Academic and Professional Success Plan

Academic and Professional Success Plan

Since early childhood I knew I wanted to be a nurse.  I was born to be a caregiver.  I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives during those times of illness or hard times.  One reason I am just now starting on my MSN/PMHNP is because I live in a very rural state with limited resources.  Professional networking can be beneficial for those in the healthcare and helped me find the right college to further my career in nursing.  “Networking is an essential aspect of your nursing career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 70% of jobs are found through professional networking. Whether the need to network is for mentorship or to land a dream job, it is crucial that one builds a secure network of professionals. Opportunities that arise from networking are priceless and limitless. Career advancement and placement are just two benefits” (Wofford, 2018).  Social media, conferences, Facebook groups are just a few examples of ways to professionally network.  70% of jobs are found through professional networking!  That is a large percentage.  I have learned over the years professional networking is beneficial in other ways also such as keeping up with available community resources in your area and more rural areas that some of your patients may live in.  In mental health there are very little to no resources available to those in rural areas.  It is very important to be active in professional networking in mental health for community resources and services. “Professional networking can help nurses achieve the fundamental knowledge required to take the next step. For example, nurses can develop relationships with individuals who work in their desired fields or roles with the intent of gaining knowledge. In other words, this professional contact may never lead to an actual job, but instead serve as an invaluable resource for knowledge that can be instrumental in advancing the nurse’s career” (Schmidt, n.d.).  Professional networking within your community and employer may help with the negative stigma with mental health.  Professional networking is not always for career advancement.  It can also be used for many other things within your employer and community such as resources.  Academic and Professional Success Plan


The reason I am writing this paper is to create a well-defined academic and professional success plan that will assist in identifying academic and professional resources, professional networking ideas, develop short and long term goals for my career path in mental health once I have completed my MSN PMHNP degree at Walden University.  I have chosen people who are mentors and supportive to me professionally as a nurse, in my personal life, and academically.

My Academic and Professional Network

Name:  Dr. Elaine Thellman

Title:   RN MSN PhD Education

Organization:  Carl Albert State College

Academic or Professional: Academic

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practicing nurse:  I have known Dr. Thellman for 20 years.  She has been a mentor for most of that time.  She was one of the first to discuss the importance of mental health and well-being as well as the physical health.  She has written several journal articles over the years about the importance of mental health and predicted the rapid advancement of technology in healthcare would be almost unthinkable 20 years ago.  She helped me build and improve my critical thinking skills and to look outside of the box or norm for society for every patient.  Such as why do we feel a patient is non-compliant with their diabetes.  Is it lifestyle choices or is it financial reasons?  She taught me how to always dig a little deeper so to speak to find out that kind of information because there is always a reason why.  She has been instrumental with me continuing my education.

Name:  Charity Tarr , APRN PMHNP

Title:  PMHNP

Organization:  Chenal Family Therapy

Academic or Professional:  Professional

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practicing nurse:  Charity has been part of my professional and personal life for five years.  She works with the underserved, uninsured, and homeless in the community.  She has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to mental health and community resources within the city but also within rural areas of the state that have very few resources.  Charity is very dedicated to her career and follows up with her patients after hours, holidays, and even weekends if they are struggling with mental health issues.  She works around their schedules so they can receive mental health services that they need.  She is an inspiration to me as a nurse and I hope to be half as dedicated as she is in mental health and patients when I become a PMHNP.

Name:  Beth Parham, APRN PMHNP


Organization:  UAMS

Academic or Professional:  Academic

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practicing nurse:  I met Dr. Bailey 20 years ago when I started back for my RN ADN. She was one of my first instructors.  She helped me understand and taught me that nutrition plays an important role with mental health and physical health.  She also taught me how childhood trauma can lead to lifelong mental health problems for some.  She has written several journal articles on these subjects.  She is currently writing a book about mental health and proper nutrition.  She has been a mentor for me as a nurse and to continue my education throughout my career.

