For Kari Schmidt MS, BSN, RN, NPDA-BC®, ACC, her career as a nursing professional development (NPD) practitioner has spanned several decades. As she retires, she reflects on her career in nursing professional development. Imbued with a passion for teaching, Schmidt began her journey as a homecare nurse, much of which involves teaching patients, or their family members, proper means of care.
“I eventually became a supervisor for home health aides and then moved full time into nursing professional development,” said Schmidt. “I initially worked with all levels of staff and transitioned into other clinical areas and, eventually, non-clinical roles.”
Schmidt’s role continued to expand into strategic planning and other executive functions. Not only a pioneer within the NPD specialty, Schmidt has been involved with the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD) since its inception. The Journal of Nursing Professional Development, which is in fact five years older than ANPD, published a call for interested NPD practitioners who were looking to join a budding organization.
“I, of course, answered the posting and became a charter member of the organization. I also was a member of the first board of directors,” said Schmidt. “I’ve served in a lot of different roles over the years. Patsy Maloney uses the phrase, ‘we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us’. I really believe that. I stand on the shoulders of the people who came before me—the people who had the vision, the courage, the insight, the fortitude to move forward with this new specialty organization.”
Reflecting fondly on the past 30+ years, Schmidt expressed that the stories about improved patient outcomes have become an immense reward and a great motivator for her work.
“Whether it's supporting other NPD practitioners, whether it's supporting leaders, whether it's supporting bedside staff, to hear their stories about how they’ve improved patient outcomes is what it's all about,” said Schmidt.
With innumerable career successes, Schmidt addressed a few of her fondest memories during her time as an NPD practitioner and as a member of ANPD.
“One is definitely leading the general session for ANPD’s annual convention,” said Schmidt. “Some others include my collaboration with Dr. Susan Bindon when we were co-editors of the Journal for Nursing Professional Development. I felt we were able to support and mentor authors and share in their excitement when they had their work published. Also, facilitating the certification prep course and serving as a mentor for the Leadership Academy stick out to me.”
Schmidt emphasized the important role ANPD has played in her journey as an NPD practitioner, citing the myriad of opportunities to fulfill her passion for teaching and to connect with other dedicated practitioners.
“I wholeheartedly believe in our specialty, and I believe in certification. The vision and the mission of ANPD has resonated with me all the way through my career,” said Schmidt. “I served two terms as vice president, I served a term as president, was section editor of the core curriculum for three editions, presented webinars, and have been a mentor in the Leadership Academy. I truly look at all of this as a way to give back, because there were people that helped and supported me earlier in my career.”
Schmidt is inspired by the new energy among NPD practitioners and feels confident in their ability to lead ANPD and advance the specialty.
“Bringing new people into different types of leadership roles and giving them the opportunity to share their expertise is the ultimate goal,” said Schmidt. “Not only is this a tight knit community, it's a brilliant community full of innovative thinkers.”
As Schmidt prepares for her next chapter, she aspires to continue to follow future successes of ANPD.
“It's time to pass the torch and to have some more of our creative, smart, innovative members, continue to move the organization forward and be involved,” said Schmidt. “I'll be on the sidelines, but I'll be continually reading and staying updated on ANPD, as well as our members and seeing the progress that we're making. I’m really looking forward to that.”