1. Guinan, Kaylie MSN, RN, NPD-BC

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Area of expertise: Leadership

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Kaylie Guinan is the nursing professional development specialist (NPDS) manager at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. Guinan leads a team of 45 NPDS's who provide support for a large academic medical center, a community hospital, and more than 50 ambulatory clinics. She has 10 years of experience in nursing professional development (NPD) and an additional 13 years of experience in the practice area of cardiology. Guinan's areas of expertise include transition to practice and care of self. She is certified in NPD-BC, has a master's of science in nursing with education focus, and is the founder of the Nebraska Affiliate of the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD).




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



The professional milestones that I consider significant are all individual bricks in a long and winding road that have evolved as I, a nurse and a nurse educator, have evolved. I truly believe that every experience shapes us into who we are one brick at a time. What I considered milestones in my early career now appear as small steps. Novice milestones included the ability to care for a full patient assignment while having a big picture perspective, becoming a preceptor for students and new nurses, or being trained to care for patients with new and innovative technology, like left ventricular assist devices. Milestones during mid-clinical years included having the courage to step out of my comfort zone and move to a new unit, becoming a team leader and being able to balance patient and staff needs on a fast-paced floor, and becoming certified reinforcing that I was a clinical expert. These experiences led to having the humility to be a novice NPDS when it was so comfortable being an expert cardiac nurse. A significant milestone to me that I remember so clearly was teaching that first ECG class with a shaky voice but absolute certainty this was what I was meant to do with my career. More recent milestones included going back to school for a master's of science in nursing, achieving certification in NPD-BC, restructuring the NPDS model at my organization, co-creating an NPDS fellowship based on the novice to expert model, making the choice to attend a convention and presenting with an amazing group of leaders a year later, and starting the Nebraska Affiliate of ANPD. One other milestone I am proud of is that before, during, and after every milestone, I have successfully balanced a career and family, with my family knowing they are the priority.


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



NPD has been around since the beginning of nursing-one nurse teaching another what one knows so they can safely practice. Of course, this has evolved over time into formal programs and areas of study. If I had to pick one word for the evolution of NPD in my career, it would be definition. We now define the specialty practice area of NPD and use those defined words, concepts, and models across the specialty to establish alignment. When a common group speaks the same language, advances can be made by leaps and bounds. Those leaps and bounds become best practice, research, scope and standards, certification, and organizations that unite. Over the course of my career, my practice too has evolved from completing the tasks and serving in the identified roles of a professional development specialist to having a solid understanding of the defining words, concepts, and models.


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



I want NPDS's to be able to provide the highest level of support to nursing and nursing support staff. Of course, we do not live in silos and need to be able to function in an interdisciplinary collaborative practice environment. However, I think there is a gap in not having professional development specialists in disciples outside nursing. Nursing is the largest body in health care, and we are often a strong force paving the way. These roles may exist, but not nearly at the level or involvement as nursing. NPDS have a guiding organization (ANPD), nurses have common structures (shared governance) and leaders (CNO). I believe there would be value in having non-nursing professional development specialists at the planning table. This would allow for more interprofessional collaboration to design educational programs that reflect team practice. This would ensure expert knowledge of scope of practice for each discipline to enhance understanding and clarify expectations for all members of the care team. NPD could address this by demonstrating the value of having these experts available at a discipline level. NPDS can advocate at an organizational level for the professional development and model effectiveness and value of the role.


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



The biggest gap that I feel locally and nationally is value in professional development. I know from my own experience and stories I hear when connecting with peers that NPDS are the first ones called on in a crisis and the last ones to receive budgeted funding. It also seems that we often have to advocate for the basics such as space, educational materials, colleague education time, or positions. Should the value of NPDS work be widely accepted, the profession would be in a better place as we come into the largest nursing shortage, with very mobile nurses, in an ever-expanding continuum of care. I am hopeful that the NPDS value will be made clear the more work that we individually and collectively complete and publish on return on investment.


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



Go for it! Some of my best and most innovative work was accomplished before I knew "the usual" way to educate on a given topic. The value of fresh eyes and no boundaries is amazing. In the reality of the daily grind with more work than time, it is easy to lose that perspective and recycle or update the previous version.


Pave your own path. Say yes to opportunities, try something new, and celebrate your milestones. Everyone is creating their own roads, and they can lead wherever one chooses. Be flexible and open to opportunities; we all know that the best laid plans may need to be changed in a snap, and this gives you the opportunity to innovate.


Connect. I have learned more and gain so much energy from simple conversations with colleagues across the country just by asking "How do you[horizontal ellipsis]?" There is a collective wisdom parallel to none among the NPDS group. Connecting with others also adds more bricks to the ANPD long and winding road, which propels our specialty practice area a step further.


Gain expertise. Hone your knowledge over time and never stop learning. This can be through formal programs or informal work independently. The saying that "every day is a school day" is especially true in this specialty practice area, as we facilitate it for others as well as ourselves. As my level of expertise has grown, I have been challenging myself to fill in the gaps, not just focusing on areas I know and enjoy, but expanding my knowledge to embrace and prepare for all key roles of the future. I am confident that looking back in a few years will show these efforts to be another brick in the path.