1. Pakieser-Reed, Katherine PhD, RN

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Katherine Pakieser-Reed, PhD, RN, is the Executive Director for the Center for Nursing Professional Practice and Research at the University of Chicago Medicine. The center is responsible for leading nursing related to education and training, research and evidence-based practice, quality, Magnet, and selected clinical and patient education services. The center supports the professional practice for 2,200 nurses and 500 support personnel. Dr. Pakieser-Reed has 25 years of experience in nursing professional development. Dr. Pakieser-Reed is the author of A Daybook for Nurse Educators and Night-Shift Nursing: A Savvy Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle. She holds five degrees: Bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Nursing, Master's degrees in Social Sciences and Nursing with a focus on education, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.


1. What are the significant professional milestones in your career journey?



KPR: Sometimes the most significant milestones for your career occur and you don't even know it until you look back in time. Here are two examples of milestones that continue to make a difference in my professional role every day.


After I graduated with my degree in journalism, I served in Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), which is now part of AmeriCorps. My placement was in Cleveland, Ohio, and I worked with two free clinics within impoverished communities with the goal of improving access to health care. Two recommendations that we, the volunteers, received were to (1) learn from the community for the first 6 weeks-we could ask questions but not express opinions-and (2) conduct our projects "with" the community and not "to" or "for" them. These tips have served me well in professional development. Actively listening to my staff and then collaborating with them to develop effective education results in highly effective programs that reflect their input.


Within nursing, my most important milestone was earning my PhD. Luther Christman, PhD, RN, FAAN, was the Dean of Rush University's College of Nursing when I studied there for my bachelor's degree. He impressed upon all of us the need for nurses to create knowledge and that the pathway was the PhD in Nursing. I finally earned my PhD 10 years ago. Every day I have the privilege of facilitating and incorporating research and evidence into the professional practices of our nurses and support staff.


2. How have you seen the specialty of nursing professional development (NPD) grow/evolve/change during your career?



KPR: I think back to my start in NPD when training was primarily conducted in person. "Distance learning" consisted of mail order courses. Back then, the fax machine was considered a revolutionary communication device! Today, with access 24/7 to instant education, the learner has changed from being dependent on scheduled classes to being in control of just-in-time learning. I marvel at all the educational developments that support efficient orientation, competency assessment, and interactive education.


A welcomed evolution is the growing role of the NPD professional. In addition to providing education and training, we're involved in quality improvement, research and evidence-based practice, and we're increasingly involved in interdisciplinary partnerships. Our roles will continue to evolve, and it's a joy to foster the ongoing development of NPD.


3. What do you see as significant trends or gaps in NPD practice, from your perspective as an expert in professional development?



KPR: We work and live in an interconnected world, and our NPD practice needs to reflect that. We need to be more inclusive and incorporate patients in our planning-so that we design nursing practice to also reflect our patients' wisdom, using the working "with" and not "for" philosophy. We need to move to an even stronger interdisciplinary approach because improving patient outcomes includes working with others and their specialties. Developing planning and interventions as an interdisciplinary team will strengthen the final outcomes. Finally, we need to ask how we are incorporating National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS Standards). As providers of NPD, we have the opportunity to role model how to bring alive these standards.


4. What insights can you share related to the value of NPD in healthcare organizations now and in the future?



KPR: Often our organizations intuitively understand that professional development makes a difference, but intuition or a positive feeling does not help in decisions for resources, especially financial decisions! It is critical that we demonstrate our impact in improving outcomes through objective measures and metrics.


And, we need to be clear about what is and what is not NPD. There is so much more to our roles than "educate, educate, educate!" I am excited about the newly revised Scope and Standards of Nursing Professional Development, which includes a new Nursing Professional Development Practice Model. This is a must read and a must implement for everyone in NPD; through this model and the standards, we can objectively demonstrate what we are responsible for and the difference that we make.


5. What advice do you have for NPD practitioners in the context of today's health care and learning environments?



KPR: Healthcare providers and organizations are under tremendous pressure to respond to advances in care, changes in regulatory requirements, revisions in reimbursements, and, most importantly, improvement in patient outcomes. Daily, we are faced with requests and demands to quickly improve nursing practice and the requests will all be top priority. It is important to take a breath and think through the requests. We need to assess if this fits within NPD responsibilities and then, if yes, decide what is the appropriate course of action and priority. We are the experts on professional development! We need to use our expertise to guide our organizations in how to best lead in advancing practice to achieve best patient outcomes.