APN Professional Development Plan

APN Professional Development Plan

When an individual concentrates on a new career, a plan for the attainment of set long term and short term goals during transition is mandatory. The APN profession comes with totally new roles and responsibilities that those who qualify are required to perform. When beginning, it is no doubt that most APNs are at the novice level. Therefore, a plan on how to acquire relevant skills and knowledge and be on top of practice will be required. In order to achieve this, APNs need to establish a plan for development, conduct a self-assessment and organize for continued education. A self-assessment purposes to help an individual know individual strengths and weaknesses and how best the former can be maximized on and develop plans for improvement. This paper is a discussion on the practice of Advance Practice Nurse (APN) in the State of Florida. It also details a self-assessment based on the Benner’s self-assessment tool and an explanation on the strategies for marketing and networking for professional development. A professional development plan is essential when starting a career as an Advanced Practice Nurse as it provides guidance in their new roles. APN Professional Development Plan

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APN (Advanced Practice Nurse) Scope of Practice

            A Master’s Degree is mandatory for one to obtain licensure as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. However, for prior enrolment into a program of choice, one requires a valid license as a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor’s Degree. However, before applying for a program, there are specific classes that may be needed. In a high range for consideration, GPA (Grade Point Average) is also vital (Florida Board of Nursing, 2017). For highly competitive programs, a specific criterion based on experience is usually considered. Upon completion of the required clinical hours and courses, a certification exam is always mandatory where learners also pay a specified amount of fees. One automatically becomes a certified ARPN once he/she passes the certification exam.

The entire process is regulated by laws and guidelines which are state-specific. When compared to Registered Nurses, APNs have more complex and wide-ranging roles and responsibilities. APNs make diagnoses, offer treatment and manage acute and chronic illnesses. They also prescribe drugs and order radiologic and diagnostic tests under a physician’s supervision (Florida Board of Nursing, 2017). In other states, APNs are allowed to practice as Primary Care Practitioners. However, in Florida, the practice of APNs is restricted such that, there are specific written codes of behavior and protocol that exists between physicians and APNs. Therefore, APNs do not practice independently. The details of the duties agreed on need to be written in form of a protocol and as per the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. The details regarding APNs supervision are summarized in the Florida Scope of Practice Policy (Florida Scope of Practice Policy, 2017).   It is also worth noting that, based on this policy; APNs are only allowed to prescribe drugs and controlled substances from schedules II-V under a physician’s direct supervision. APN Professional Development Plan

Personal Assessment

            A personal assessment tends to provide insights in understanding the roles of an APN and assists in the identification of gaps in knowledge. Besides, it also helps to identify individual strengths and weaknesses as a wake-up call in identifying areas which need improvement and increases the chances of choosing the right career path. Besides, this assessment is vital in knowing an individual’s value to an entity. Based on the author’s personal assessment, the fit areas were that of leadership ability, critical care and managed care. Based on the Benner’s self-assessment tool, areas that the author has to focus more for the development of skills and knowledge is the pathology of acute and chronic illnesses and their management. The APN program will complement the author’s focus on managed care for good clinical outcomes. Patients tend to have totally different needs which requires that caregivers develop culturally competent individualized care plans based on a patient’s clinical presentation, socio-economic status, medical and psychological needs (Scanlon et a., 2014). When all factors are well addressed, there are high chances that one can be able to appropriately care for oneself.

One of the author’s strengths is empathy which involves one’s ability to not only comprehend but also share in the feelings and experiences as reported by a client. This is done with a lot of mindfulness and sensitivity, which are basically primary characteristics of charismatic leadership. Empathy is an essential attribute for APNs especially when dealing with patients who are not certain of their prognosis. In managed care, charismatic leadership is a commendable leadership strategy that can be difficult to sustain as it is highly reliant on a leader’s charm and persuasion (Bender et al., 2016).

The other strength is that of being a good listener and communicator. With these attributes, it has been easy to work with colleagues in the clinical setting such that, individuals are provided with the avenue and platforms to express their complaints and be provided with timely and appropriate feedback. In clinical practice, this ability enhanced interaction with colleagues at group and individual level in developing effective strategies to address issues that directly and indirectly affect clinical practice.

The author’s flexibility has continuously proven to be of benefit in change processes to meet the needs of patients. Flexibility increases the efficiency in embracing change, adopting new ideas and working with diverse populations (Nardi & Diallo, 2014). Besides, it encourages one to treat uncertainty and ambiguity with normalcy especially in urgent situations.