Name:  Cari Long, RN BSN

Title:  RN BSN

Organization:  Benton Family Therapy and St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health

Academic or Professional: Professional

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practicing nurse:  Jenna has been part of my professional and personal life for three years.  She does different types of therapies with individuals to help them meet their goals.  She has a wealth of knowledge about community resources for children with childhood trauma within the city but also in rural areas.  She is committed and dedicated to her career.  She drives extensive miles to ensure her patients get the mental health services they need if they are unable to make it.  She waives copays and sees uninsured and homeless with little to no fee if needed.  She is very active at the homeless shelters and goes their twice weekly to ensure those people get the services they need as well.

The following academic and professional resources/strategies can be applied to the profession in nursing and my chosen specialty of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP).

Academic Resource/Strategy 1

Walden University Library – Walden University will be a good source and available online.  I will have access to scholarly journals, articles, books, and other valuable resources during my education.  I plan to work 12 hour shifts 3 days a week on day shift throughout school so it will be important to me for the online access of the Walden library in my own home.  It will give me flexibility with my work and school schedule to research online. Academic and Professional Success Plan

Academic Resource/Strategy 2

Walden University Writing Center – The writing center is a great resource for any Walden student.  It will help ensure I follow writing my papers in APA format.  If I am unsure of format with APA, I can look it up in the writing center.  There are program specific templates and examples in the writing center for students along with webinars.  There is also chat available if I have questions.

Academic Resource/Strategy 3

Student Success Advising Team – Each student is assigned an advisor they can speak with by email, phone, set up appointment. Advisors are knowledgeable about different programs, forms, questions, and policies. The advising team is available 12 hours a day.  This is beneficial for me because I work long hours 3-4 days a week.  Student success advisors can help if:  “have questions about program requirements,  about how to interpret policies related to their specific program in addition to university-wide policies, need assistance with registration for class, have questions about creating a course schedule or in understanding their course sequence, require assistance with interpreting emails or information from other departments, are looking for more information on available university resources, are interested in changing specializations or concentrations within the same degree program, need information on how to return or stay in compliance with academic progress standards, have questions about any holds that might be on their account, would like recommendations on the best way to approach their faculty member with their questions, are looking for information about their program’s leadership team, and have questions about the drop or withdrawal deadlines” (Student Success Advising Team, n.d.).

Professional Resource/Strategy 1

UAMS (University of Arkansas Medical Sciences) Psychiatric Research Institute (PRI) – UAMS PRI will be beneficial while I am in college and in my specialty area.  They do allow Walden students in the area to do their field experience for behavioral health specialties at the campus.  As an employee for UAMS I will have benefits of the PRI research programs also.  “The Center for Addiction Research is at the forefront when it comes to conducting innovative research designed to improve the prevention and treatment of addictive disorders as well as inform local and national policies regarding the antecedents and consequences of addiction. The Division of Health Services Research is one of the largest and most involved centers of its kind in the country, coordinating numerous projects in and around Arkansas. They have five research divisions:  Center for Addiction Research, the Division of Health Services Research, the Women’s Mental Health Program, the Neurocognitive Dynamics Laboratory and the Brain Imaging Research Center” (UAMS PRI, 2019).  Most staff are very helpful for with students regardless of the college you attend.


Professional Resource/Strategy 2

American Psychiatric Nurses Association – “Psychiatric-mental health nurses look to APNA as their resource for networking, education, and dissemination of research. The APNA network consists of approximately 40 state or local chapters that connect PMH nurses with others in their local regions. Chapter members communicate and share expertise online, through conference calls, and at live chapter meetings. The chapter system allows for the quick and wide distribution of standards, position papers, and materials to APNA’s 11,000 members and other constituents” (APNA, 2019).  I will use the APNA as a student and PMHNP resource for behavioral health.  I would like to attend the annual conference next year.  They have a resource page with a wealth of information including self-care tips for nurses and practitioners.  The continuing education link takes to a page with continuing education for behavioral health nurses and practitioners.

Professional Resource/Strategy 3

Arkansas State Board of Nursing – The state board of nursing is a good resource for me as a nurse and student.  I can refer to the board of nursing to make sure I stay in my scope of practice as a registered nurse and as nursing student for my PMHNP.  Since this is the state I plan to initially practice in once I complete school the site has information regrading accredited certifications for different specialties.

