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Work Life Balance? Really?

Finding Happiness at Work and at Home

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 908
When asked about work life balance, Jeff Bezos replied that his work life and personal life isn’t compartmentalized into two competing entities. Instead of viewing work and life as a balancing act, Bezos said, it's more productive to view them as two integrated parts.  “It’s not a balance,” he said, “It actually is a circle.”

As novice practitioners enter full-time practice and as new grads enter their postgrad training, managing competing demands is essential.  It is also stressful and exhausting.  How do we support novice practitioners during this complicated time in their lives?  How do we help them as they try to create, or refine, a personal life during this intense and stressful period of professional training? There is no easy answer.  

Each person has to find his or her strategy for integrating personal values with professional demands.  A crucial role for program directors, faculty, preceptors, staff, and near-peers is to validate each trainee’s evolving professional identity in a way that allows him or her to incorporate personal values and interests. It is one of the many potential gifts of a training program – providing a variety of accessible models for how to be true to our multifaceted selves as professionals, as community members, and as individuals with personal lives.

Mentoring -- A Safe Harbor

Elective Performance Improvement

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1345

You know those meetings where one person does all the talking? Might be a well-intentioned expert. Might be an opinionated know it all.  For whatever reason the spark that fuels discussion just never happens. People get bored; they check their cell phones; respond to texts.  It is painful for everyone.

And then there are those inspiring discussions that are dynamic and insightful, with pregnant pauses and intense focus. Ideas shared. Suggestions offered. Solutions discovered. It’s seeing Washington DC's Japanese cherry trees blossom almost overnight after a spring rain, as in the accompanying picture taken by Redd Angelo on Unsplash. Awesome. Breath taking. Beautiful. Transformative.

As with my experience in acquiring new skills in creating an atmosphere that encourages dynamic and informative discussions in an online course, effective mentoring is transformative and truly a gift that impacts the future. Whether as a recipient or provider, it is an opportunity to be taken.

North Star: Leading the Way Forward

Nurse Practitioners as Leaders in Interprofessional Practice

Candice Rettie, PhD 2 1122
Nurse practitioners and other health care professionals navigate the implementation of healthcare by adhering to the North Star of interprofessionalism.  As with the North Star, Nurse Practitioners may not be the biggest or most noticeable “star in the night sky”, but Nurse Practitioners are anchors in delivering interprofessional, evidence-based and high-quality care that is culturally sensitive.  Interprofessional care is a hallmark of their practice.  It’s a mandate to offer patient-centered, comprehensive care to the most vulnerable among us.  Read more about the intersection of musings on the North Star as an essential navigational tool, how Nurse Practitioners serve as the North Star for interprofessional practice, individually and collectively, and the implications for accreditation.

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood

Accreditation Provides a Quality Anchor in Disruptive Innovation

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1333

A wonderful synchronicity occurred recently when I attended the APGAP (Association of Postgraduate APRN Programs) workshop in Phoenix.  I’d written this post the evening before the conference.  The next morning, we were greeted by the conference’s opening with exactly this picture and Robert Frost’s poem.  The idea of making choices and the impact of those choices regarding training program design, delivery, and accreditation on outcomes resonated deeply.  It was especially apt since I’d also been inspired by Robert Frost and had just finished writing this blog which focuses on choices, transitions, and creating the future.

Making choices necessitates a transition.  Staying on the same path is choosing to make a commitment to pursue familiarity and continuity; the likelihood of predictable change that occurs with a known situation – and perhaps a transition to stability.  Electing a different path is choosing a transition to new opportunities and the possibly disruptive innovation that generates new knowledge, new practice, new policies. Those choices determine how the training programs function, subsequently shaping the future of the profession.

Accreditation translates excellence in practice and awareness of emerging practice trends into salient benchmarks for quality training experiences. 

Success and Professional Identity

Understanding How Postgraduate Training Influences Novice NPs

Candice Rettie, PhD 2 1318

If you have read other blogs in this series, you know that I am frequently inspired by nature. The harvest moon was in full glory this past week, signaling farmers that it is time for harvest.  Birds and butterflies are migrating south, individually and in sky-darkening flocks. Hurricanes are rampaging through warm waters. Each day the hours of darkness increase.  All are signs of nature’s seasonal transition. 


Piaget and Kuhn each conceptualized transitions as essential steps in forward progress.  Beginning with Piaget's notion of transition -- successful transitions are characterized by 'important changes in how the [novice NP] thinks’.  Then layering on Kuhn's notion of a paradigmatic shift -- [earlier ways of practice] are 'replaced by new and different’ ways of functioning as a [confident and experienced healthcare professional.] Let’s explore how transitions occur in nurse practitioner postgraduate training programs.  These programs provide deliberate, structured opportunities for navigating the novice practitioners’ transition from newly minted to seasoned practitioner through opportunities designed to develop relevant “attitudes, beliefs and standards” that correspond with  a “clear understanding of the responsibilities of being a health care provider.” A useful nursing skill acquisition model is provided by  Patricia Benner’s stage theory of clinical competency that describes RNs' progression from novice to expert nurse. The concept of novice NPs moving through five levels of proficiency is applicable to the evolution of a novice NP’s professional identity.  Read more to learn about two recent studies that describe this developmental progression from novice NP to confident practitioner.