Creating Bridges and Embracing Opportunities


©2015 Photograph by Rand Schmidt, used with permission. 

"What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude towards it. Every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity." —J. Sidlow Baxter

As I stop and reflect on 2016, I take pause. What an incredible year for our nursing professional development (NPD) specialty! I am truly in awe of the impact of ANPD and our members—the impact on nurses, patients and families.  We have embraced the opportunities unique to NPD. Dr. Susan Bindon challenged us in her closing address at the 2016 ANPD convention, “Building Bridges: One Question at a Time.” I reflect on continuing to meet that challenge and create bridges and embrace opportunities.

Through the leadership of Drs. Mary Harper and Patsy Maloney, our Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice, 3rd edition was published in July 2016. The Scope and Standards is the result of four task forces, evaluating the evidence that impacts our practice and guides us for the future. Input from ANPD members provided valuable feedback as the Scope and Standards were finalized. Significant changes to the Scope and Standards were featured in the opening session at the ANPD 2016 Annual Convention. Those of us who attended that session were also energized by the comments and call to action as Persephone Munnings of Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas, and the University of The Bahamas, spoke during the comments portion of the session. Drs. Harper and Maloney shared insights and examples of practical application in the Scope and Standards of Practice column in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, beginning with the May/June 2016 issue. If you have not yet had the opportunity to read this column, I very much encourage you to do so—these are our standards.

I have the honor of facilitating some of our ANPD Certification Preparation Courses across the country. I met so many inspiring NPD practitioners last year, who approach their practice with enthusiasm and passion. I was humbled to see how course participants shared examples of how they apply evidence-based practice, and how they brainstormed ideas to help and support other participants—new colleagues they had just met, but would now have in their networks.

As Co-Editor with Dr. Susan Bindon for the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, we see the research our NPD colleagues are conducting—literally across the globe. The 2-part series on return on investment for NPD has become core to planning for many of our NPD colleagues. This series was published in the May/June and July/August 2016 issues of the Journal. Dr. Bindon and I also have the opportunity to mentor new authors, and see their competence and confidence grow as they are actively engaged in the publishing process for the first time. Their enthusiasm energizes me.

The spirit of inquiry and collegiality at the 2016 convention, Aspire to Inspire, was amazing. In Pittsburgh, the city of bridges, I could see bridges being built in new professional relationships throughout convention. I attended the concurrent session featuring the panel of some of the authors for the ANPD text Leadership in Nursing Professional Development: An Organizational and System Focus. Again, I took pause at the wealth of expertise of the panel members. We truly were aspiring to inspire at convention.

As a charter member of ANPD, I am proud and humbled to be part of our NPD specialty and our organization. We continue to grow as a specialty—nurturing each other and advocating for our specialty. We will take that energy and expertise into 2017, and the 2017 ANPD Annual Convention as we Aspire to Transform. We will continue to create bridges and embrace opportunities.


Harper, M.G. & Maloney, P. (2016) Nursing professional development: Scope & standards of
     practice, 3rd Ed. 
Chicago: Association for Nursing Professional Development.

Opperman, C., Liebig, D., Bowling J., Johnson C.S. & Harper, M. (2016). Measuring return
     on investment for professional development activities: A review of evidence. Journal for
     Nursing Professional Development, 32
(3), 122-129.

Opperman, C., Liebig, D., Bowling J., Johnson C.S. & Harper, M. (2016). Measuring return
     on investment for professional development activities:  Implications for practice. Journal
     for Nursing Professional Development, 32
(4), 176-184.

Smith C.M. & Harper, M.G. (2016). Leadership in nursing professional development: An
     organizational and system focus
. Chicago: Association for Nursing Professional

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