1. Setter, Robyn MSN, RN, NPD-BC

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Area of expertise: leadership

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I am currently an Education Specialist for the Nursing Practice, Research and Professional Development Department at The University of Kansas Health System. I have 20 years of experience in this role and 20 years of pediatric clinical experience. I started the Nurse Residency Program for the health system in 2003 and have coordinated the program since its inception. I am an active member of the Association for Nursing in Professional Development (ANPD) at the national level and was a founding member of the Heartland of America Affiliate for ANPD. I am a current member of the Sigma Honor Society-Delta Chapter.




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



I am very lucky to have had so many opportunities open for me during my career. I picture it like a stone dropped into the water. The stone sinks, but the ripple begins to move across the water. My first ripple was being a nurse manager of a pediatric unit-an opportunity that taught me how to help a group of strong individuals become a stronger team. Although I was determined to meet all the challenges the team threw at me, I admit that I failed more than once. The experience was eye opening to say the least, and it helped me realize that I needed to formally continue my education. The second ripple occurred after receiving my MSN, when I became a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatrics. This role provided me with opportunities to not only educate patients and families but also help nurses focus on continual learning and development. Later, after 20 years of working at the bedside in one capacity or another, I transferred to the hospital's staff development department to provide additional support for the maternal/child division. This third ripple was much larger than the first two, and the new role that came with it challenged me professionally in a new way. During my education, I had not focused on the process of evaluating and addressing staff education and processional development needs. Luckily, I learned so much on the job in the first year. Planning and implementing presentations were something I was comfortable with, but assessing needs and evaluating outcomes were new to me. The ripples almost ended there, but I had awesome mentors who encouraged me (and still do) and shared their vision for me. The ripples continued, and I became the first in our department to become board certified in nursing professional development (NPD). I was a founding member of the Heart of America Affiliate for ANPD (at the time National Nursing Staff Development Organization), and the affiliate still has a large membership. Since the inception of the affiliate, I have served in multiple leadership roles. I served as Sigma Delta Chapter President from 2014 to 2016. I was on the 2018 and 2019 planning committee for the ANPD annual conference. The latest ripple occurred in 2020 when I was elected to the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education Board of Commissioners. In addition to these individual developments, there was one additional milestone I did not see coming: providing my daughters the opportunity to see nursing as an amazing profession. I am proud to report that, as of this year, both daughters have received their BSN and have started their own nursing careers.


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



The specialty has grown dramatically over the last 40 years. When I started, the focus was primarily on orientation and providing inservices to the staff nurses. Continuing education hours were offered by the School of Nursing but were not offered through the department. Many times, staff development was the first area subject to employee cuts when there were budget issues. Additional functions, such as competency assessments and new product roll outs, were added along the way. The NPD role became clearer with the publication of the NPD scope and standards in 2010 and the revision in 2016. NPD is now thriving and involved in many facets of learning and development for nurses and includes a strong interprofessional component. Today, NPD practitioners are involved in assessing the healthcare environment for learning/practice needs and following through to completion and evaluation of the process.


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



As NPD practitioners, we need to focus on various issues that have come to light since the pandemic started. Newly licensed nurses are entering the workforce after experiencing significant interruptions during nursing school, including decreased or no clinical hours, minimal in-person classroom interactions, and limited ability to ask and receive feedback from faculty. These nurses will be challenged during their transition to practice not only to learn technical skills but also to communicate effectively with patients, families, and the healthcare team. The pandemic also brought light to the demanding work nurses are challenged with every day and the sacrifices nurses made no matter the area where they worked. NPD should also take the lead in providing resiliency training and discussions regarding mental health for all nurses and nurse leaders. Furthermore, I believe that there continues to be a significant gap in nurses' understanding of equity in health care. We have an obligation to help nurses learn about the disparities occurring in our communities. We need to teach nurses to use their individual and collective voices to speak up regarding these healthcare injustices. Nurses play a pivotal role in providing care at the bedside, in patient's homes, and in their communities where their voice can be heard and acted upon. Finally, NPD should continue to provide education so the LBGTQ+ community can also receive the same compassionate and appropriate care they need and deserve.


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



Many organizations learned the value of NPD during the pandemic. NPD practitioners continued to provide much needed orientation for new staff so new employees could begin working immediately. NPD helped with education needed for all staff regarding care for COVID-19 patients. As practitioners, we were called to help on the front lines or to help develop tools that were used with patients/staff and the communities we serve. Healthcare organizations will continue to lean on the NPD specialty to help identify best practices through research. Practitioners will also be important role models for the implementation of evidenced-based practice changes within the organization. The patient population is becoming more complex, and resources are needed to provide adequate tools for staff to continue caring for these future patients and not forgetting to take care of themselves.


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



As NPD practitioners, you will find the role is much different from any you have had previously. This role is complex and includes many components. It will be important to ask to help and to ask for help. Asking to help will provide you with hands-on experiences and the opportunity to learn from other NPD practitioners. It will be important for you to find mentors who can help guide you and provide answers to your questions. You should become involved with the national and local affiliates of ANPD. This will provide you access to educational materials, continuing education classes, and the opportunity to network with others in your area and with national experts. Finally, remember to give yourself grace. This role is challenging, exciting, and ever-changing. What may work today may not work next week or next year. You will learn to adapt and grow, and the next ripple will occur.