CNO Roundtable 2024

Question 5: Staff Development

How can nurse leaders promote their nurses' individual career development?

Compilation of headshot photos from 20 CNOs interviewed in the article.

Wendy Cortez / Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center

Talk about it! I’ve been fortunate to work with leaders throughout my career who took the time to talk to me individually about my interests and provide me with opportunities to pursue those areas of focus.

Anna Gonzales / Regal Medical Group

I’ve had remarkable mentors who’ve encouraged innovative thinking and urged me to embrace missteps as learning opportunities. I strive to create a workplace that nurtures creativity and passion and takes a holistic view of each individual’s aspirations, strengths, and areas for growth.

Karen Grimley / UCLA Health

Promoting career development is a multi-pronged effort. The first step is providing relevant educational programs. The second and most important is ensuring that nurses have dedicated time for learning and investing in themselves.

Katie Hughes / Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare

I always encourage staff to take advantage of financial assistance and employee discounts for continuing education. Working and going to school can be a challenge, but we have a self-scheduling system that gives our nursing staff additional flexibility.

Leila Ibushi-Thompson / Adventist Health White Memorial

Nursing leaders should prioritize ongoing mentorship, guidance, and opportunities for growth. Additionally, recognizing and celebrating nurses’ achievements and milestones can boost morale and motivation.

Dalarie Manda / St. John’s Regional Medical Center

I encourage our new graduate groups to be involved in their specialty associations and stay up to date on evidence-based practices. I also encourage our nurse leaders to never say no when a nurse asks for help in obtaining a higher degree. It’s our duty to give back.

David Marshall / Cedars-Sinai

Every nurse leader should set an example for their nurses’ career development. For example, if you want your nurses to achieve certification, you should pursue that goal as well. Nurse leaders should also advocate for funding to support certification and higher education.

Mark Mitchelson / Adventist Health Simi Valley

We need to allow nurses to experiment (and even fail) to enhance their development. Provide opportunities for high performers to lead change. They will be the ones with the best ideas for improving patient care.

Jinhee Nguyen / Adventist Health Glendale

Mentorship is essential to career development. If you’re in a leadership position, take the time to mentor your teammates — your experience is priceless, and your insight will help your colleagues grow.

Darlene Scafiddi / Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

As a nurse leader, you must lead by example and provide opportunities for staff to grow professionally. We offer tuition remission and resources to help nurses get certified, and we discuss and encourage professional development during annual reviews.

Michelle Sterling / Rancho Los Amigos

I urge nurse leaders to assess their staff’s needs and proactively develop programs tailored to different career stages. For example, many of our hires are new graduates with limited experience, so we’ve instituted a residency program to equip them with the skills they need.

Armenui Telliyan / Ambulatory Care Network, LAC DHS

Nurse leaders can work with recruiters, affiliated schools, and educators to create roadmaps for professional development, identifying each nurse’s individual strengths, helping them select their unique career path, and encouraging them to stay connected with peers.

Joyce Volsch / Redlands Community Hospital

Nursing strategic plans should include expectations for staff career development. Every nurse leader should inquire about where their nurses envision themselves professionally in the next year or two. Nurses’ annual goals should include an action step towards pursuing their passions.

Vicki White / Henry Mayo

Nurse leaders foster growth by planting seeds of encouragement and by engaging in open dialogue to understand team members’ career goals. Leaders should also ask, “What can I do to support my nurses?” — including introducing options a nurse may not have considered before.

Cheryl Witt Wheelock / Northridge Hospital Medical Center

We work with employees to advance and develop their careers through what we call our “Grow Your Own” plan. This includes opportunities for cross-training, such as programs for ICU nurses interested in the ED, PICU, or PACU (and vice versa).

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