Transition to NPD Practice Fellowship Course

Mary G. Harper, PhD, RN-BC is the Director of Nursing Professional Development for ANPD. 

If your experience was like mine, your introduction to nursing professional development (NPD) occurred because you were a good clinician and were asked to share your knowledge with others. Chances are you were a preceptor and the “go-to” nurse for patient or equipment problems. You were probably the nurse who physicians requested when performing procedures at the bedside. Am I warm?

Aside from being a preceptor, I was formally recruited into the NPD specialty when we expanded telemetry monitoring to medical-surgical nursing units. I was drafted to be the unit-based “educator” to teach staff to interpret cardiac rhythm strips and treat abnormal rhythms. Before I knew it, I was teaching 2-day orientation to med-surg nursing courses in addition to cardiac rhythms and assessing staff nurse competencies. I was doing this thing called “nursing professional development,” and didn’t have a clue that I had entered into a new and exciting nursing specialty. I had never even heard of nursing professional development or even staff development as it was called back then.

And guess what kind of orientation I got? “Here’s your office.” Which, by the way, was formerly a closet!

So I got busy! Little did I know that I was “instinctively” functioning in not only the learning facilitator role, but I was also serving as a leader, change agent, mentor, champion for scientific inquiry, partner for practice transitions, and advocate for the specialty. I was responsible for orientation, competency management, education, role development, collaborative partnerships, and quality improvement. And I loved it! 

As I look back, I wonder how much smoother my transition to NPD practice might have been if I would have had a formal orientation. And, I wonder if staff might have benefitted from me being more confident in my new position.

I know my story is not unique. I’ve heard the same from countless colleagues across the nation. Fortunately, being thrust blindly into the NPD specialty is no longer necessary since ANPD introduced the Transition to NPD Practice Fellowship Course. It’s called a fellowship because according to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a fellowship is a transition program to help “experienced nurses master new clinical settings” (ANCC, n.d., para. 4).

Launched in February 2019, the Transition to NPD Practice Fellowship is an online, asynchronous, 13-module program that awards 5.8 contact hours. The fellowship, which is based on the seven roles and six responsibilities of the NPD practitioner as delineated in the Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice (Harper & Maloney, 2016), includes a workbook with practice-based exercises designed to help the novice NPD practitioner apply concepts learned in the modules. These exercises help new NPD practitioners learn more about their practice environments’ processes and policies. Each module is highly interactive, and one module even includes an escape-room type format!

The fellowship is available for individuals, or group pricing is available. Please click here for more information and to purchase the course.


American Nurses Credentialing Center. (n.d.). Practice transition accreditation program.  Retrieved from

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

1 Comment

Course problem

March 1, 2019 11:17 AM by Lisa Mathews

I am currently trying to do the post test on module 6 and on question 4 there are no answers just: A) answer 1, the B) answer 2 etc. and when I try to chose one just to move on it says that "you cannot select more than 0 answers".

I am enjoying the program but am stuck until this is cleared up. Any suggestions?

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