Preparing Nurse Leaders in Nursing Professional Development: Theories Applied to Leadership in Nursing Professional Development

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As introduced in the November/December 2017 Leadership column, topics in 2018 through 2019 will focus on preparing nursing professional development (NPD) practitioners as leaders. The recommendations outlined in The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health identified all nurses as leaders, and as leaders, nurses require adequate preparation for leadership roles (Institute of Medicine, 2011). NPD practitioners need to develop not only general leadership competencies but also discipline-specific competencies as leaders in nursing and NPD. NPD practitioners are especially suited to lead change given their charge in complex and chaotic healthcare environments to move organizations or systems forward to improve patient outcomes, staff competency, safety, quality, regulatory compliance, fiscal outcomes, and, ultimately, the health of populations. This column starts at the foundation of leadership development by exploring diverse theories that inform and elucidate how the NPD practitioner can apply theory to inform and frame one’s practice as a leader.