One of the major weaknesses of the author is poor delegation skills, which essentially contributes to high incidences of clinical burnouts and poor clinical outcomes. Improving my delegation skills will promote my ability to maximize on individual talents to become more skillful and resourceful in the clinical setting. Delegation has also been evidenced to promote motivation, confidence and the levels of competency among clinical managers (Heale & Buckley, 2015).  The author also needs to increase her knowledge base on the pathology and management of various acute and chronic illnesses. With this knowledge, it will be easier to educate patients on their illnesses, the options for treatment and how best to manage or cope with the disease outcomes.

The fear of the unknown, failure and not understanding when beginning a new career as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner is another weakness. However, to be able to provide quality clinical services, it will be necessary to overcome this fear. As suggested by Walker (2009), some of the best strategies that will be used by the author to overcome this fear include: engaging in continuous education through conferences and seminars to be updated, taking new responsibilities as learning opportunities, collaborating with professionals from other carders and having clear short-term and long term managed care goals to be achieved with set deadlines. It will also be necessary to ensure that adequate time is spent in clinical placements as this will also promote the ability to transition from novice to expert level.   APN Professional Development Plan 

Networking and Marketing Strategies

Strategies in networking and marketing are essential in assisting one to secure a job based on their area of specialization. Networking promotes the ability to exchange knowledge and information about nursing services in various disciplines. The most appropriate time to begin networking is when one has obtained a proper understanding in the field to specialize in. Networking has proven to be of essence in interacting with different professionals as well as when seeking for employment through multiple contacts (Scanlon et al., 2014).

When it comes to marketing, knowledge and information can be shared with people to ensure that a specific subject is properly understood. Marketing also provides other organizations and professionals with the opportunity to comprehend how an organization is likely to benefit from APN. Currently, most organizations are able to advance in terms of the number of patients attended to because of APNs. According to Nardi & Diallo (2014), this increases the amounts of profits that they make.

An individual’s marketability can be advanced through being an active member of professional organizations since they help to complete the circle between external factors and clinical practice. Professional organizations also avail learning opportunities through online trainings or national conferences for professional credit (Heale & Buckley, 2015).  Besides, professional organizations will undoubtedly link an individual to career boards and opportunities for scholarships which cannot be otherwise availed to non-members. They provide their members with the chance to influence policy which affects nursing at national and state levels for best practice (Heale & Buckley, 2015). Despite the fact that there exist numerous professional organizations based on specialties, generally, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners grants access to all topics that are healthcare specific and educates on patient advocacy at all levels of government (American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), 2017).

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Conclusion

A professional development plan is essential for evaluating long-term and short-term personal and professional goals for a new nurse practitioner. Knowledge on the various roles and responsibilities of a nurse practitioner, the scope of practice, laws and regulations based on the state of practice is mandatory. The initial step towards actualizing a career as a nurse practitioner is by obtaining specialization with Master’s degree and passing the certification exam. In order to specialize in the right discipline, a personal assessment that can help to identify individual strengths and weaknesses is very important. APN Professional Development Plan

Besides, knowing how to network and market oneself based on skills and knowledge gained ensures that one finds the most suitable career. Joining professional nursing organizations has proven to be one of the most effective ways of networking and marketing. These organizations avail learning opportunities to their members through online trainings or national conferences for professional credit. They link individuals to career boards and opportunities for scholarships which cannot be availed to non-members. Lastly, professional nursing organizations provide their members with the chance to influence policy which affects nursing at national and state levels for best practice.

References

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) (2017).  Available at https://www.aanp.org/. Accessed on 3/9/2019

Andrew Scanlon, D. N. P., Denise Hibbert, R. G. N., Freda DeKeyser Ganz PhD, R. N., Linda East PhD, R. N., & Debbie Fraser MN, R. N. (2014). Addressing issues impacting advanced nursing practice worldwide. Online journal of issues in nursing, 19(2), 1.

Bender, M., Williams, M., Su, W., & Hites, L. (2016). Clinical nurse leader integrated care delivery to improve care quality: factors influencing perceived success. Journal of Nursing Scholarship48(4), 414-422

Florida Scope of Practice Policy (2017).  State profile. Available at http://scopeofpracticepolicy.org/states/fl/. Accessed on 3/8/2019

Florida Board of Nursing (2017). Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. Available at https://floridasnursing.gov/licensing/advanced-registered-nurse-practitioner/

Heale, R., & Rieck Buckley, C. (2015). An international perspective of advanced practice nursing regulation. International nursing review, 62(3), 421-429.

Nardi, D. A., & Diallo, R. (2014). Global trends and issues in APN practice: Engage in the change. Journal of Professional Nursing, 30(3), 228-232.

Walker, J. (2009). Advanced Practice Nursing: Essential Knowledge for the Profession. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 23(1), 45.

APN Professional Development Plan

 

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