Date of Graduation

Fall 12-18-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing and Health Professions



First Advisor

K.T. Waxman, DNP, MBA, RN, CNL, CENP

Second Advisor

Marjorie Barter, EdD, RN, CNL, CENP

Third Advisor

Linda Leavell, PhD



A nursing professional practice model (PPM) is designed to provide a framework for how nursing practices, communicates, leads, collaborates, and provides the highest quality of care as we navigate the complex healthcare system. An infrastructure for learning, competency, and performance needs to be integrated into this model as a foundation for accelerating business and clinical initiatives, promoting standardization, and sharing successful practices. It is now, more than ever, a necessity to have a well-trained, highly competent nursing workforce. Simply having the knowledge and the skill to do a job is insufficient; rather, it is implied that a competency has an action attached to it that verifies what is achieved by that action. This paper describes the process that a large healthcare system used to design a 5-year strategy for professional development using the framework of the High Performance Programming model (Nelson & Burns, 2005), along with components of the Nursing Professional Development Specialist Practice model (American Nurses Association, 2010). This process allowed identification of the current organizational level of practice within professional development, prioritization of each component and an operational strategy to move each towards a higher performing level. The process provided for the prioritization and development of professional and foundational competency domains and the design of a competency toolkit for professional development, which assists in aligning and embedding these competencies into current and future work. Finally, this paper describes the beginning implementation of a pilot in one region, using components of the toolkit to support the recruitment and orientation of hard-to-retain positions and its contribution to better knowledge of competencies and improved job satisfaction.