Professional Development Plan: Practice for APNs

Introduction

The creation of a professional development plan is a key element of the self-assessment process, which is inextricably linked to the notion of lifelong learning. A professional development plan is an instrument used by advanced practice nurses (APNs) to “better understand their new role” and to “identify knowledge and skill gaps” in relation to their current employment position (Andre & Heartfield, 2016, p. 104). Forward-looking APNs regularly make use of the instrument, which allows them to assess their development needs and draw connections between their knowledge and practice (Jasper, Rosser, Mooney, Koubel, & Elliott, 2013). The creation of a professional development plan is an effective way to structure a practitioner’s self-development process. It follows that a plan has to be regularly updated in order to precisely track the learning needs of a healthcare practitioner.

It has to be borne in mind that feedback from a mentor, colleague, or supervisor is essential to the creation of a comprehensive professional development plan (Jasper et al., 2013). Therefore, the management of professional development has to be approached in a dynamic manner. It will help APNs to ensure long-term professional success and employability (Jasper et al., 2013). This paper aims to present a professional development plan, which has been created in accordance with key concepts of advanced practice nursing. The paper will discuss the scope of practice for APNs, present the results of a personal assessment conducted with the help of Benner’s self-assessment tool, and outline networking and marketing strategies for professional development.

APN Scope of Practice

Advanced practice nursing has been identified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) as “any form of nursing intervention that influences health care outcomes for individuals or populations” (DeNisco & Barker, 2016, p. 5) The APN position has emerged in response to the changing landscape of healthcare and ever-evolving workforce requirements (Anne & Glenn, 2012). The effectiveness of APNs in improving patient outcomes in a wide range of settings has been confirmed by numerous experimental and quasi-experimental studies (Donald et al., 2013). The scope of practice in a nursing profession is a dynamic list of responsibilities and actions that vary in accordance with healthcare and accountability needs (Goudreau & Smolenski, 2014).

The scope of practice for APNs is specific to each state. The regulatory structure of Florida, which is a state in which I intend to practice, substantially restricts an APN’s ability to engage in the provision of certain health care services without supervision or delegation (Goudreau & Smolenski, 2014). The Florida Board of Nursing and the Florida Board of Medicine are two bodies that regulate the scope of practice of APNs within the state (FBM, 2017; FBN, 2017). According to the Nurse Practice Act, a nurse who intends to practice as an APN should hold a registered nurse (RN) license, a master’s degree in a nurse practitioner (NP) role, and national certification (FBN, 2007). The document specifies that an APN is allowed to “monitor and alter drug therapies, initiate appropriate therapies for certain conditions, and perform additional functions as may be determined by rule in accordance with s. 464.003(3)(d)” (FBN, 2007, p. 11).

The restricted practice prevents APN’s from helping to address the issue of physician shortage. It is estimated that in the following ten years, the State of Florida will require 3, 000 to 5, 000 primary care providers (FLANP, n.d.). Currently, APNs in the state cannot perform many important healthcare functions without supervision by a physician. Until recently, Florida laws prohibited APNs from prescribing controlled substances (FBM, 2016). In 2016, lawmakers of the state issued a legislation allowing nurse practitioners to “prescribe controlled substances listed in Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV or Schedule V as defined in s. 893.03 Florida Statutes” (FBM, 2016, para. 3). However, in order to utilize new prescribing privileges, APNs have to complete a three-hour training. It should be borne in mind that prescriptive authority is restricted to a seven-day supply (FBM, 2016). Furthermore, under the new law, APNs are not allowed to prescribe “psychotropic medications for children under 18 years of age” (FBM, 2016, para. 5). It can be argued that these changes resulted from a concerted effort of healthcare providers who were willing to improve health outcomes of their community.

Personal Assessment

Areas of Focus and Strengths

For the last ten years, I have been working as a registered nurse in a wide variety of settings. I am at the third stage of competence, according to Benner’s Novice to Expert model (Benner, 2001). In 2012, I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at Chamberlain University. Nonetheless, I am willing to continue my education in order to engage in an evidence-based practice as an APN. Therefore, I am pursuing a Master’s in Nursing Administration degree at the same university. In addition to focusing on educational pursuits, I am interested in improving my knowledge of infection control practices.

Expectations

I am looking forward to serving needs of the most vulnerable patient populations of Florida. My new role of APN will allow me to utilize my extensive knowledge and skills in order to manage healthcare problems of my patients across many stages of their lives. The master’s degree will help me to function as a family nurse practitioner, which will align perfectly with my key strength of having a strong passion for working with families. A willingness to make important decisions and act in accordance with best, evidence-based practices is another strength that will be of great benefit for the new role. I am expecting to demonstrate a breadth and depth of my knowledge in the process of delivering safe and efficient care to all patients.

Weaknesses

Even though I have a great attention to details, I feel that it is necessary to sharpen my delegation skills. In addition, I fear the process of transition into the new role. There is ample evidence pointing to the fact that the transition process “may generate anxiety, conflict, loss of confidence in clinical skills and feelings of incompetence” (Poronsky, 2013, p. 351). In order to deal with excessive stress and unwelcome feelings, I will have to utilize my coping skills. By engaging in problem-solving behaviors, I am usually able to manage undue stress. Social support is also a valuable coping mechanism for overcoming overwhelming situations in a clinical environment. Emotion-focused coping strategies such as humor and venting are also effective methods for reducing stress, which I often utilize in my professional practice.

