1. Schmidt, Kari L. MS, RN-BC, ACC

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As you are reading this editorial, fall is in full swing and summer is a pleasant memory. Our time is filled with family school activities, fall sports, and end-of-year holiday planning. The days seem to fly by.


Educators frequently shared with me that, "I have no time." This comment often refers to a lack of time to stay current both clinically and in our nursing professional development specialty. This is certainly the reality of our professional and personal lives. Yet, intellectually, we are committed to enhancing patient outcomes through evidence-based practice; therefore, we must stay current.


The question then becomes "How?" How can we meet our daily obligations and find time to intellectually challenge ourselves and enhance our practice? How can we fast-track analyzing and integrating best practices into our practice? I suggest a two-fold approach: technology and collaboration.


Technology puts a world of information at our finger tips-literally. The key is to access valid, reliable, and relevant information. Signing up for electronic updates from professional organizations, accessing white papers on hot topics from academic and professional sites, and reading summaries of literature prior to a comprehensive review can assist us on this journey. This last tip is an area where your healthcare librarian can provide valuable assistance. There are subscription services that provide book summaries. Most of us can find time to read a 6- to 10-page book summary, while a 300-page book is added to our reading stack. I highly encourage us to read the summary of what your senior leadership is reading. For example, when a specific leadership article is mentioned by a nurse executive in a nursing leadership meeting, read the article and reference in future nursing leadership meetings as appropriate. Technology also allows us to share our finds with colleagues via e-mail, intranet, online journals clubs, or cloud-based software programs.


Second, we can stay current through collaboration. If you attended the Association for Nursing Professional Development convention in July, you were most likely inspired and filled with creative ideas to implement in your organization. Then our busy schedules become the priority when we are back at work. What are the two or three key ideas that resonated with you at a recent conference or from a professional Web site? How can you implement those ideas in the next month? Can you take 5 minutes at an upcoming educator or leadership meeting to share relevant research findings? Some educators have added this idea of sharing as a standing agenda item for their education meetings. Is there a graduate student that can assist in reviewing and analyzing research for you? Can you schedule 20 minutes each week to review new research in nursing professional development and in leadership?


It is more than staying current. We grow as professionals and in our specialty as we read, analyze, and implement best practices. And we will be energized as we innovate our practice.