Nurses: Remember to Give to Yourself in 2021

Rejuvenate with professional development

By Meredith Foxx, MSN, MBA, APRN, PCNS-BC, PPCNP-BC, CPON, Executive Chief Nursing Officer

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As we embark on a new year, the persistence, dedication, selflessness and resilience of nursing caregivers continues to energize our global healthcare communities.

Even through the ongoing challenges of this global pandemic, nurses and nursing teams are going above and beyond, displaying exceptional, compassionate nursing care. They are quickly adapting to new processes and protocols to maintain safety. They are jumping in to learn new skills and help where needed. They are coming up with creative ideas and being innovative to enhance and improve care. And, they are supporting one another like family.

For many long months, nurses have been giving their all to everyone around them – patients, families colleagues and others. And, while time feels especially limited these days, I encourage nurses to also give to themselves in this new year.

Seek opportunities for professional development

In addition to focusing on personal health, such as self-care and managing stress and overall wellness as necessary support through the pandemic, many nurses may also find solace and a sense of rejuvenation in looking for ways to further develop professionally. This could be anything from working to create and devise new nursing innovations related to COVID-19 patient care to attending virtual professional nursing conferences, taking online courses in areas of interest and more.

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At Cleveland Clinic, the Nursing Professional Development Council works to facilitate and promote professional growth and development for all nursing caregivers, collaborating with the Office of Nursing Education and Professional Development.

The council aims to elevate nursing practice by facilitating the dissemination of educational offerings, presentations and other learning activities for nursing caregivers. It also devises programs that reward and recognize professional development, such as recognizing nurses who achieve professional certifications.

Additionally, it provides opportunities for life-long learning, such as promoting and maintaining Cleveland Clinic’s Nursing Career Development Pathways program. This unique program provides helpful and supportive career guidance to nurses looking to achieve a future career ambition, such as the experience and schooling needed to become a nurse practitioner, or what to do if interested in pursuing a management path, for example.

The council also offers oversight for Cleveland Clinic’s long-standing Nursing Professional Ladder program, which encourages personal and professional development while facilitating career advancement. The Professional Ladder integrates the Zielony Nursing Institute Professional Practice Model with the core learnings of the book From Novice to Expert by nursing theorist Patricia Benner.  

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It is voluntary and nurses can start participating at any point in their career. Caregivers may choose from one of two Professional Ladder tracks:

  • Registered Nurse and Licensed Caregiver (RN, LPN, LISW, Childlife)
  • Clinical Care Partner (PCNA, CT, Paramedics and other Nursing Institute caregivers)

Caregivers begin the Ladder by choosing a level for which they have met outlined requirements. They advance to the next level by completing the required activities of that level and demonstrating innovation through their accomplishments (the Professional Ladder includes innovative idea submissions through Cleveland Clinic’s Nursing Innovations programs). Throughout the year, participants compile an electronic portfolio that documents their participation and achievement of program objectives, which they then submit for review at the close of the year.

Wishing nurses a Happy New Year

As we seek brighter days ahead in 2021, I thank and salute all nurses for everything they have done this past year. The incredible work of nurses during the Year of the Nurse and Midwife inspired me in ways I could have never imagined. As we continue forward together, remember to make time for yourself in the coming months, seek out professional development opportunities, and take this new year one day at a time.