JoAnn DelMonte is an ANCC-certified nursing professional development (NPD) practitioner and certified advanced nurse executive with more than 25 years of experience in nursing professional development and leadership. Ms. DelMonte is Vice President of Professional Development and Practice for UCHealth in Colorado, where she provides strategic and visionary oversight to multiple teams of clinical nurse educators, clinical nurse specialists, research nurse scientists, clinical scholars, and to the postbaccalaureate nurse residency program for a growing healthcare system. Prior to her current position, Ms. DelMonte served as the system’s Nurse Residency Program Coordinator; in this role, Ms. DelMonte and her team achieved the nation’s first Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) nurse residency program accreditation. She now serves as a lead national site visitor for CCNE Nurse Residency Program Accreditation and is a member of the CCNE Residency Accreditation Committee. Ms. DelMonte is a member of the Association for Nursing Professional Development and the American Organization of Nurse Leaders, she serves on the Lippincott Nursing Solutions Advisory Board.
- 1. What are the significant professional milestones in your career journey?
JD: Professional milestones in my career journey have held two key elements in common:
First, saying “yes,” even when there is an element of uncertainty as to the direction the opportunity may take you. I have found that assuming responsibility and leading initiatives has allowed me to develop expertise and to truly make a contribution to nursing professional development. For example, in 2002, I became a coordinator for a nurse residency program at an academic medical center and was charged with ensuring the program was among the first in the nation to be accredited. Without a roadmap to follow this was uncertain territory, but saying “yes” in this instance became a career milestone. After leading this organization to successful accreditation, I became an onsite accreditation evaluator; I serve on the Residency Accreditation Committee for CCNE, assist in the orientation of new onsite evaluators, and co-present workshops for program leaders interested in pursuing accreditation. I have recently been appointed chair of the CCNE Nurse Residency Program Standards Committee. Saying “yes” to this initial opportunity was a professional milestone, as it allowed me to follow a passion and truly make a contribution to how new nurses transition into the profession of nursing.
- The second key element that has existed at milestones in my career journey is the practice of intentionally observing my mentors and role models. Throughout my career, I have taken note of the opportunities successful leaders in health care take advantage of, how they engage in complex decision-making, and with whom they surround themselves. Taking advantage of one-on-one consultation with successful nurse leaders has provided me with essential tools to support my professional journey.
- 2. How have you seen the specialty of NPD grow/evolve/change during your career?
JD: Long gone are the days when an annual “skills fair” provided a nurse with all of the “competencies” required to safely care for patients. Our healthcare environments are becoming increasingly complex and are rapidly changing. Nursing professional development practitioners must be nimble and efficient in delivery of services to align with the fast pace of any healthcare organization. As many healthcare organizations are systematizing, NPD practitioners can maximize their reach by standardizing education and broadening audiences to avoid duplication of services with scarce resources.
- 3. From your perspective, what do you see as significant trends or gaps in nursing practice that nursing professional development could address?
JD: Healthcare workers experience workplace violence at a rate four times higher than other employment sectors—a disturbing and highly significant trend. Among healthcare workers, nurses and nurse aides are victimized at the highest rate (The Joint Commission, 2018). It is critical that we provide our nurses with tools to manage this ever-growing challenge in their environment. For example, the NPD practitioner might partner with simulation specialists to create simulated behavioral health scenarios providing nurses with a safe environment to practice de-escalation techniques and build confidence related to responding to escalating conditions that could lead to potential workplace violence.
- 4. What insights can you share related to the value of NPD in healthcare organizations now and in the future?
JD: Nursing professional development is and will continue to be more valuable to healthcare organizations than ever before. The rapid pace of change and a diminishing nursing workforce demand efficient delivery of education and orientation. Our nursing work force is composed of 30% millennials, with millennials representing the fastest growing sector in the healthcare workforce.
Innovative teaching/learning modalities are an expectation of our millennial workforce. NPD practitioner may consider innovative teaching modalities such as use of flipped classrooms or an escape room activity to promote a team approach to problem-solving.
- 5. What advice do you have for NPD practitioners in the context of today’s health care and learning environments?
JD: In order to meet the demands of our rapidly changing environment, we must ensure NPD leaders are “at the table” gaining firsthand knowledge of changes and trends that are on the horizon. Then, we must proactively establish ambitious timelines and set a course of action for delivery of education or program development before the next demand surfaces. The NPD practitioner must maintain knowledge of regulatory trends and develop keen fiscal awareness and accountability.
Finally, take full advantage of networking opportunities—for example, much of the learning that occurs during a professional conference may take place over a cup of coffee with a colleague from another organization facing challenges similar to your own. Treat these opportunities as your own professional development!
The Joint Commission. (2018). Physical and verbal violence against health care workers. Sentinel Event Alert
, 59(1), 1–9.