Engaging the Future of Nursing Today . As we continue to grow in our professional nursing development, we come to see beyond ourselves to our responsibilities to move the profession of nursing forward in the 21st century. Like a compass guides the traveler, our Nursing Core Competencies and AACN BSN Essentials can help guide us in our professional nursing career.
Shaping the Future of Professional Nursing
Professional nurses are stewards of nursing. By practicing this stewardship, we hold the knowledge, values, and ethics of the nursing profession safe in our hands for the nurses of the future, just as past nurses held the profession safely for us. The goal of professional nursing stewardship is to make improvements in the profession while it is in our hands.
Professional nurses are responsible for moving the profession forward. This necessitates a focus on long- and short-term goals for nursing as a whole, not just for the career of the individual nurse. Working to develop new care models, using evidence-based interventions to provide the best care for all patients, and promoting nursing to community members are ways in which nurses can help to move the profession forward.
Nurses do not work alone. Even home health or telehealth nurses who may work in physically isolated settings have colleagues with whom they can consult and network. Support and collegiality from other nurses are important ways we can help to move the profession forward.
Recruitment and Promotion of Nursing
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2017), enrollment in U.S. nursing schools is insufficient to meet the expected future demand for RNs. This is due both to the growth in need for RNs as well as the retirement of large numbers of RNs and nursing faculty in the next few years.
Recruiting persons into the profession of nursing is vital to combat this future shortage. Recruitment to the profession has been focused on these groups.
- Persons unhappy in or displaced from their careers (including those with degrees in other fields)
- Persons from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds (to increase the diversity in the nursing profession)
- Unemployed persons
Professional nurses must be role models for family and community members. Nurses are often asked questions about health and illness. These interactions offer a wonderful opportunity for the professional nurse to provide health teaching, referrals, and explanation of the role of the nurse. Professional nurses should discuss the vast opportunities in the field, especially those in nontraditional settings. Because most people think of nurses as working in hospitals or physicians’ offices, the professional nurse should explain the role of nurses in settings such as community health, hospice, school nursing, telehealth, case management, and many more.
How would you respond to a question about what a nurse does?
Mentors are experienced nurses with tools to help guide novice nurses through the early phases of role development. Mentees (or protégés) are persons new to the profession or role that can benefit from guidance, support, and nurturing provided by mentors. By pairing an expert nurse with a novice nurse, the road for the novice may be smoothed and role development enhanced.
Mentors are different than preceptors. Whereas preceptors are usually assigned and work with an orientee for a set time period, mentors are usually chosen. The mentoring relationship can last many years. Many nurses have several mentors over their long career. Even experienced nurses need mentors.
Professional nurses can further develop their careers and be stewards of professional nursing by assuming the role of mentor. Match the rewards for the mentor and the mentee.
If you are a relatively new nurse or new to your position, look at your experienced colleagues to see whom you admire for skills, critical thinking ability, caring, teaching, and nurturing. Get to know that person better. Ask that colleague to be your mentor.
If you are an experienced nurse, consider becoming a mentor to utilize your skills in critical thinking, caring, teaching, constructive criticism, explaining, listening, and nurturing. Get to know new nurses in your workplace or organization. Select one that you see as particularly promising and approach that person about participating in a mentoring relationship.
Vance (2011) makes these points about mentoring in nursing.
- Collegial partnership characterized by championing and cheerleading other nurses
- Opens doors of success for other nurses
- Helps nurses develop talent and potential
- Characterized by empowerment, sharing, learning, and growth
- “A mentor is someone who takes a special interest in and actively supports your development. This relationship can develop into an expansive resource of growth, empowerment, and opportunity” (Vance, 2011, p. 27).
- “Both mentors and protégés benefit from confidence building, shared connections, ongoing socialization, co-motivation, exploration of new ideas, collaboration in scholarly and research projects, and friendship” (Vance, 2011, p. 31).
- Mentor does more than role model, precept, and coach
- Investment of time, energy, professionalism, gratitude
- Mentors can introduce you to others who can be beneficial to your career (networking)
Mentoring helps to shape the future of nursing. How will you participate?
