Professional Development Plan, Coursework Example

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Coursework

According to Meagle (2010), “A nurse commits to being the embodiment of altruism, charisma, empathy and knowledge applied to the protection, promotion, and enhancement of the holistic states of all persons.  This…is not limited to a nurse’s practice in the professional arena, …but also outside the workplace.”  As well, nurses must keep pace with the ever-increasing available knowledge.  “Allan Watts likened his fellow philosophers to ‘intellectual yokels’ or someone who always wants to understand each new advent and apply that intellectual understanding to the pursuit of philosophy.  So to should nurses…strive to become a ‘nursing yokel’” (ibid.) with respect to nursing.  Furthermore, as part of the health care team, nurses are “obligated to aid and improve the ability of their peers” (ibid.), which is necessary to the upkeep of a nurse’s trusted image amongst colleagues and the public.  “Finally a nurse must always remember to whom they are ultimately accountable; their patient” (ibid.). Nurses must also be able to self-evaluate and to take proper care of themselves.

My personal philosophy is completely in line with the philosophy of nursing.  I am a true “nursing yokel” always reading something about nursing, attending nursing seminars, seeking out various professional development activities, and also formally increasing my nursing education.  Perhaps because I am by nature an altruistic and empathetic person, I am constantly—and happily—helping various people, which certainly include my patients and colleagues.  I still, however, find sufficient time to take care of my physical, mental, spiritual and social needs.  I know that if I am not whole, so to speak, I cannot properly help others.

“Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actual do it.  In between there are some very well defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal” (Golden Rules of Goal Setting) and are known as the five golden rules of goal setting.  They are:  “Set goals that motivate you…Set SMART goals…Set goals in writing…Make an action plan…Stick with it!” (ibid.)  Smart goals are “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound” (ibid.).  While all components of Smart goals are important, I consider—as do virtually all educational institutions and most organizations—the Measurable aspect the most important one because, if properly set up, it permits an accurate evaluation of to what extent one’s goals have been met.  Therefore, I am stating my top four goals/objectives in measurable terms.

  1. I will finish my RN to BSN degree by September 2014.
  2. I will begin my Nurse Practitioner (PN) program in September 2014.
  3. I will finish my NP program by September 2019.
  4. Upon completion of my NP program, I will begin working as a practitioner in either a hospice or oncology setting.

Although it is difficult at times to find the time to attend classes and to study when one is working full time and has a family, I, nevertheless, have determination and strength of will to meet all the requirements in order to pass my BSN examinations by the target date of September 2014.  I will be putting much effort into attaining the kind of grades that will be acceptable to a Nurse Practitioner’s program for which I will apply in time and, hopefully, be accepted for a start date in September 2014.  I will continue to devote myself diligently to my NP program and expect to graduate with good enough grades to attain an NP position in either a hospice or oncology setting where I will be the best NP that I can possibly be, keeping the patient first.  To do that, I will also take proper care of my physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.

Since I am working full time, finances do not present a problem. As already stated managing a full-time job and family responsibilities takes a lot of effort, which I can and will manage.  I do, however, have less time for recreational activities, relatives and friends than I would like.  Thankfully, my relatives and friends not only understand, but are quite supportive.  To reiterate, my professional goals are to obtain my NP degree and then to practise in a hospice or oncology section until one day retirement cannot be avoided. From my current job as a house supervisor PRN and a hospice coordinator, I have found that I am deeply interested in hospice work.  Having nursed for 17 years has increased my understanding of myself, of others, of organizations, and of the nursing profession as a whole.  The manager and physician with whom I work are excellent mentors and encouraged me to go back to school.

According to Griffin, for an organization “to operate systematically and efficiently, it needs a planned structure that fits” its style, size, and operations—and that most definitely includes hospitals. “Every organization has a hierarchy of people and functions” (ibid.)., which are depicted well in organizational charts that are crucial for staff so that they know their lines of communication and reporting.  The norm is to report to one’s immediate supervisor and not to bypass him or her unless it is essential.

During my 17 years in nursing, I have come to realize that although leadership and management are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.  Although there are similarities between the two, there are also differences.  Ricketts says, that “leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal,” whereas the “definition of management is to exercise executive, administrative, and supervisory direction of a group or organization” (ibid.).  The skills and characteristics required for each do, however, overlap to the extent that many people believe that it is possible to be both a good leader and a good manager.  It is interesting to note that although both formal leaders and managers are appointed, in most work places, informal leaders arise; and these can be more powerful than the appointed ones.  Formal leaders and managers, who are wise, keep a close watch on informal leaders because if they are against something that formal leaders and managers want, there may be a big problem.  In an organization as large as a hospital, informal leaders arise in the various departments, something I have been privy to many times in my 17 years of nursing.  I believe that I possess sufficient managerial skills and leadership traits that I could become a nursing manager, I also realize that I am stronger in leadership traits than in management skills.  While many management theories have sprung up since W. Taylor’s, the behavioural ones, which came about largely as a result of the Hawthorne studies, are popular today and are ones that I would encompass to a large extent.  These studies found that “work satisfaction and hence performance is basically not economic—depends more on working conditions and attitudes—communications, positive management response and encouragement, working environment….” (Olum).

While communication is of prime importance in all areas of life, it is especially so in the areas of management.  Effective and respected managers have abolished the top-down only style of communication, but use it along with up to top and sideways.  This not only makes employees feel valued, but management has over the years received—and implemented–many important suggestions from employees.  The CEO of a hospital may have heard that there is overcrowding in the ER, but the exact extent of this situation cannot come from a better source than from the staff working in it.

References

Golden Rules of Goal Setting.  Five rules to set yourself up for success.  Retrieved on September 01, 2012, from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTZ_90.htm.

Griffin, D., Demand Media.  Organizational structure and its functions.  Retrieved on September 01, 2012, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/organizationalstructure-its-functions.

Meagle, G. S. (June 13, 2010).  Professional nursing philosophy.  Retrieved on September 01, 2012, from http://allnurses.com/general-articles-about/philosophy-of-nursing-485449.1.

Olum, Y.  Modern management theories and practices.  Retrieved on September 01, 2012, from http://upan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents.

Ricketts, K. G., Community and Leadership Development.  Leadership vs management. Retrieved on September 01, 2012, from http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/elk1/elk1105.

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