skills considering that practitioners must take responsibilities of health services delivered to patients (Katsikitis et al., 2013). However, since my education will focus on skills development, I would take part in courses that address active learning. More so, I will participate in instructor-led workshops and play a significant role in simulation events organized by the faculty. Further, I will also be more interested in blended learning activities as I believe the methods improve engagement with the instructors to optimize comprehension of knowledge. Apparently, personal and professional development through lifelong learning will also be reflected through my active membership in organizations relevant to professional practice (Leach & McFarland, 2014). Specifically, I will attend conferences and seminars organized by advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to familiarize with the up-to-date practices in patient care.
Self-care. The family nurse practitioners provide services to patients who are medically stable. A majority of these patients are those seeking outpatient services or those discharged from in-patient units. These patients require information on self-care to manage their complications (Wilson, 2015). Personal skills development helps nurses provide education to patients to improve the prognosis of the condition. My role as FNP will be to organize the components of a self-care plan to conform to the conditions that are afflicting patients (Stewart & Dennert, 2016). Specifically, I will tailor the plan to address adherence to medication regimen and dietary choices as per the patients’ recommended daily allowance. However, I will also collaborate with other healthcare providers to reach on mutually agreed approaches in self-care for discharged patients (Zepeda, 2013). Moreover, I will help patients to identify the best options of self-care to facilitate safe transitions in care upon discharge.
Involvement in professional organizations. Joining professional organizations for nurses will form part of personal skills development. I will take part in major activities organized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and join Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses in addition to acquiring membership with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). The criteria for joining these organizations are a completion of baccalaureate and higher education degrees as well as the demonstration of excellence in scholarships. The rationale for my membership will be based on achievements in family nursing practice and an attainment of MSN. These nursing organizations provide opportunities for networking and gaining further expert knowledge or skills on current practices of care.
Promoting nursing’s future. Nursing professional development takes into account the future role of the healthcare staff in the workforce. According to Kutney-Lee, Sloane, and Aiken (2013), the structure of duties in the hospital is readily influenced by the educational initiatives of the staff. As a nurse practitioner, I purpose to achieve the following plans to support my future professional development.
- Pursue formal learning
I will enroll in advanced classes so that I specialize in cardiology and women’s health nursing as advised by Stewart and Dennert (2016). I believe that further education will improve my competency in care for patients and generally strengthen the professional outlook of nursing.
- Take part in experiential learning
The approach entails pursuing avenues for professional leadership development so that I become a nurse leader in the future.
Professional development plan in nursing outlines goals and skills required to develop competency of practice. Besides, it describes continuous improvement through advancement in career. However, as illustrated in the preceding discussion, family nurse practitioners serve a major role in primary care, but their scope of service delivery can be hampered by limited education. As such, the documents emphasize on advance learning and continuous education to enable the FNP professionals to take responsibilities of care in the absence of primary physicians. Career goals in nursing should also focus on leadership roles so that the seasoned nurses guide the newly recruited in safe patient care. Apparently, building competency in care requires years of experience and complementing this with lifelong learning will ensure nurses reach the helm of leadership just like senior practitioners such as doctors. The premise will enable nurses to command respect and built the reputation of the profession for future development.
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