1. Ventura, Valerie MSN/Ed, RN, NPD-BC

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Area of Expertise: Leadership, Nursing Professional Development, and Continuing Nursing Professional Development

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Background: Valerie is the Continuing Professional Development Learning Consultant in the Clinical Learning Department at Orlando Health. She is the Primary Nurse Planner for the Orlando Health Institute for Learning Approved Provider Unit. Valerie has 29 years of professional nursing experience, including 17 years in nursing professional development (NPD). Her passion is mentoring and inspiring NPD practitioners to exceed their own expectations and possibilities. She is an active member of the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD), has served as a member and Chair of the ANPD Convention Content Planning Committee, and was a participant of the 2018-2019 ANPD Leadership Academy. Valerie has published as a co-author in the Core Curriculum for Nursing Professional Development (Fifth Edition) and has presented nationally on concept mapping and nurse planner competence. She is board certified in NPD.




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


Nursing has been my lifelong passion, and when I secured that first full-time job as a nurse, I was overjoyed. I started my nursing career on the Medical-Surgical Unit of a once small 68-bed rural hospital. As the hospital expanded, so did my opportunities to learn and grow. I was provided the opportunity to become the Clinical Coordinator of the Same Day Services Unit where I developed my passion for NPD. Almost 10 years later, the new role of Unit-Based Educator was established. I was intrigued and excited as I began acquiring NPD knowledge to use in my daily practice. My next milestone was obtaining my master of science in nursing degree specializing in nursing education. Achieving this degree led to exciting career opportunities in NPD, all the while helping me set goals that would personally challenge and test me. Since moving into the corporate NPD position, my milestones have come at a quick pace. I completed my first formal national presentation, accepted the role of Primary Nurse Planner, co-authored the Learning chapter in the Core Curriculum for Nursing Professional Development (Fifth Edition), and transferred to my current position as Continuing Professional Development Learning Consultant. My most awe-inspired milestone to date was being appointed as the Chair of the Content Planning Committee for the 2021 ANPD Annual Convention. Every single one of these milestones have profoundly affected the way I relate to team members today and have given me the confidence to practice developing my leadership skills.


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



Many changes have taken place throughout my years as an NPD practitioner. There has been remarkable ANPD membership growth, NPD practitioners have incorporated the updated Nursing Professional Development Practice Model into our practice, and the competencies practiced by the NPD practitioner were differentiated into two levels: practitioner and specialist. My role as Continuing Professional Development Learning Consultant was established several years ago because the focus of continuing professional development was no longer just nursing but also incorporated interprofessional continuing education and collaboration. The one constant throughout all of the changes in NPD practice over the years is that NPD practitioners are essential to helping prepare "practitioners for current and future roles and helping individuals cope with an ever-changing healthcare environment" (Brunt & Morris, 2021, para. 10).


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



NPD has undergone dramatic changes since the pandemic began in early 2020. We have seen a massive increase in hiring, online training, nursing shortages leading to higher stress levels, increased workloads, increased usage of travel nurses, increased risk of personal illness, and so on. Now, more than ever, NPD practitioners play a critical role in supporting healthcare workers. We must continuously innovate and adapt as we orient newly hired team members and travel staff while continuing to provide advanced education to current team members. Use of various forms of technology has moved to the forefront of our practice, thus enabling NPD practitioners to provide distance learning whether at a scheduled time or just in time. NPD practitioners need to continuously seek out evidence-based resources to help us prepare and implement evidence-based strategies to promote a healthy work environment for all healthcare providers.


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



NPD practitioners are in the unique position to collaborate with key stakeholders using the educational design process to help assess organizational need(s) and practice gap(s), create and implement an outcome-based educational activity, and evaluate changes based on the desired outcome of the activity. We have the ability to proactively assure that our work corresponds with the focus of the organization's strategic imperatives and performance goal measures. Demonstrating our knowledge, along with providing explicit details indicating how our department's performance goals align with the strategic imperatives of the organization, helps us define our process toward positively impacting our organizations' overall performance goals.


Like all specialties, NPD is a specialized nursing practice that embodies unique knowledge, skill, and experience. It is prudent that NPD practitioners purposefully identify, select, develop, and mentor future NPD practitioners as a goal of succession planning. It takes strategy to identify and develop future NPD practitioners. This is not a quick and easy process and may generally require 12-36 months. Weiner stated, "succession planning in healthcare organizations correlates with improved patient satisfaction and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores" (as cited in Harper et al., 2020, p. 7).


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



Today's healthcare and learning environment is an ever-changing landscape. We need to continuously adapt and incorporate educational approaches to be relevant to new generations of learners. NPD practitioners must utilize internal and external environmental scanning as an integral part of our strategic planning. This enables us to respond quickly to evolving system and/or staff professional practice gaps and learning needs. Now, more than ever, NPD practitioners should continually examine our learner engagement strategies to assure we are utilizing current and innovative digital tools in the classroom experience. These tools afford the learner a more engaging, practical educational experience, empowering them to participate in their learning. It is essential for NPD practitioners to engage in their own ongoing professional development with the intention of continuing to expand and improve their professional nursing practice while facilitating accomplishment of academic and clinical career goals.




Brunt B. A., Morris M. M. (2021, September 28). Nursing professional development. StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.[Context Link]


Harper M., Kinlaw T., Kelter R., Buchanan J., Joyce P. (2020). In Harper M. (Ed.), Succession planning for nursing professional development practitioners: A quick reference guide. Association for Nursing Professional Development. [Context Link]