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Professional growth is a personal responsibility

Section Editor(s): Hunt, Pamela MSN, BS, RN, NEA-BC

doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000544465.45119.12
Department: Guest Editorial

Congress2018 Chairperson, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Executive, Community Health Network North Region, Indianapolis, Ind.

Don't ever be too busy to invest in yourself by making time for professional growth.

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I'm busy, how about you? Have you ever considered that being busy has become a competition to see who's the busiest? This may bring a smile to your face, but really, it's true!

No doubt there are many competing priorities for our money, attention, and most important, our time. Nurse leaders have chosen a profession where change isn't an option, but instead a constant reality. If we're honest with ourselves, part of what drew us to healthcare was that we'd never get bored because it's always changing. If nursing is to contribute to healthcare at the forefront and be full partners in providing the highest level of care to a complex patient population, we must take the time and the personal responsibility to prioritize our own continuous professional growth.

There are so many ways to continue to learn. Of course, formal education is one option. Gaining knowledge through the academic system and degree growth is an exceptional way to continue to learn. Whenever I take a formal class at a university, I find I learn so much not only from the readings and the professor, but also from my classmates.

Achieving certification in a nursing specialty isn't easy. I recently took the exam for nurse executive advanced certification. I studied and took practice exams for several months before the exam even though I've been a nurse leader for several years. I learned so much that I didn't know before, and this knowledge has made me a better leader.

Three years ago, our executive leadership team began a book club. A member of the group volunteers each week to lead a discussion of the assigned chapters. Before the book club started, I had marked on my calendar time on Friday afternoons to read professional books; however, the time was usually consumed with finishing up projects from the week and the reading was never completed. The book club discussions enrich the learning experience and achieve team building by helping each member better understand others' perspectives.

Reading journal articles is also a way to learn; again, plan for it. Just subscribing to the journal doesn't give you the information—you really have to read it. I leave my Nursing Management journal on my desk, front and center, until I have every article read. It's designed so one article can easily be read in that short 15 to 30 minutes between meetings when you know you don't have time to start a large project but want to make valuable use of the time. I hope your journals look as read, marked up, shared, and used as mine.

My commute to work is about 40 minutes each way. Listening to podcasts or audiobooks is a way to use this time wisely. Although I can't highlight while I'm driving, listening to professional information can help you prepare for the day and grow as a leader.

As chairperson of Nursing Management Congress2018, I would be remiss not to mention the value of attending a national conference. Getting away from the distractions of work and being totally absorbed in learning from top leaders from across the country who've tried new ideas and have proven success is invaluable. Nursing Management Congress speakers pride themselves on being approachable and available for questions from participants during the conference. You'll also learn from the person sitting beside you because networking opportunities are everywhere. Something else that I've come to appreciate so much in the last 10 years are the poster presentations. Posters are examples of successful solutions to common problems. I used research from a poster presentation a few years ago to justify a change in our nursing leadership's span of responsibility. How great is that?

Yes, we're all busy. Don't ever be too busy to invest in yourself by making time for professional growth.

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Congress2018 highlighted speaker

Five key elements that really move the needle on patient experience

Rick Evans, MA, Senior Vice President, Chief Experience Officer, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Health System, New York, N.Y.

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Improving the patient experience and the metrics associated with it, such as HCAHPS measures, can be among the hardest things to achieve for healthcare leaders. At this session, you'll learn the core elements of any truly successful effort to move the patient experience needle from a leader who's led successful and sustained efforts at some of the country's biggest academic medical centers, including NewYork-Presbyterian and Massachusetts General Hospital. The key elements of a successful patient experience improvement strategy are outlined, and participants can evaluate their current efforts and leave with the start of an action plan for their organization.

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