1. Section Editor(s): Guanci, Gen MEd, RN, CCRN, BC

Article Content

I always knew nurses could move heaven and earth. However, I did not expect to really feel the earth move as those who arrived on Wednesday for the National Nursing Staff Development Organization (NNSDO) convention in San Diego did. At approximately 4:58 PDT, Wednesday, July 7, 2010, San Diego experienced a magnitude 5.4 earthquake. Thankfully, no damage was done. That tremor just got participants "all shook up" for what was to be an outstanding convention.


Many individuals arrived early to participate in several of the 16 preconvention workshops. Workshop topics were varied and included ones on general professional development, technology, leadership, and research as well as the 2-day Certification Preparation Course led by former NNSDO President, Kari Schmidt.


Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, former ANA President, opened the Convention with an inspiring session entitled "Workplace Safety and Transformational Development: A Leadership Issue." From that point on, participants were engaged in high-caliber concurrent session presentations from nursing professional development (NPD) specialists from all around the country. Whether or not participants were new to NPD or seasoned, there were sessions for everyone. Like the preconvention workshops, the concurrent sessions were in a variety of tracks, including general staff development, advanced staff development, technology, leadership, research, and preceptor/recruitment/retention. Whether you wanted to learn about the innovation in orientation/on boarding, the latest in evidence-based practice in NPD, or how to assist managers in differentiating between a performance issue and a knowledge deficit, the choices were many.


First time attendees were heard to say how wonderful it was to be in the presence of so many other educators who shared common goals as well as challenges. Seasoned convention attendees commented on the high-caliber sessions offered this year. Many attendees stated there were so many wonderful choices it was hard to choose, so they purchased the session's MP3 CD-ROM. If you were unable to attend this year's convention or were not able to attend all the sessions that interested you, it is not too late to purchase your copy (go to


One of the highlights of the annual convention is the awards presentation. This year's recipients are all outstanding. It is only fitting that they be recognized again in the journal.



Carol Kridler, MSN, RN, CCRN, Critical Care Staff Development Instructor, Summa Health System, Akron, Ohio.


Carol was instrumental in documenting the advantages of using the American Association of Critical Care Nurses' online Essentials of Critical Care Orientation program for use by the Summa Health System. She expanded the accessibility and availability of the Essentials of Critical Care Orientation to computers for learners in addition to augmenting online learning via simulations and working with staff to develop the program months in advance to ensure its effectiveness. Carol led a promotion of the efficient use of resources in the facility by documenting the productivity of nurses going through the orientation process, by saving money on new hire resources through moving to a computer-based program, and by improving the methods of record keeping, resulting in a more efficient use of electronic storage available and the greater portability and sharing of educational records data.



Linda Misko, MSN, RN-BC, Manager of the Education Department for Florida Hospital Ormond Memorial, a two-hospital system in Ormond Beach, Florida.


In her role as Manager of Education, Linda has remained actively involved in the Safety, Quality Improvement, and Joint Commission committees, among others. She is in charge of the Clinical Services Policy Manual and is responsible for overseeing annual policy reviews. She is the cochair of the Foundation for Nursing Excellence, the president of the Central Florida Health Educators group, is active in her community, and has led fund-raising events for the benefit of staff nurse education, which have resulted in more than $100,000 raised. Linda has been instrumental in the implementation of an online learning management system, the transition of records to an electronic format, the regular evaluation and updating of recurring programs, and the provision of guidance, resources, and knowledge for the professional growth of others. Linda has presented at numerous conferences and authored a chapter in the Core Curriculum for Nursing Staff Development's third edition. Her department's educational efforts have resulted in the successful achievement of the Joint Commission accreditation, the move to a new facility, and the specialty disease certification.



Elizabeth O'Grady, MEd, BSN, RN, Regional Manager of Education and Staff Development for two hospitals within a six-hospital system in Wadsworth, Ohio.


When Elizabeth O'Grady found that the hospital where she had been working for 22 years was going to be acquired by a much larger hospital system, she was faced with a number of uncertainties not limited to that of her job security. However, Elizabeth chose to embrace the change and focus on the positive aspects of the integration and was instrumental in facilitating a sense of collaboration and fostering team building. Her encouragement of an attitude of unity, along with her suggestions for streamlining common processes, set the tone for a regional rather than a territorial approach to providing services. Eventually, Elizabeth assumed interim management of one of the competitor hospitals acquired by the health system, and her work in facilitating a sense of team effort resulted in the facilities' officially becoming one regional team. Elizabeth was selected for the role of managing education and staff development at both hospitals and has since facilitated the implementation of a Web-based Learning Management System and submitted a successful proposal for the development of a Service Excellence Steering Committee. She continues to focus on integrating education, service excellence, and leadership development efforts within her region.



