1. Chappell, Kathy B. PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN

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Dr. Chappell has over 25 years of nursing experience, including clinical practice as a direct care nurse in critical care and emergency nursing; hospital administration; project management for programs such as the Magnet Recognition Program, NDNQI, quality improvement, and shared governance; hospital system strategic planning for support of professional nursing practice including nursing clinical education, nursing student recruitment, and research; and director of an international credentialing program. Dr. Chappell also directs the Institute for Credentialing Research, analyzing individual and system outcomes related to credentialing. She is responsible for credentialing organizations that provide continuing nursing education and interprofessional continuing education, accreditation of courses validating nursing skills, and accreditation of residency and fellowship programs. Dr. Chappell received her baccalaureate in nursing with distinction from the University of Virginia, her master of science degree in advanced clinical nursing from George Mason University, and her doctorate in nursing from George Mason University. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow in the National Academies of Practice.


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



KC: My career journey was not one that I could have predicted when I first graduated from nursing school, though, in retrospect, each opportunity helped me to become the nurse that I am today. My first milestone was the opportunity to participate in a new graduate nurse fellowship program. The program launched my early career in ICU and trauma nursing. I spent many years working with an amazing team of nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers caring for some of the sickest patients in Washington, DC. My second milestone was working as a hospital supervisor in a large, tertiary care, Level 1 trauma center. I found that my clinical expertise was an invaluable asset in facilitating patient flow in a very busy healthcare system. The team skills that I developed while working in the ED and ICU were critical in effectively collaborating across the health professions, particularly when I was working off-shift and resources were less readily available. My third milestone was working as the director of nursing clinical development and research at the healthcare system level. One of my responsibilities was running a nurse externship program for nurses entering their third or fourth year of nursing school. I witnessed first-hand the difference that quality transition programs make to new nurses as I watched graduates from the program quickly become confident leaders in their own practice settings. My final milestone was the opportunity to lead the Accreditation and Research programs at the American Nurses Credentialing Center, where I have the privilege of impacting nursing at a global level. With an amazing staff and supported by a team of visionary volunteer leaders in our Commission and Board, we have been able to transform continuing nursing education, embrace interprofessional continuing education, and launch evidence-based standards for nurse residency and fellowship programs.


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



KC: I see the field of nursing professional development (NPD) continuing to evolve in response to the learning needs of nurses, healthcare teams, and the patients and families they serve. The skill set of an NPD practitioner is expanding. NPD practice is not about filling out forms or checking boxes. NPD practice is about designing high-quality continuing education across the healthcare continuum that positively impacts practice. It is about identifying and measuring the impact of that education on nursing practice and patient outcomes. It is about supporting nurses at all levels through transition. And, it is about engaging nurses and other healthcare professionals in lifelong learning.


3. What do you see as significant trends or gaps in NPD practice from your perspective as an expert in interprofessional continuing education?



KC: I see some NPD practitioners (generalists and specialists) who are embracing and thriving in a new model of healthcare education and healthcare delivery. They are innovative, creative, excited, and motivated. They are identifying their own learning needs, seeking out professional growth opportunities, and designing continuing education that is engaging and effective. I see some NPD practitioners who are watching carefully on the sidelines, not resisting but not fully embracing the new expectations for NPD practice. And I see some NPD practitioners who are actively resisting change. For a variety of reasons, they are unwilling or unable to change. They may be worried they will no longer be relevant to their employers. I hope, and am encouraged, that, as a profession, we will continue to better understand and demonstrate the value that we bring as members of the healthcare team.


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



KC: I see the field of NPD practice continuing to expand across a wide variety of practice settings including academic settings, in clinical practice across the health continuum, through specialty nursing organizations, within nontraditional healthcare settings, and within governmental or regulatory agencies. I know the value of education as a strategic asset in transforming nursing practice and healthcare outcomes. I look forward to NPD practitioners continuing to demonstrate their value, measure meaningful outcomes that result from their quality educational programs, and disseminate their work through publishing and presenting.


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



KC: I want NPD practitioners to understand their value, measure their contributions and worth, and stand up for themselves as important and equal partners on the healthcare team. I hope that NPD practitioners will continue their own professional lifelong learning journeys and seek out opportunities for growth, including pursuing advanced academic degrees and professional certification. And finally, I look forward to working with NPD practitioners who embrace change, are innovative, ask questions, and who are willing to share their expertise and mentor colleagues.