[Skip to Content]
Home    About Us    Blog


The Importance of a Nurturing Learning Environment

Lessons Learned from Loggerhead Turtles

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 476

This past summer, in a blog I wrote about the importance of learning and working environments, I mentioned the recommendations from the Macy Foundation’s April conference, “Improving Environments for Learning in the Health Professions.” Amy Barton, a panelist at the Consortium’s own conference in June, was an invited participant at the Macy Foundation event.

I was curious about what struck her the most about the discussions at the Macy Conference.  It was definitely a high-level discussion, she noted, revolving around analyzing commissioned papers about theories of learning and instruction. But what impressed her the most was the persistent focus on the social component of learning—on community—and on the importance of creating environments that are nurturing.

I asked Amy to join me and write a blog about these ideas.  She begins by talking about loggerhead turtles (!); describes the four characteristics of learning environments; relates all that to the Johns Hopkins Civility Project; and wraps it up with a closing quote from the conference.

Nurse Practitioner’s Professional Identity

The Importance of Faculty, Mentors and Colleagues

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1605

The process of developing a professional identity begins in undergrad, grows exponentially in graduate school, postgraduate training and professional practice, and continues throughout one’s career. It occurred to me that perhaps there is a unique aspect to the voluntary postgrad training year with its explicit focus on intensive clinical training, training to high performance models of care, and professional development in the context of a structured, transformative experience that builds on and adds to earlier experiences.  Existing relationships continue to develop while strong new bonds are formed with each cohort.   Novice NPs interact with others in a professional setting.  They embark, individually and as a cohort, on their life-long journey of re-creating and refining their professional identities – their shared, unique and individual, interpretations and expressions of their professional roles as nurse practitioners.  

Accreditation Standard 1: Mission, Goals and Objectives

What are they and why are they important?

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1408

Basically, the mission is the 30-second elevator speech that describes the program.  Usually the mission statement itself remains consistent over time.  However, the way the mission is implemented frequently changes over time with advancements in clinical science and practice, shifts in in training pedagogy, and the evolution of the sponsoring organization’s structure.  In practical terms, this means that while the mission remains constant, the goals and objectives will likely be modified over time.

Quoting Henry David Thoreau:  "It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?"  The Mission, Goals and Objectives give direction to our ‘busy-ness’.  They are the blueprints that determine the form and function of the program.

Overview of the Accreditation Standards

History and Purpose

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 813

As promised, we’ll begin to explore how the Accreditation Standards were created and why they are important.  The take home point about the Standards is that they provide the framework for excellence and evaluation as well as pragmatic guidelines for the design and delivery of the program.  They are the compass rose for the program.  As Franklin D. Roosevelt said: "Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground."

The Standards were intended to be broad enough to encompass various NP specialties, yet focused enough to provide a meaningful peer evaluation of programmatic excellence.  We will take a journey through each of these Standards, their Elements and sometimes their Sub-elements.


Introduction to Series - Accreditation Standards as Signposts in Program Development

Accreditation: Path to Programmatic Excellence

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 905
Program development can seem like an endless path. And with multiple iterations of improvements, it’s hard to know when something is ‘good enough’.  If the mission, goal and objectives are not clearly defined, you don’t know when they've been achieved.  It’s like being lost in a maze. As Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.” 

This is where the accreditation standards can be incredibly useful.  This post is the introduction to a series that will explore each of the Consortium's eight Accreditation Standards and how they can serve as a pragmatic guide to program development.