Transforming nursing through knowledge

Professional Development: Practice

Practice - reflects the work a nurse executive performs together with staff related to the provision of direct care or services.
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    The competencies listed describe skills common to nurses in executive practice regardless of their educational level or titles in different organizations. They are presented as information for both nurse leaders and those who employ or work with them. Executives can use these competencies as a self-assessment tool, useful in the identification of possible areas for growth. 
    Aspiring nurse leaders can use them in planning personal preparation for their careers. Health care organizations may see them as a guideline for job descriptions, expectations and evaluations of nurse leaders. Nurse educators can utilize them as a curriculum guideline for the educational preparation of nurses seeking expertise and knowledge in executive practice.
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    In 2008/2009, the Orientation: Transition to Public Health Nursing Toolkit was developed to enhance the integration of new hires into public health nursing practice in Ontario and to increase retention of these hires. The changing landscape of public health in Canada, such as the introduction of new standards and competencies, presents challenges to leaders orienting staff to public health nursing. The toolkit was designed to provide a standardized general orientation, involving a broad range of public health knowledge and issues.

    Through the use of technology, a virtual network of public health nurses, educators, managers, senior nurse leaders and nursing professors from various areas of Ontario designed, implemented and evaluated the toolkit. Three modules were developed: foundations of practice (e.g., core competencies, national and provincial standards, public health legislation), the role of the public health nurse, and developing partnerships and relationships. Evaluations demonstrated that the toolkit was useful to new hires adjusting to public health nursing. It has had significant uptake within Canada and is well accepted by public health nursing leaders for use in Ontario's health units.

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    This article is not only pertinent to those working in critical care; it can be utilized and explored on all levels of nursing. Through effective mentorship, we can positively impact our healthcare organizations; improve job satisfaction; and promote professional development and empowerment in students, new graduates, staff nurses, educators, nurse leaders, and nurse faculty. Most importantly, mentoring can result in improved nursing care, high-quality healthcare, and improved patient outcomes.