Goals and Objectives

The thing that I hope to gain from the new experience is a deep knowledge of modern diagnosis and treatment methods in the context of family-centered care. I would like to acquire an intuitive understanding of various health problems while having referral and consultative relationships with members of other healthcare teams (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). During the first month as an APN, I will familiarize myself with collaborative dynamics of my new clinical environment. During the second and the third months, I will try to enhance my competency in conducting physical exams as well as performing clinical tests (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). Later, I will try to develop effective methods of engaging patients in order to help them better understand their conditions.

Networking and Marketing Strategies

For securing the first position in the new capacity, it is necessary to conduct a thorough labor market research. To this ends, both local and national professional associations and organizations will have to be carefully examined. There are many healthcare organizations in the State of Florida that advertise positions for APNs. The following institutions offer the most promising job opportunities: Blake Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, North Okaloosa Medical Center, and Manatee Memorial Hospital. Organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) should also be considered for prospective employment.

Professional networking and marketing efforts of an APN can be effectively channeled through social networking websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Many professional nursing organizations such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) can be accessed with the help of these networks. In addition to exploring online networking opportunities, it is also important to get involved with regional professional associations (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). Therefore, I am planning on becoming a member of Florida Nurses Association. By participating in the regional association, I will be able to better understand issues affecting the State of Florida as well as to meet my peers (Ray, n.d.).

Another strategy for success in the employment market is to regularly visit professional conferences. According to the president of National Nurses in Business Association, Michael Podlesni, “in addition to helping grow a professional network and making lifelong friends, attending conferences can also give nurses a chance to break away from the stress of their everyday work” (as cited in Professional networking, 2015, para. 6). The strategy will also help me to gain national exposure, which is associated with additional employment and education opportunities.

Curriculum Vitae

  • Name, credentials
  • Demographics:
  • Home Address:
  • Work Address:
  • Phone:

Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
  • May 25, 2007
  • Chamberlain University

Professional Employment:

  • August 2016 – current
    • Wesley Chapel Florida Hospital
    • PCU/ICU Charge Nurse
    • Patient care, placement, and triage
  • June 2015 – November 2016
    • Bayfront Health Dade City
    • ICU/PCU
    • Patient care, infection control
  • August 2013 – June 2015
    • Zephyrhaven Health and Rehabilitation
    • Case manager/reviewer
    • Staff assistance, creation of care guidelines
  • June 2007 – July 2013
    • Lakeland Regional Medical Center
    • Hospital floor work, oncology care

Licensure and Certifications:

  • BLS Exp: August 2017
  • ASHI CPR: July 2017
  • ACLS Exp: September 2017
  • PALS Exp: April 2017

Professional Honors and Recognition:

  • Employee of the Year 2016
  • Bayfront Health Dade City
  • Clara Burton Caring Award

Public Community Service:

Westside Samaritan’s Clinic

  • Parish nursing
  • Primary care patients June 2017
  • St. Andrew Community Medical Center
  • Parish nursing
  • Patients without access to health insurance

Conclusion

The paper has outlined a professional development plan, which is a reflective exercise used by APNs who are willing to better understand their development needs and areas for improvement. My strengths, weaknesses, goals, and objectives have been presented in the document. It has been argued that in order to achieve my goal of becoming a skillful family nurse practitioner in the State of Florida, it is necessary to utilize effective networking and marketing strategies. These strategies include participation in regional and national professional associations and the use of social media platforms.

References

Andre, K., & Heartfield, M. (2016). Portfolios for health professionals. Berlin, Germany: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Anne, C., & Glenn, G. (2012). Advanced practice nursing role development: Factor analysis of a modified role delineation tool. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(6), 1369-1379.

Benner, P. (2001). From Novice to Expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Health.

DeNisco, S., & Barker, A. (2016). Advanced practice nursing: Essential knowledge for the profession (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Donald, F., Martin-Misener, R., Carter, N., Donald, E., Kaasalainen, S., Wickson-Griffiths, A.,…DiCenso, A. (2013). A systematic review of the effectiveness of advanced practice nurses in long-term care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(10), 2148-2161.

FBM. (2016). New legislation impacting your profession. Web.

FBM. (2017). Home. Web.

FBN. (2007). Nurse Practice Act. Web.

FBN. (2017). Home. Web.

FLANP. (n.d.). The advanced practice nurse solutions. Web.

Goudreau, K., & Smolenski, M. (2014). Health policy and advanced practice nursing: Impact and implications. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Jasper, M., Rosser, M., Mooney, G., Koubel, G., & Elliott, P. (2013). Professional development, reflection and decision-making in nursing and health care (1st ed.). Chichester, England: Wiley-Blackwell.

Poronsky, C. (2013). Exploring the transition from registered nurse to family nurse practitioner. Journal of Professional Nursing, 29(6), 350-358.

Professional networking for nurses. (2015). Web.

Ray, L. (n.d.). Professional networking ideas for nurse practitioners. Web.

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