1. Smith, Beth A. MSN, RN, NPD-BC

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Bio: Ms. Beth A. Smith is the Corporate Director of Nursing Professional Development at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she works alongside an exceptional team of nurse executives and nursing professional development specialists to design, implement, and evaluate innovative programs across the health system. Ms. Smith has over a decade of experience in nursing education and professional development and has presented nationally and internationally on a variety of key topics related to transition to practice, academic partnerships, and career and professional development. She maintains board certification in Nursing Professional Development and serves as an appraiser for the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program(R).

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



I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow and develop with the support of many excellent nursing peers and mentors throughout my career. From my developmental years, I was taught to follow the wisdom of "to whom much is given, much is expected," which continues to inspire me to give back and has served me well in my nursing career. Some of the most memorable professional milestones include graduating with my master's degree, stepping into an NPDS role, and dually working as an adjunct clinical instructor to support both the prelicensure students and transition-to-practice nurses a little over a decade ago. That led to an opportunity to lead the nurse residency program at the hospital, become certified in NPD, and have the privilege to expand and integrate the residency program across the health system and achieve CCNE accreditation as a health system. In the last several years as an NPD director, some of the additional milestones include publishing and presenting at local and national conferences, and having the opportunity to co-lead a 3-day interprofessional symposium in Vietnam as part of a global health partnership with Penn and Vingroup to develop undergraduate and graduate medical and nursing training programs. In addition, I have served as a content expert in the development of the ANCC PTAP program and as a member on the ANPD Education Committee, and more recently, I became an appraiser for the ANCC Magnet Program(R).


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



While my perspective of NPD being a rewarding specialty has not changed over my career, it has been fascinating to watch and participate in the growth and evolution of nursing professional development over the last decade. NPD has increasingly assumed a systems lens across many fronts-from the context of expanding competency across the continuum of care, as well as increased scope of influence across interprofessional teams. The Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice (Harper & Maloney, 2016) serve as a guidepost that reflects the vast skill set and dynamic roles and settings where NPD practitioners contribute to improved patient and nursing workforce outcomes. With increases in access to data and new technology, along with evolving patient care complexity, NPD practitioners are positioned to uniquely respond to assess the need for changing competencies and design education interventions that can meet specific patient population needs or needs of the interprofessional care team.


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



The past 18 months have brought unprecedented changes in our healthcare environments, in our homes, and in our communities. I believe we have the capacity to respond to needs that address social determinants of health, health equity, antiracism, and social justice to improve patient outcomes and also increase diversity in the workforce. In addition, there is ongoing opportunity to improve the clinical learning environment for interprofessional learners. Evaluating and assessing the delivery of education through just-in-time learning in the clinical learning environment or via virtual or hybrid as well as the use of innovative teaching and learning strategies are important to consider. NPD can expect to boundary span to address competency and education needs for new, emerging nursing roles.


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



There is tremendous opportunity for NPD practitioners to continue advancing practice, learner, and workforce and professional development outcomes across expanding patient care settings. NPD contributions demonstrate value in optimizing consistency, creating efficiencies, and making a significant impact on engagement, retention, and satisfaction with access and opportunity for ongoing education and professional development. There is value embedded in many facets of the work, from building academic practice partnerships, expanding transition-to-practice programs, pipeline program development, enhancing orientation and competency programs, mentorship programs, and leadership role development.


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



As we can expect change to be constant, NPD practitioners should continue investing in their ongoing development, thereby serving as a role model to nurses and peers within their reach. It's crucial to recognize the connection between the contributions NPD practitioners make in their daily work to not just the learner and organizational outcomes but also their own professional satisfaction and growth.


Reflect on the aspects of the dynamic and often challenging work that bring you the most joy.


Recharge by taking time to refill your cup, especially when your plate is full! You deserve to invest the same in yourself as you do in serving others.


Remain adaptable and flexible-you may be faced often with ambiguity. You may not have the answers but can work together to design what is possible in alignment with your department and organizational goals.