The Connection Between Academic and Professional Integrity

Integrity is of great significance in both the academic and professional settings in nursing.  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility.”  (Merriam Webster, 2019).  The connection between writing, academic integrity, professional integrity, and scholarly ethics is short but to the point.  Students should use Grammarly and SafeAssign with their work so it can be looked over and modified if need be to guarantee correct adherence to policies with Walden University.  Thus, this section will define the relations among academic writing, integrity, professional practices within nursing, and scholarly ethics.

Relationship Between Academic Integrity and Writing

     Academic writing entails integrity to guarantee appropriate recognition is given to others work.  Citing information properly can help prevent plagiarism and is good academic integrity.  It is a required expectation and policy of Walden University to cite any information or material taken from another’s work to avoid plagiarism and possible academic probation.  “Plagiarism is the practice of claiming credit for the words, ideas, and concepts of others” (APA, 2009, p. 170).  Proper citation is also an important part of academic integrity and writing. Academic and Professional Success Plan

Relationship Between Professional Practices and Scholarly Ethics

Daily nursing tasks such as blood administration, starting IV’s, giving medications, and protecting health information are used multiple times each day at the workplace.  Professional integrity goes beyond those daily nursing tasks and is the moral or ethical background of each individual nurse.  “Ethics addresses issues and questions about morality in human choices, action, character, and ends” (ANA, 2019).  Nurses usually have high moral standards and consider multiple options when making choices for their patients, family, or themselves.  “Given the known nature of the work a nurse does, professional integrity is a cornerstone of the nursing profession and ethical behavior is the foundation” (Walden, 2018).

Grammarly, Safe Assign, and Paraphrasing

In today’s world of high technology functions and internet access there are many options for tools to ensure scholarly writing meets specific college guidelines.  Citing sources, references, and paraphrasing is important to give proper credit to the original source of the work.  When you paraphrase you are still using the original source but changing the words to your own.  This still requires citing the source.  If this is not done it is considered plagiarism.  Walden University uses SafeAssign to check for plagiarism and originality in papers.  The student submits this prior to turning in their work.  Walden University also uses Grammarly which makes grammar recommendations and proof reading of papers prior to the student submitting assignments.  Plagiarism can easily be avoided, and proper scholarly writing done with each assignment with these two tools alone.  Other colleges use similar tools for their students.

Maintaining Integrity and Ethics of Academic Work

To help maintain integrity and ethics throughout the academic part of my career I can use Grammarly to help with proof reading and grammar suggestions with assignments.  To ensure all my work I do is cited properly and avoid plagiarism I will use SafeAssign before submitting any of my assignments.  Referring to my text for this course, American Psychological Association 6th edition, will also help ensure all my work is cited properly and APA format is used with all my assignments. Academic and Professional Success Plan

Maintaining Integrity and Ethics of Professional Work

Integrity and ethics can be accomplished throughout a nurse’s career by furthering their education in their profession and staying current with health care changes or new ways to improve patient outcomes with continuing education.  Staying up to date and current with health care and your employer’s rules, regulations, policies, state and federal laws all help maintain integrity and ethics as a professional.  By doing these you will improve patient outcomes, safety, honesty, appropriate ethical treatment of patients in the workplace.


Creating a strong academic and professional network is vital part for the foundation of completing your education and having a successful career in the healthcare industry as a nurse.  This helps provide the professional and academic support that is needed while continuing your education.  It also helps with possible career advancements as a nurse, resources, improving patient outcomes, improving patient and staff safety, evidence-based practice, and community resources that I will use for the remainder of my career.


Wofford, P. (2018, May 24).  10 Networking tips for nurses who hate networking.

Retrieved from

Schmidt, K. (n.d.).  5 reasons nurses should engage in professional networking.

Retrieved from    professional-networking-seriously/.

CCNE Accreditation. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2019, from

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2019, from

Student Success Advising Team.  (n.d.) Retrieved July 24, 2019, from

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Psychiatric Research Institute

(PRI). 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2019 from

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA). 2019.

Arkansas State Board of Nursing. 2019.

Merriam-Webster. 2019.

American Psychological Association (APA). (2010). Publication Manual of the American

Psychological Association (6th). Washington D.C.: American Psychological



Academic and Professional Success Plan

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