Background: A robust professional nursing congress (PNC) structure has existed within the medical center for some time; however, until recently, no such structure existed for outpatient (HOD) nurses. Nursing leadership saw this as a gap and recruited front-line HOD nurses to participate in an innovative new council, labeled HOD PNC.
Creation of the HOD PNC has allowed outpatient nurses the opportunity to impact meaningful organizational change, collaborate with nursing peer, and increase exposure to professional development, while growing the next generation of nurse leaders.
Objectives: One initiative identified by the council was a lack of participation by the HOD nurse in the existing professional development program (PDP). After a poll of current members, it was quickly discovered that HOD nurses were either not aware of the PDP program or were intimidated by its requirements.
Methods: To increase awareness and participation in the PDP program, PDP became a standing item on the monthly meeting agenda. Workshops were also held to assist members with portfolio building. HOD PNC members discussed the PDP program with their nursing peers and encouraged participation. Members that previously participated in PDP mentored first-time participants and gave a sample presentation to alleviate anxiety. The goal of all of these interventions was to increase PDP participation in HOD departments.
Results: Participation in PDP program increased from 14 RNs (2017) to 23 RNs (2018). Additionally, levels of recognition increased from the previous year. No applicants achieved platinum recognition in 2017 vs. 35% (8 RNs) of applicants achieved platinum recognition in 2018. HOD nurses also received platinum recognition at a higher rate (35%) compared to their inpatient peers (27%).
Conclusions: Having a shared governance structure for outpatient nurses like HOD PNC allowed for greater exposure to professional development opportunities within the organization. In the year that HOD PNC was established, participation and level of achievement in the PDP program increased. Now that the structure is established for HOD PNC, HOD nurses will receive continued support for professional development, continuing the goal of increasing participation into FY2020.