1. Burke, Kathleen G. PhD, RN-BC, CENP, FAAN
  2. Chappell, Kathy PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN

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Area of expertise: continuing education, interprofessional education, credentialing


Dr. Kathy Chappell is the Senior Vice President of Accreditation, Certification, Measurement, and the Institute for Credentialing Research and Quality Management at the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is responsible for certification of individual registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses, and development of certification examinations. She is responsible for the accreditation of organizations that provide continuing nursing education and interprofessional continuing education and for accreditation of residency and fellowship programs for nurses. She also directs the Institute for Credentialing Research and Quality Management. She holds a baccalaureate in nursing with distinction from the University of Virginia, and a master of science in advanced clinical nursing and a 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: There are a number of professional milestones that impacted my career journey in nursing. In retrospect, some milestones might seem small, but at the time, they significantly impacted my personal and professional development. Starting with my "prenursing" career, I sought out practice settings where I had the opportunity to learn and grow. My first milestone was working in a local medical office. I did a variety of tasks including clerical, billing, and insurance, but quickly moved to administering EKGs and working in the small in-house laboratory where I drew blood specimens and ran simple lab tests. It was my first experience with patients, and I loved it! This work was a great foundation for my next milestone-working as a clinical tech in a large, urban Level 1 trauma center. In my role as a clinical tech, I did vital signs, drew blood and started IVs, transported patients for tests and to inpatient beds, autoclaved instruments, and stocked rooms. I absorbed any and all learning opportunities that I could find. I remember being fascinated by how quickly an ED nurse could determine whether a patient was truly sick and needed emergent care or whether she/he could wait to be seen. I learned to appreciate being a part of a collaborative team working under very demanding conditions. Once I graduated from nursing school, I was fortunate to reach my next milestone-being hired into a 6-month new graduate nurse ICU fellowship program during the time when "standard" orientation was 8-10 weeks. It was a luxury to be supported in a robust transition program when first entering the practice environment of an urban ICU. This experience affirmed my commitment to transition to practice programs for all new graduate nurses. My nursing career continued to advance as I searched for opportunities to learn and grow. I reached nursing leadership milestones at the unit, hospital, then system levels. I returned to school and completed educational milestones by earning my MSN, then PhD in nursing. In my current role, I am fortunate to have achieved professional milestones when I was inducted as a Fellow into the National Academies of Practice and the American Academy of Nursing. I think the common theme throughout my milestone achievements is a commitment to continuous learning, and one that has been fostered by leaders in education and practice throughout my career.


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



KC: The specialty of NPD has evolved from one of "infrastructure" to one of "leadership." NPD practitioners are not just the people who are responsible for orientation and inservices but are key leaders who are critical to organizational success. NPD practitioners understand how education is a strategic asset and how it can be leveraged to achieve strategic goals. NPD practitioners must be experts in analyzing data, summarizing trends, implementing solutions, and quantifying their contributions to drive change and achieve goals. The specialty of NPD has become more sophisticated and more complex, which will require NPD practitioners to continue to learn and grow also. NPD practitioners must also be comfortable leading both within and outside the profession of nursing.


3. From your perspective, what do you see as significant trends or gaps in nursing practice that nursing professional development could address?



KC: I think NPD practitioners are in a critical position to identify and quantify the contribution that nursing care has to patient outcomes. For too long, nursing care has been lumped into the overall cost of care. By identifying gaps in nursing practice, developing education to address those gaps and quantifying the impact of practice change on patient outcomes, NPD practitioners are in a unique position to measure nursing's contribution to overall patient outcomes.


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



KC: As healthcare organizations become increasingly challenged to deliver high-quality care more efficiently and effectively, NPD practitioners must demonstrate the value of investing in education to achieve those goals. NPD practitioners must continue to ensure that educational interventions are aligned with the organization's strategic goals, and NPD practitioners must be able to articulate and quantify that value. As healthcare organizations continue to expand/merge, NPD practitioners will need to work with diverse teams across multiple practice settings in large networks. Those who can demonstrate success will be well positioned for the future.


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



KC: NPD practitioners should seek out leadership positions within their organizations and practice settings, including leadership positions on interprofessional committees or teams. NPD practitioners must be prepared to demonstrate the value of organizational investment in education, be comfortable with the language of the Chief Financial Officer, and understand healthcare financing. The NPD practitioner should be comfortable saying that education may not be the best solution to a problem and help identify alternate solutions to achieve organizational goals. NPD practitioners must be problem-focused and solution-oriented. NPD practitioners can and should continue to model continuous learning and improvement throughout their professional career journeys.