Professional Development Plan1


Professional Development Plan

Kristen Ziolkowski

Ferris State University


The American Nurse’s Association has created a list of standards to adhere to within my practice. Enclosed is my interpretation of them and how they are integrated in my behavior as a nurse. You will also find professional goals and plans for achieving these. Throughout this professional development paper I will also describe my five and ten year goals as well as where I see myself currently.

Professional Development

The goals of professional development are described differently in every profession. As a nurse, the following is a framework to guide my future. In this profession you must work within your scope of practice and follow the standards set by the American Nurses Association. Professional development includes recognizing these standards, implementing the use of them and identifying your strengths and weaknesses. A plan of action can later be devised to facilitate growth and enhancement of your chosen profession. Setting clear goals allows you to establish a direction to follow for reaching these goals.

American Nurses Association

Quality of Practice

The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines quality of practice as “the registered nurse systematically enhances the quality and effectiveness of nursing practice”(American Nurses Association, 2003/2004, pp. 33-34). While described briefly in its definition the ANA goes into further detail in the measurement criteria. I see quality of practice as being the recognition that healthcare is an ever-changing system full of imperfections and the commitment “using the results of quality improvement activities to initiate changes in nursing practice, collecting data to monitor quality and effectiveness and analyzing organizational barrier” (American Nurses Association, pp. 33-34). Analyzing plays an important role in quality because it allows us to assess our own practices as well as those of the facility. It is here that we are able to find areas of improvement but also appreciate the things we have done and the patients we have met. On a personal level I feel my greatest quality is the ability to find the answer or resource. I consider myself a new nurse and there are still many things I don’t know or unsure of. The majority of these “things” are related to paperwork. Out of fear of doing something wrong I am always asking questions or reading to find the right answer. Being a new nurse is a strength and weakness. I’m new, eager and excited. My persona isn’t jaded by years of intense work and let downs. At the same time, there is still much I do not know or need to look up multiple times before I remember. At times I also find myself lacking confidence and am working to build this through education. The quality of my practice is greatly improved upon by weakness because I am able to recognize when I don’t know something and find the answer. At this point I know what I know and I know what I don’t know.


Education plays a vital role in nursing. Not only is it required but it is gate keeper for what we are licensed to do. Our choice of education allows us to be anything from a certified nurse’s assistant to a nurse practitioner. The ANA requires nurses to “attain knowledge and competency that reflects current nursing practice” (American Nurses Association, 2003/2004, pp. 35). All nurses are required to renew their license annually and meet competency requirements. This is one way the state analyzes our practice. Are we staying using current policies and procedures? Are we operating within the scope of our practice? Some forms of analyzing your career as an individual include assessing if you are “seeking experience that reflect current practice and acquiring knowledge and skills appropriate to your specialty area” (American Nurses Association, pp. 33-34). Related to education some of my strengths include having a Bachelor of Science degree and an associate degree in nursing. At this time I am also furthering my nursing degree by taking classes to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. At some point in time I do feel as though nurses may be required to have a Bachelor degree and hospitals require current nurses to obtain within a given amount of time. My main weakness is not taking school seriously enough to get everything out of it I can. This is my own fault and something I am trying to fix. I am realizing now there are areas I wish I would have paid closer attention in and am trying to learn things I should already know.

Professional Development

There has been some debate as to whether nursing is an occupation or a profession. I do believe it is a profession as it requires an education, has standards and is continually improving and being evaluated. Professional development includes “engaging in self-evaluation, participating in systematic peer review and capable of providing rationales for practice beliefs” (American Nurses Association, 2003/2004, pp. 36). Professional development is a series of self-evaluation and analyzing. It encompasses analyzing yourself and your practice and then evaluating whether to make a change. When analyzing yourself or the situation it important to consider current research and focus on areas that could be improved upon. My professional career is only beginning. It is my job to ensure I am working within the nursing scope of practice as well as following the ANA standards. Mystrengths include having two degrees, different yet both within healthcare. Other strengths include furthering my education, gaining practical experience through my work and enlisting the help of my fellow colleagues. It is through myself and their input I am able to improve upon my work. Being a professional also includes taking responsibility as an adult and being to work when scheduled. This is something I am good at. I do not call in and recognize that when at work I am there for others, not myself. Weaknesses include not utilizing all that there is to learn and putting it into my practice. Other weaknesses include lack of professional experience and confidence. Both of which can be improved upon and will get better through my studies and experience.