Professional Nursing Organizations
As with many professions, nursing has formed professional organizations that serve to set standards, advocate for all nurses, provide resources and networking, and promote the health of citizens. Nursing has both general organizations (members are from all nursing specialties) and specialty organizations (members are from one specific nursing specialty). Membership in these organizations is voluntary.
Benefits of Organizational Membership
- What are the benefits of organizational membership for you?
Reflective Practice in Professional Nursing
Reflection helps us to think about an issue or care experience. This allows us to process our thoughts and consider what we did, what we didn’t do, and what we might have done. This allows us to build our experience, resulting in professional growth. Sometimes, nurses reflect alone by thinking about a situation, and at other times, nurses reflect by discussing the past situation with other nurses for their input. Knowledge, skills, and attitudes can be enhanced by reflective practice in professional nursing.
The professional nurse “understands the importance of reflection to advancing practice and improving outcomes” (Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Nursing Initiative, 2016, p. 14).
BSN education helps nurses to “reflect on one’s own beliefs and values as they relate to professional practice” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008, p. 28).
Nursing is a wonderful profession with many opportunities. We are fortunate to have so many specialties and so many settings in which to practice.
Career Map in Engaging the Future of Nursing Today
Below are some possible questions you might ask yourself as you consider your future career development.
- Where have I been in nursing?
- How did I get where I am today?
- What do I most like to do in professional nursing?
- What do I least like to do?
- Which professional nursing roles do my favorite and least favorite nursing activities use?
- What education or other preparation would my favorite activities require?
- Would I really like doing those activities full time?
- What will I do to reach my goals?
After you answer the career planning questions above, consider breaking your long-term goals into smaller short-term goals so you can plan your future accomplishments. Be sure to return to the Chamberlain Care Student Success Strategies resource and open the Student Services module to find out how to access Chamberlain’s Online Career Services Department.
Role Change Across the Educational Continuum
There are several education levels for registered nurses; therefore, it is important that we consider the roles of the nurse at each level. The implementation of these roles is not a smooth transition from one degree to the next, but a fluid growth as the nurse works toward the next level.
|Communicator||Uses therapeutic communication with patients and families
Uses basic communication skills
Collaborates with other healthcare disciplines to plan care
Uses complex communication skills
Plans and manages care conferences and consultations to improve patient care
Mediates complex communication issues
Develops new models of professional communication
Direct care for individual patients
Accountable for own practice
Direct care to individuals, groups, and populations
Organizes and manages care in complex situations
Expert in clinical practice
Advanced Practice Nurses: CNM, CRNA, CNS, NP
Advanced Practice Nurse
|Leader||Beginning clinical expert in limited area||AD/Diploma +
Manages others (unit director)
Works to promote social justice and community health issues
Upper level nursing administration
Clinical expert in broad areas
Upper level nursing or educational administration
|Teacher||Teaches patients and families
Shares information with colleagues
Teaches LPN students
Does CE teaching
Plans complex teaching for patients and groups
Engaged in organizations and promotion of healthcare issues
Teaches AD/diploma and BSN students
Interprets research articles and shares with staff
Developing as spokesperson for issues and organizations
Teaches students at all levels
Expert spokesperson for professional organizations and agencies
|Scientist||Identifies clinical issues
Assists with data collection
Uses evidence in care
Critically appraises research
Ensures ethical treatment of research participants
Is clinical expert in research
Evaluates research projects
Leader in integrating evidence into practice
Ensures that scholarly investigation is supported
Conducts theory-related research
Designs research projects
Collaborates with other professions in research
Acquires funding for research
Disseminates research results by publishing and presenting
Eight weeks ago, you were just beginning your journey as an online BSN student at Chamberlain College of Nursing. This may be the first online course you have ever taken. Look back over the 8-week session, and consider all the skills you have learned and refined. Would you have predicted that you would come so far in just 8 weeks?
Your understanding of the importance of nursing core competencies (Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Nursing Initiative, 2016) and the essential expectations of baccalaureate nursing graduates (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008) has set the stage for the rest of your BSN courses. If you encounter challenges, you can return to the links and documents in this course and in SSPRNBSN to refresh your memory. In addition, you know that you have many people at Chamberlain who are committed to your success as an online BSN student. When you have questions, you can contact your advisor, student services personnel, or the instructor for each course you take. You can do this! Enjoy all your future courses! Best wishes for a great academic and professional career!
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