Professional Development Plan: Exemplification Essay

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Over the last decade, there has been a push for continuing education in the nursing profession. There are more options for registered nurses to pursue a career as advanced practice nurses (APNs). It is beneficial to the nurse to create a professional development plan (PDP) to assist in career growth. A professional development plan enables nurses to keep a record of their activities and show that they are keeping up with their competencies in practice (College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia, 2018). The PDP is essentially a tool used to guide the nurse through their career advancement. Career goals are established and a strategy to accomplish these goals is developed. The following paper is meant to outline the scope of practice for the APN in the state of Wisconsin, a personal assessment using Benner’s novice to the expert method, and the marketing/ networking strategies that will be used in achieving the professional development plan. The paper will conclude with an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV). Having a plan is the first step in achieving a person’s goals.

APN Scope of Practice

Scope of practice laws is the guidelines that are set by the state that indicates the role of the APN. According to Mennella & Heering (2017), the scope of practice defines the nursing professional role and is legally determined by education, competencies, and nursing experiences. In the United States, the scope of practice is different for each state. The scope of practice may be full, reduced, or restricted. In the state of Wisconsin, the scope of practice is reduced, which means that the nurse practitioner has a reduced ability to engage in at least one component of their practice (AANP, 2018). This means that NPs are not recognized in the state of Wisconsin as primary care providers. NPs must work in collaboration with a physician. This is limiting to patient care in Wisconsin, particularly in rural areas. A full practice state allows for APNs to practice to the full extent of their education. According to Martin & Alexander (2019), full-practice states tend to have better access to care in rural communities as well as underserved and minority populations.

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To practice in Wisconsin, the APN is required to have a current license. The APN is responsible for but not limited to thorough interviewing, history taking, physical assessment, test selection and interpretation, pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnostic reasoning, differentiation of conditions, treatment decisions, case evaluation, and non-pharmacologic interventions (Wisconsin Scope of Practice, 2019). To be a certified advanced practice nurse prescriber the nurse must submit a fee and application, hold a current license in the state, have evidence of a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing, provide evidence of completion of 45 contact hours in clinical pharmacology or therapeutics within 5 years of the application for a certificate, and provide proof of passing the exam for advanced practice nurse prescribers (Wisconsin Scope of Practice, 2019).

Obtaining licensure in the state of Wisconsin requires that the registered nurse must submit a fee and application to the Wisconsin Board of Nursing. It is also a requirement to have a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing or a related health field granted by a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting organization approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The nurse must also have 45 contact hours in clinical pharmacology in order to have prescribing rights. Lastly, the nurse must have passed the examination for advanced practice nurses (Wisconsin Scope of Practice, 2019).

Personal Assessment Using Benner’s Self-Assessment Tool

A comprehensive assessment enables an individual to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses and the areas that need improvement. This allows one to set goals and objectives that can help in prioritizing and organizing career goals. Employers are looking for nurses who are qualified, have leadership skills, someone who can prioritize, and multitask.

I will be using Benner’s novice to expert model (2011), in completing my personal assessment. This will help me to identify areas of strength and areas needed for improvement. Benner’s model is divided into five levels of professional stages. The first stage is the novice nurse; this nurse has little to no experience and lacks the confidence to carry out safe practice without supervision (Benner, 2011). The advanced beginner has some experience and works with the support of others (Benner, 2011). The competent nurse is independent and uses critical thinking based off of past experiences (Benner, 2011). The proficient nurse has many years of experience and approaches patient care with a holistic approach by seeing the situation in its entirety (Benner, 2011). The expert nurse is considered highly proficient and flexible and able to approach all situations with a deep understanding (Benner, 2011).

I am currently working as a registered nurse on an inpatient oncology unit. I consider myself to be somewhere between a competent and a proficient nurse. I have been working on my unit for nearly seven years, three of which I have been a nurse. I can anticipate patients' needs and plan accordingly. I can base my decisions on my education and my past experiences by using an analytical thought process. I would say that I am becoming more proficient with more experience. I can see most situations as the bigger picture. I can look toward what might happen next when making decisions.

I am studying to become an advanced practice nurse. In this role, I would consider myself a novice. I have not yet started my practicum, meaning I have no clinical experience in this role. The decisions that I am making at this point are based on the text and what I am learning from my coursework. With that said, I am still strengthening my decision-making skills as a registered nurse. The preparation in my current role will continue to help me through my transition into the APN role. I will continue in my new role building my confidence, but I will need support before I can practice independently.

What areas of your career do you most want to focus on and further develop?

I have worked for close to seven years with the same patient population. I would like to focus my career on working with underserved populations, specifically in public health. I am also considering a career in family planning. I would like to focus on learning more about women’s health.

What do you look forward to most about your new role?

I look forward to working with different populations as a family nurse practitioner. I want to have an active role in holistic care and establishing treatment plans for my patients. I am also excited to learn new things. I hope to be able to work in a practice where I have some autonomy and where my voice and opinions make a change for the better in patient care.