Collegiality is important in the nursing profession because it is a form of analysis as well as self-evaluation. It is through others that I am able to expand upon my studies and become the nurse I desire to be. When I first began my career I was immediately drawn towards certain people I felt did things how they were supposed to be done and were very successful at it. It was here that I was able to distinguish the type of nurse I wanted to be as well as gain the companionship of someone I could learn a lot from. The ANA describes collegiality as “the registered nurse interacting with and contributing to the professional development of peers and colleague” (American Nurses Association, 2003/2004, pp. 37). When enlisting the help of any colleague it is important to analyze the situation. I am finding that not everyone practices the way they are supposed to or have become a bit careless. Here it is important to analyze and see if this is the person I should be asking for help from. Also, I need to analyze myself and see what I know and what I don’t know. There isn’t always time for others to go on into a full discussion while on the floor so it’s important to be direct with what you are asking. Some strengths I have include being someone that can ask or be asked a question. I feel I help others as much as they help me. Some weaknesses include having the education but not always the practical experience. For example, I can tell someone all the supplies they need for a blood draw, the information they need to include and how to set it up. As for the draw itself, I cannot guarantee that I will be able to get a good return as I do not have a significant amount of experience. It is through collegiality that we as nurses are able to collaborate, share ideas, research and improve. It is vital to this profession.


Ethics are inevitable in this profession. This is one profession that ties matters of the heart, head and law into one. With so many different people, ethnicities and religions it is of great value to have an educated opinion related to ethics. The analysis of ethics can be best measured through the measurement criteria. This includes “serving as a patient advocate, maintaining confidentiality and following the Code of Ethics for Interpretive Statements” (American Nurses Association, 2003/2004, pp. 39). A good analysis tool here is to see if you are helping the patient to resolve ethical dilemmas. Due to the fact that ethical dilemmas usually require the help of many another good analysis tool is to bump ideas off of colleagues and enlist the help of your resources. My strengths include being able to locate my resources as well as dissolve situations. Anytime I have seen a conversation begin to brew, I try to ease some of the tension by directing the family or patient to someone that can help mediate or resolve the conflict. My weakness includes the ability to dissolve the situation myself. I can see myself as still being a little unsure of my assessment or education that I may tend to direct the situation elsewhere.


Research is imperative to the development of healthcare. The ANA states that “the registered nurse integrates research findings into practice” (American Nurses Association, 2003/2004, pp. 40). Analysis is important in research because it is used as an evaluation tool. Performing research includes conducting and critically analyzing your findings. This is an area where I find my weaknesses outweigh my strengths. I have not found the opportunity to perform research but do use others findings in my practice. The measurement criteria includes, collecting data and participating in a committee or program. These are also thing I have not yet found myself to be doing. As my career as only began, there is still plenty of time to get involved. My biggest strength here is using the research that has been performed to better the care of my patients and practice. I also attend regular in-services provided by my company to assure what my education is current with research.

Resource Utilization

Resource utilization is something I have found to be vital when taking care of patients. Resource utilization includes using safety, cost awareness and effectiveness in your practice. Benefits and availability are taken in account. Resource utilization is very important because for most patients cost and benefits determine their choice of treatment. A good analysis would consider if the RN assigns tasks, identifies services available and utilizes resources. As a nurse I have found that I need the help of others to provide quality care. This includes using the social worker, Director of Nursing and Case Manager. I speak with them about what I need or would like to see with a patient and then they try to make it happen. It takes collaboration and dedication to finding an option. Resource utilization is important for a number of reasons but the biggest being the impact on the care of the residents. A weakness of mine would be being unaware of all of my resources. The longer I am a nurse the more I will learn about other options and possibilities for patients.


In many facilities the registered nurse holds a degree than some others. As a result they are expected to provide leadership to fellow coworkers. Leadership is best analyzed by the measurement criteria listed by the ANA including, works to create a healthy working environment, teaches others to succeed and demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning. (American Nurses Association, 2003/2004, pp. 44). I have always thought the best example you could give it through yourself. Generally, when thinking of a leader I think of someone voicing for the group and being the person to ask all your questions to. This is true and false. Some strengths of mine as a leader include having a good work ethic, being knowledgeable and being able to delegate. A leader can be equally effective without being as authoritarian. Being a good leader is a quality I will learn throughout my career. In this field, a good leader is one with experience. I can be passive at times and this is a weakness of mine. This often leads to long hours with little appreciation. Being passive is something I am trying to extinguish. I have really felt strongly in the past few months that some people have taken advantage of my kindness and abused it. This has resulted in working every weekend, multiple weeks of overtime and a stressful work environment. I started to run a little low on patience and have since backed off and learned to say no. A good leader is a strong patient advocate and also stands up for themselves.

