Written by: Launette Woolforde, Vice President for Nursing Education and Professional Development, Northwell Health
Working within the Nursing Education field for many years I fully recognize and embrace that nursing, and nursing professional development, requires a commitment to lifelong learning. To be a nursing professional development specialist means to commit to lifelong learning – your own, and that of those around you. That commitment is so highly reflected in the caliber of nurses and nurse educators here at Northwell Health. Nurse educators are a cornerstone for organizations because they are key people who transform the organizations vision and goals into action. The tireless work that nurse educators do in developing staff at all levels, including the future generation, has an impact on patient care that, arguably, cannot be quantified. You cannot consider improvements in quality, professional practice, patient experience, achieving Magnet designation and more without considering the critical role that nursing education has played in these achievements.
I’m proud to say that the Northwell Health culture is one that supports nursing professional development – we practice what we preach. I myself can attest to the support that I received from my organization in furthering my education. Northwell Health provided full support for myself and approximately 75 other nurses who have either completed, or are in the process of completing, their DNP. It’s an honor to be part of a visionary organization that is leading, and exceeding as the IOM Future of Nursing report recommends to increase the number of doctoral prepared nurses to 80% BSN by 2020.
Our nurse educators remain the driving force around our onsite academic courses which support our culture of academic progression. Nursing Education leads robust orientation programs and processes for over 2,000 nurses and some 1,500 new nursing support staff each year. Our nursing professional development excellence is reflected among our 16,000+ nurses whose professional certification rate and BSN rate at many of our facilities continue to exceed the mean of Magnet facilities. None of this could be achieved without our exceptional Nursing Education team – and what I’ve named is just a drop in the bucket.
I want to use this opportunity to say to colleagues, near and far, “thank you for celebrating with us.” And to Nursing Professional Development Specialists at Northwell Health and beyond – Happy National Nursing Professional Development Week 2016!