ANPD’s nursing professional development (NPD) Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Academy began in 2019 to enhance the EBP competencies of NPD practitioners and enable them to fulfill their role as champions of scientific inquiry. Since then, 50 NPD practitioners have graduated, and 13 are participating in the current cohort.
Read on to learn more of the “why” behind the program and hear the benefits gained from two current academy participants — a mentor and mentee. Then, consider applying yourself as either a mentor or mentee for next year’s cohort — applications are due September 17.
Why the ANPD EBP Academy?
Standard 14 of the Nursing Professional Development Scope and Standards of Practice (2022) is “scholarly inquiry.” Competencies for NPD practitioners include acting as a champion for inquiry, generating the new knowledge and integrating best available evidence into practice, using evidence to guide practice decisions, aligning with organization, mission, vision, and strategic plan, participating in inquiry at various levels, and disseminating findings through evidence-based practice and quality improvement activities (Harper & Maloney, 2022).
Through the 12-month ANPD EBP Academy, NPD practitioners gain confidence and understanding of these competencies. Additionally, the academy addresses ideas, challenges, barriers, change management, and current trends applicable to NPD practitioners. Participants also build skills that enable them to mentor other health care professionals in implementing EBP practices — particularly helpful for NPD practitioners in roles that require leading other nurses in EBP, in addition to their own independent EBP work. During the academy, NPD leaders grow as evidence-based, decision-making role models who can collaborate with other leaders to develop structures, policies, and processes that use evidence in decision making (Harper & Price, 2022).
Mentorship: A Key Academy Component
One of the most impactful design components of the ANPD EBP Academy is mentorship. Mentorship is a supportive professional relationship sustained over time between a person of experience and one with less experience where feedback, guidance, and role modeling contribute to the mentee’s growth (Kusterbeck, 2019). Participants are matched with a mentor who is their guide, supporting them through the duration of the academy. Rachel Senefeld Kromer, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, NEA-BC (mentor), and Rebecca Garber, MSN, RNC-OB, NPD-BC (mentee), are a matched mentorship pair in the current 2022-2023 ANPD EBP Academy cohort. Read along through the interview below for their experience with this relationship and the ANPD EBP Academy.
Why did you join the ANPD EBP Academy?
Rebecca Garber (RG): Do the phrases “appraising literature” or “building a synthesis table” scare you? They frightened me! Who was I going to call? ANPD! The Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) academy helped conquer my inquiry fears. I am a clinical manager on the family beginnings unit at Eskenazi Health and a current participant in the 2022-2023 ANPD EBP Academy. I had the fantastic opportunity to have Rachel Kromer as my EBP mentor. She is the director of clinical education at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In the conversation below, Rachel and I share our perspectives from participating in the 2022-2023 ANPD EBP Academy.
Rachel Senefeld Kromer (RK): I became a mentor because I had a professor who helped me see EBP as an exercise in collegiality. Selfishly, I enjoy being right, and there’s no better way than to have synthesized the evidence.
When have you felt most proud since you’ve been in the ANPD EBP Academy?
RG: When I built my first synthesis table. Now that I’ve done it, there’s no going back. Whenever we bring in an initiative, we must appraise the literature and look at the outcomes and how they achieved those outcomes.
RK: A good synthesis table is a one-stop shop. Share it with your organization’s leaders to say, “This is what we need. This is what we have. Let’s fix the gap.”
When have you felt most frustrated during this program?
RG: When I started, I received pressure from other leaders to work faster. They felt the project might take too long, and I was fighting a culture of “stick band-aids on it.” It took courage to say, “Give me time to look at the evidence. We’ll have a better outcome if we evaluate the literature.”
RK: The band-aid approach is expensive because somebody produces an idea, launches it, and evaluates it — then realizes they need to do it differently. If we can break that cycle, taking the time we would spend brainstorming to do a lit review and synthesis table instead, we get the correct answer first instead of repeatedly chasing guesses.
What’s the value of this program in your daily NPD practice?
RG: It’s immeasurable. Every NPD practitioner should go through this program because it breaks down each piece of implementing a project from the very beginning. My co-managers understand, if we’re going to implement anything, Rebecca wants to do a synthesis table.
RK: Sometimes people say, “We’re doing EBP,” but they’re just finding an article that supports what they think. EBP means you are searching that whole body of literature and distilling it.
Nurse leaders stand up and say, “I’m not going to change practice unless you have a synthesis table.” There’s power in knowing the process is not about experts; it’s about the body of expertise.
RG: This has benefited our Journal Club. Physicians used to bring one article and want to change practice. EBP empowers nurses to say, “Let’s look at the literature before we change anything.” Our staff have a voice now.
RK: Early in your project, you said, “I’ve got this stack of articles, and I’ve got people pressuring me to have the answer.” I suggested, “Get them to read an article with you. Break it up into a Jigsaw Journal Club. You’re reading an article. They’re reading an article. You come together and plug your information into your synthesis table. You’re getting the answer faster, and you’re converting believers.” The core of collaborative practice change is having that team together.
What are you going to do next?
RG: This project revealed we don’t have a solid mentoring program in my organization. In my leadership development program, I had to quickly provide tools for mentors who had never received proper mentor training. I plan to use the EBP process again, from the inquiry through dissemination, creating an evidence-based mentoring program.
RK: EBP projects beget more EBP projects; mentoring generates more mentoring. Now you’ve been through this experience, you will be an excellent mentor to the next person who needs to do an EBP project. What brings me the most joy about this experience is your gratitude. We both love NPD and professional growth and want to support others. I can’t wait to see you present in Chicago at the 2024 ANPD Annual Convention!
Our experiences have involved overcoming project challenges, laughter, and growing together. We hope hearing about our journey will pique your interest in the ANPD EBP Academy! We encourage each NPD practitioner to consider applying to the ANPD EBP Academy to enhance their scientific inquiry.
Harper, M. G., & Maloney, P. (2022). Nursing professional development scope & standards of practice. (4th ed.). Association for Nursing Professional Development.
Harper, M. G., & Price, M. G. (2022). Nursing Professional Development Leadership in Practice. In Harper, M. G. (Ed.), Leadership in nursing professional development: An organization and system focus (2nd ed.). Association for Nursing Professional Development.
Kusterbeck, M. (2019). A concept analysis of mentorship [Poster presentation]. Sigma Theta Tau International 45th Biennial Convention, Washington, D.C., United States. https://sigma.nursingrepository.org/handle/10755/19060