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An Ongoing Journey of Inspiration and Challenge

The blog describes one nursing professional development educator’s journey to professional fulfillment at mid-career stage. It will identify the successes and pitfalls along the way and serve to encourage and motivate other nursing professional development educators to take the first steps toward being leaders (not simply managers) in their work settings, their specialty are of practice, and the nursing profession.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Preparing for Ambiguity
The current healthcare environment is changing and will continue to change at a rate faster than any time in recent history.  Ambiguity is also increasing at an unprecedented rate.  How can we plan for the unknown?  How do we keep a sense of equilibrium in a state of imbalance?  I suggest two essentials:  increasingly using a proactive approach in our work, and accelerating our resilience.
It would be understandable to ask, “How can I be proactive when I do not know where to focus?”  We can anticipate some of the changes that affect nursing professional development.  As we continue to learn, we can focus our learning on trends in health care, strategic goals of the organizations that employ us, and increasing our capacity to lead change.  As we increase skills and competencies, we will have more opportunities to add value within or outside the organization.  Formal learning and credentials can enhance credibility, as well as help us form new networks.  Informal learning through blogs, list servs, and contacts with authors enhances knowledge and broadens our perspectives on critical issues.  I have pursued additional certifications that are aligned with the needs of the organization and my professional goals.  I recently completed a certification in change management and am currently pursuing a certification in coaching.  I have used these certifications to establish credibility when working with new teams; to provide research when assisting teams working on strategic projects; and to promote the value I can bring when volunteering to be on new projects.  I share this information to highlight strategies with leaders that fast track progress and goal attainment.
Resilience is a key to success for every leader.  The resilience research indicates one of the primary approaches to enhance resilience is connectedness.  Actively contributing to professional organizations, staying connected with colleagues across the country, and responding to those who reach out to us are concrete approaches to maintaining and growing our connectedness.  However, in times of stress and ever increasing workloads, this is the area that may be first to be neglected.  Connectedness is organic.  It needs to be nurtured.
I focus on one specific area each week to continue my learning, and one area to strengthen my connections.  Although this is a challenge with competing priorities, I continue to strive for achievement in these two areas each week.  Small progress is progress.  Through networking we can support and encourage each other and increase our capacity to deal with ambiguity.
The next blog will focus on following our professional passion.