New ACNO to Spearhead Nursing Education and Professional Development

Lisa Baszynski strives to be bold, innovative and fluid

Cleveland Clinic’s newly appointed Assistant Chief Nursing Officer (ACNO) of Nursing Education and Professional Development has a message for her team and other nursing leaders: “We have to be bold but not reckless; innovative, without forgetting the expertise that has gotten us where we are; and fluid, knowing that change is coming,” says Lisa Baszynski, DNP, RN, NE-BC.

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Baszynski has followed these principles throughout her 35-year nursing career, beginning as a staff nurse at Saint Michael Hospital in Cleveland. She joined Cleveland Clinic in 2003 and has held numerous positions, including nurse manager and Assistant Nursing Director for the Imaging Institute. Most recently, she served as Senior Director of Nursing Education.

In her ACNO role, Baszynski will lead nursing education and professional development across the Cleveland Clinic health system.

“The driver I have always had in education and leadership is to make nurses equal stakeholders at the table when decisions in healthcare and practice are being made,” she says. “By having a competent and educated nursing workforce, we will have the power to make our own decisions.”

Creating a pipeline for nurses

During her tenure in the Office of Nursing Education and Professional Development, Baszynski has implemented numerous programs, including an ambulatory nursing specialty onboarding process and new home care RN residency program. She is particularly proud of leading the ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program designed for high school juniors interested in pursuing a nursing career.

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“It is the ultimate diversity pipeline for our nursing workforce,” says Baszynski of the program, which is now in its sixth year.

Baszynski not only advocates for education for others, she also pursues opportunities to build her own skills and knowledge. In May, she earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Capella University in Minneapolis.

“I am a living example of how Cleveland Clinic supports its nurses every step of the way – from my bachelor’s and master’s degrees to my doctorate,” she says.

Baszynski’s capstone project during her DNP program entailed creating a triad mentor model for ASPIRE to see if it would increase the amount of time mentors and students spend together. The project showed an uptick in communication and meetings, so the program has adopted the model, with two RNs guiding each student.

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Supporting lifelong learning

As ACNO of Nursing Education and Professional Development, Baszynski looks forward to leading her team as it helps to build tomorrow’s nursing workforce.

“We are looking at a completely different workforce and new way of training future nursing caregivers, from students to nursing residents and leaders,” she says. “We will have to be innovative and find ways to deliver competency-based content that matches the world we are living in now.”

She is confident that Cleveland Clinic is up to the challenge – and so are caregivers. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when so much media coverage focused on nurses’ struggles, Baszynski heard from numerous retired nurses and nurse leaders who returned to the clinical workforce to pitch in.

“They told me it was an honor to help patients and colleagues. Listening to their stories made me proud,” she says. “We know what we do as nurses is important, and we need to keep fostering that sense of purpose. Our goal in nursing education and professional development is to support lifelong learning.”