Five Year Goals

My five year goals are simple. For my education, I would like to finish the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through Ferris State University. I have devised a completion plan to facilitate and guide this adventure. Based on my completion plan, I will finish in May 2012. Professionally I would like to continue working within long term care and become a more confident, experienced nurse. The majority of my weaknesses are related to being ill experienced or having low confidence. I think that if I work a few more years and really divulge myself into learning and understanding nursing in the field I will be the nurse I aspire to be. I have no doubt that this is possible because I work very hard every day at work to assure I know my medications, labs and pathophysiology. The best form of measurement will be through my employee evaluations and by the ANA standards. This lets me how I am doing in the field and portrays how much of an asset I am to my company and coworkers. Also while reading through the book Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice I can follow the measurement criteria and see if I am fulfilling those standards. These standards are something I will use throughout my career as they are my guide and declare my scope of practice.

Ten Year Goals

Ten years seems so far away and yet I can guarantee ten years from now I’ll wonder where the time went. Professionally, I would like to be working at a hospital. Currently I am enjoying long term care but it is not what I wish to do forever. I do believe it is a good place to start, underestimated and has a lot of opportunities to offer. However, I would really enjoy working in an acute care setting. I do enjoy getting to know my residents and understand their disease process. Long term care seems to be underestimated. I work at Tendercare Gaylord and it could be categorized as step down med-surg. Other than working with the acutely ill I would like to work at a hospital for the possible employment opportunities. I hold a strong interest in seeing that patients are covered and that insurance companies are being charged appropriately. I would really like to get involved with quality assurance or risk management. While doing some research I found that there are online courses you can take a 120 hour course to qualify to take the licensure for risk management. What I would like to do now is talk to someone in this profession and gather some insight to see if it truly is something I would be interested in. In ten years I will know I have reached my goals by the satisfaction of my employment and education.


The future of my nursing career is still a little undecided. I have been busy in the present and have given little thought to the future. The last few years have been determined by what comes next versus what’s at the end. I do need to further develop my goals and determine a career pathway. The greatest difficulty is in finding what makes me happy and something I am capable of. I don’t think I have been in this profession long enough to truly know which direction I want to take. At the same I do know some of the steps I need to take to open more options. I hope that through my time at work and education I will be able to develop a more definitive plan. Until then, I am enjoying what I am doing.


American Nurses Association. (2004). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (2004 ed.).

Silver Spring, MD: (Original work published 2003)

Kearney-Nunnery, R. (2008). Advancing your career: Concepts of profession nursing (4th ed.).

Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company. (Original work published 1997)


DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF CURRENT BEHAVIORS (Using the ANA Standards of Professional Performance) / Percent
Quality of Practice: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Education: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Professional Practice Evaluation: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Collegiality: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Collaboration: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Ethics: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Research: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Resource Utilization: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
Leadership: Description and Analysis of Current Strengths & Weaknesses / 5
5 & 10 YEAR GOALS: Articulates clear professional goals for 5 and 10 years within the profession which reflect the weakness identified in the behavior analysis above and/or plan to maintain compliance with Standards. These must be specific and measurable! Refer to information on nursing care plans re writing clear & measurable goals to receive full credit for this section! / 5
ACTION PLAN for 5 & 10 year goals; to include actions and timelines that are consistent with the goal statements / 10
EVALUATION PLAN to measure attainment of, progress toward or continuing suitability of both 5 & 10 year goals. Again this must bespecific and measurable! A tool is useful for demonstrating how you will measure progress toward goals. DO NOT STATE for example “At the end of 5 years I will see if I have accomplished my goal to see if I was successful”. / 10
Critical Thinking/Writing: Analysis & Plan is presented and flows with accuracy, precision, clarity, relevance, depth, breadth, logic and personal significance. Sentence structure, paragraphing, headings, spelling, typing, grammar, punctuation & neatness / 15
APA: title page, running head, headers, abstract, margins, indentations, font, size, spacing, appendix, references: citations in text & reference page / 15
TOTAL / 100