Ellen Cowan, MSN, RN, ONC, Assistant Director of Staff Professional Development and Clinical Education, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.


As an assistant director of Staff Professional Development and Clinical Education, Ellen Cowan has been key in advancing the specialty practice of staff development in health care by identifying the roles of education within the medical center while working to define the interface between centralized and noncentralized educators and blending the needs of two community hospitals with a major academic medical center. She is also remarkable for her excellence as a mentor and a coach, guiding best practices in program development and education, for her use of creative approaches incorporating educational principles of adult learning, and for taking an active role in teaching preceptors and charge nurses. She collaborated with the Department of Surgery to bring a simulation laboratory to the university and led innovative idea building to facilitate a blended learning approach and critical thinking in learners. She has been called a visionary by her colleagues, who note especially her fostering of growth in others. She has led the way in developing effective programs. When she was charged with the development of the first Hospital Education Council, she collaborated with stakeholders to gain their credibility and support and continues to facilitate the growth of the council while successfully promoting ongoing staff education.



Palaka Patel, MSN, RN, Senior Educator in the Nursing Staff Education and Development Department, Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


In her role, Palaka has consistently performed with dedication and enthusiasm and is strongly motivated toward giving back to the organization that mentored her. Palaka was instrumental in revamping the RN Residency program to better meet the needs of new nurses: She expanded the program, promoted professional development, influenced nursing assessment skills and care, and recognized the importance of critical thinking for effective clinical decision making. As a result, turnover was decreased from 28% in 2007 to 5.3% in 2008. Further, Palaka's mentoring, support, and teaching methods in evidence-based practice have increased compliance for evidence-based practice projects from 20% in July 2008 to 100% for January, April, and August 2009. Palaka implemented a Nursing Journal Club and an online knowledge-sharing system. She served as chair of the facility's Pillars of Professionalism Committee, has served as a leader in her community, consistently goes above and beyond as a mentor, and worked hard to assist in leading the facility to Magnet status.



Paula Thrasher, MSN, RNC-OB, BC, CNS, Instructor, Staff Development and Nursing Research, Akron General Medical Center, Ohio.


Not only is Paula an instructor in the Staff Development and Nursing Research Department, she also cochairs the Nursing Research Council and is actively involved in research activities with various organizations within the community. She has supported the integration of research into practice by work in investigating, planning, and implementing a nursing research/evidence-based practice process in the organization, which included formulating a three-tiered educational plan, partnering with a local university to provide support to students, and developing a "PICO to Policy" education series. To foster staff members' knowledge and skill in the research process, Paula established Nursing Research workshops, which provide contact hours, and established a nursing research newsletter, which is published and distributed throughout the organization. She fosters the use of systematic evaluative research with regard to clinical, educational, and managerial data by working collaboratively with the Department of Quality Improvement and the Advanced Practice Nurse group to determine the appropriate use of collected data, the identification of clinical and educational issues, and the establishment of plans for continued investigation and staff education.



The Belinda E. Puetz Award is the highest award given by NNSDO and is given in recognition of overall excellence in staff development. The 2010 recipient of this award was Dora Bradley, PhD, RN-BC, Vice President of Nursing Professional Development, Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, Texas.


Dora Bradley has made innumerable contributions to patient care and NPD, including the establishment of a nursing advancement program for the Baylor healthcare system whose goal is to increase involvement of bedside nurses at multiple levels, assisting to develop a professional nursing practice model that focuses on pairing nurse competencies with patient needs to promote patient safety, and facilitating a cohesive education team within the entire healthcare system, which has resulted in energizing educators and creating a more consistent, cost-effective, and productive orientation process. Dora has also been instrumental in encouraging innovation and organized a multidisciplinary team for seeking out and promoting innovative teaching practices. As a result, the team uses a newly upgraded Web site as a repository for innovative and evidence-based teaching strategies that are accessible to all educators within the healthcare system. Dora continues to grow her team of nurse educators and professional development specialists yet, with all of her responsibilities, continues to value focus on the individual. Dora just completed a term on the NNSDO Board of Directors and played a significant role in developing the updated ANA/NNSDO Nursing Professional Development Standards.


Although memories of the 2010 NNSDO Convention may be fading, goals for attending next year's convention are developing. May you all have a wonderful and prosperous year, and we will hope to see you in Chicago.