Professional Development and Succession Planning: A Plan for Nursing Success

Professional Development and Succession Planning: A Plan for Nursing Success

At this year’s ANPD conference we attended a great seminar and wanted to share with you why partnering with CareerSmart Learning is such a valuable benefit to your organization. 

The presentation identified a practice gap in hospitals and other clinical healthcare institutions as it relates to professional development, and growth opportunities within those institutions and the profession of nursing itself. During the pandemic more than 100,000 nurses under the age of 35 left the profession. Projections are by 2027, 200,000 more nurses will leave the profession, and by 2030, 1.2 million will have left. 

It’s tempting to blame the pandemic for these dismal numbers, but the truth is it has more to do with chronic issues like burnout, staffing shortages, and value placed on work/life balance. However, the main reasons cited in surveys were feeling unable to provide highly competent care, lack of interest by leadership in professional development, and lack of support and resources, especially for minorities.

Read more: Beyond the Basics: Advancing Healthcare Through Continuous Education

Academic institutions and healthcare curriculum cannot keep up with the rapid changes in the clinical space. Therefore, new nurses feel overwhelmed when they begin their career. They typically work with a mentor their first year. By their second year, nurses are flying solo. By year three they’re feeling overwhelmed and leave the profession. This is a sad repercussion of the lack of value placed on professional development.

Accredited nursing professional development that is evidence-based and developed with a structured framework, will decrease burnout, increase retention and have a neutral, if not positive impact on the budget. Just think how much it costs an organization to market for staff, interview, orient, preceptor and mentor. The cost of accredited professional development is not nearly as much as this process when it occurs over and over.  

It’s time to stop the attrition! With so many new nurses leaving the profession within the first three years, organizations need to re-evaluate their dedication to continuing education and support. Collaborative partnerships with internal education and staff development professionals within the organization, academic partnerships with colleges and universities, and diverse external industry partners is the way forward. 

Providing continuing education courses is more than a great benefit. It tells your healthcare professionals you value them and want them to excel. Partner with CareerSmart Learning to provide customized training. Reach out to us today. 

Access to accredited education helps organizations retain staff. Accredited education is built upon credible evidence-based resources with a credible framework, and developed based on measurable goals which can be identified, quantified, and monitored. Courses are outcome-based and aligned with time and resources. 

Another way healthcare organizations can show their dedication to employee well-being and retention is proper succession planning. Losing institutional knowledge without plans to replace it can be a double blow for new nurses who depend on the guidance. Proper succession planning improves staff retention, ensures knowledge and skill transition, decreases costs, and increases patient satisfaction and healthcare outcomes. 

Succession planning also improves the quality of nurse managers and readiness to lead. Nurses are not trained to be managers or leaders, often thrown into the charge nurse and nurse manager role with no training or guidance. When they are put into these roles without educational preparation, they become dissatisfied with their job and leave the organization. This hurts the organization from a human capital standpoint, cost management, and patient outcome perspectives.  The organization has lost an excellent bedside care provider, a seasoned nurse, and now has the added expense of hiring, training, and mentoring a new employee.   

The better method for selecting charge nurses and future managers is to identify those who WANT those positions then set them on a path of succession planning via education. This education must be based on a Human Capital Framework which includes purpose, level, assessment, and nurturing. Purpose refers to recognizing the value and process of succession planning and the employee as human capital. Level is building the pathways to acquire the skills needed to succeed. Assessment is gathering the data to identify the next generation of leaders-who wants it, who is best at it, who will fulfill the organization’s needs, and who has shown interest by participating in leadership initiatives within the organization. Finally, nurturing includes mentoring, supporting, and guiding the individual in their succession pathway. 

Accredited education goes beyond certification and licensure.  It supports competency, growth in knowledge, prevents stagnation of staff, and prevents stagnation of the organization. 

Units with high staff turnover are usually units who have had multiple charge nurses and nurse mangers. Rotating door mangers and leadership lead to unengaged, dissatisfied, and stagnant workforce.  

Accredited education provides a framework for developing key competencies, leadership, and enhancing knowledge, allowing leadership to demonstrate value to employees by saying we value you and your lifelong learning.  

CareerSmart® Learning knows the value of a well-supported, well-educated, well-prepared healthcare workforce. We maintain various accreditations by professional licensing and certification organizations and offer CE or contact hours to Nurses, Certified Case Managers, Certified Rehabilitation Counselors, Certified Disability Management Specialists, and Social Workers nationwide.

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