What do you fear the most about your new job?

I know that I do fear the unknown and I have some hesitation about change. I have been a registered nurse for almost three years, and I can remember a time as a novice nurse when I often questioned my judgment. My new role will be another adjustment period which scares me.

What do you most hope to gain from your new experience?

As I stated earlier, I am looking forward to an opportunity to work with new patient populations. My current role is all I have known in healthcare. I also hope to become more knowledgeable in primary care and become confident in my abilities to be an FNP.

Adapting to a new position/work setting is stressful and overwhelming. List three ways in which you cope with excessive stress.

Early on in my education, I decided that I would continue going to school for my MSN. School has not always come easy to me but every time I successfully complete a milestone in my education and career, I am reassured that I can do this. I do struggle with anxiety and I must find ways to cope with that additional barrier. Going into a new position is another transition in my life that will potentially be stressful. I have established a great support system with family and colleagues. I make sure to talk about the things that are overwhelming me. I also make time for myself so that I can recharge so to speak. One of the things that I hope to work on is to exercise more so that I can stay healthy through the transition. It is important to me that I take care of myself too.

What are your goals and objectives for your first, second, and third months in your new position as well as the remainder of your first year?

My goal is to complete my post-graduate degree and obtain my APN registration and certification. I also hope to donate some of my time to a community clinic to better understand the patient population I wish to work with. I would like to join an APN organization, such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. My objective as a new FNP would be to learn as much as I can and keep an open mind to new opportunities. My professional goal is to be able to collaborate with new team members that I will be working with. In order to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care, manage chronic illness and improve team capacity among providers, the current healthcare system will need to use team collaboration (Farrell, Payne, & Heye, 2015).

Networking and Marketing Strategies

Understanding how to use marketing tools and how to network within the profession are important for new APNs to move forward in their career. When beginning the process of looking for a new job it is important to assess the healthcare organizations around the local area, the state, and other places where the APN would like to practice. The job market assessment begins by researching; this gives the APN a better idea of the available employment opportunities, as well as the culture and structure of different organizations.

There are multiple ways to do marketing and networking as an APN, such as national exposure, regional participation, and online networking. Networking is a shared interaction between a group of people or individuals which is usually beneficial to both sides; it can be done by meeting face-to-face or electronically (Goolsby & Knestrick, 2017). Networking is used to assess the job market in both local and state areas. Joining professional organizations is a great way for the new APN to network. In Wisconsin, jobs are advertised through local newspapers, clinic and hospital websites, Facebook and LinkedIn, and professional organizations like Wisconsin Nurses Association (WNA). For national exposure, joining a national organization such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is a good place to start. National groups help gain access to benefits such as insurance and free continuing education courses. They will also put you in contact with nurse practitioners nationwide. There is also an opportunity to network regionally or in your home state. In Wisconsin, there is the Wisconsin Nurses Association (WNA) that is open to all APRNs certified in the state. They provide a discussion place for education, professional and legislative issues. Social media is another popular resource for networking and is gaining popularity among healthcare professionals (Khanum et al., 2016). Networking is a great method to create personal connections and form a rapport with other nursing professionals to seek career opportunities.


A professional development plan is to be used as a guide to develop a person’s career. Advanced practice nurses are on the frontlines of patient care. It is a growing profession with the advancement of nursing education. APNs are leaders in the nursing profession, and it is crucial for the new APN to have a career development plan. This plan will help identify areas of weakness as well as the strengths of the individual. The plan will also be used as a guide for the individual's career path. It is important for this plan to evolve along with the nurse. This plan can also assist in developing a CV and be used as a tool for networking.


  1. Benner, P. (2001). From novice to expert: Excellence and power in the clinical nursing practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Health.
  2. Certification of advanced practice nurse prescribers. (2016, September). Retrieved from
  4. Farrell, K., Payne, C., & Heye, M. (2015). Integrating inter-professional collaboration skills into the advanced practice registered nurse socialization process. Journal of Professional Nursing, 31(1), 5-10.
  5. Khanum, S., Souza, M. D. L. D., Naz, N., Sasso, G. T. M. D., Brüggemann, O. M., & Heideman, I. T. S. B. (2016). The Use of Networking in Nursing Practice—An Integrative Review. Societies, 6(3), 22.
  6. Goolsby, M., & Knestrick, J. (2017, August). Effective professional networking. Journal of American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(8), 441-445. 10.1002/2327-6924.12484
  7. Martin, B., & Alexander, M. (2019). The Economic Burden and Practice Restrictions Associated With Collaborative Practice Agreements: A National Survey of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 9(4), 22–30.
  8. Mennella, H. D. A.-B., & Heering, H. R. C. (2017). Professional Autonomy and Advanced Nursing Practice. CINAHL Nursing Guide. Retrieved from
  9. Wisconsin scope of practice. (2019). Retrieved from
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