Elizabeth Kiss, DNP, FNP-BC, RN-BC, is professor, Wegmans School of Nursing, St. John Fisher College, and nurse practitioner, Surgical Oncology, Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, New York.Charlene M. Smith, DNS, MSEd, WHNP, RN-BC, CNE, ANEF, is professor, Wegmans School of Nursing, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York.
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One facet of the nursing professional development (NPD) leader’s role includes navigating and managing the human resources specific to their department. Common human resource management responsibilities encompass identifying departmental staffing needs, defining performance expectations, onboarding new staff, and supporting ongoing socialization and professional development to strengthen the NPD staff’s performance and collective contributions to the mission, vision, and strategic goals of the organization.STAFFING NEEDSThe NPD leader is responsible for identifying, justifying, and negotiating the needed staffing for the NPD department to accomplish the scope of work required to meet the outcomes and expectations of the organization. The NPD leader must understand the number and types of personnel needed, budgetary parameters, and current and future needs of the organization in order to create a staffing plan to support departmental operations. Listed below are four elements that influence the NPD staffing plan and associated questions to consider for each element (Allard, Harper, & Smith, 2016; Avillion & Buchwach, 2010; Buchwach, 2010; Marquis & Huston, 2017; Mensik, 2014):External Environmental Scan○ Are there impending changes in legislation, regulations, accreditation standards, reimbursement, or competition that might impact the organization?○ How does the current Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice (Harper & Maloney, 2016) define the credentials, competencies, roles, and responsibilities for NPD practitioners?Internal Organizational Scan○ How does the NPD department’s operations and staff performance expectations support the organization’s mission, vision, strategic plan, and goals?○ What are the organization’s current or future priorities and services that impact the NPD department?Departmental Scan○ What are the service lines, clinical services, and professional development needs within the organization that drive the expertise needed for the NPD staff?○ What specific responsibilities, background, credentials, and competencies are needed by staff to accomplish the NPD department’s mission, vision, strategic plan, and goals?○ What partnerships can be formed with subject matter experts internal or external to the organization to supplement departmental staffing?Human Resource Projections○ Is the employment climate internal and external to the organization predictive of staffing needs to offset staff shortages?○ What are future anticipated staffing needs given the potential for staff attrition?The NPD department staffing plan should build on the foundation of continuous external environmental, internal organizational, departmental, and human resource projections scans. Figure 1 shows the interrelationships of the elements that influence the NPD department staffing plan. To keep the NPD department staffing plan relevant, a continuous evaluation of departmental staffing needs is conducted by the NPD leader.PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONSOnce department staffing and personnel requirements are identified and the NPD staffing plan is operational, the NPD leader is tasked with clarifying and documenting position descriptions for personnel in the NPD department. A well-defined position description will clarify job duties and roles for both prospective and existing employees (Twedell, 2015). To avoid a task-oriented emphasis, the position description for each staff member should have a general description of the purpose of the position, job responsibilities, and competencies. Typically a position description serves as a contract between the employer and the employee to define the expected job responsibilities, core competencies, work schedule, behaviors, physical demands, reporting structure, and job qualifications (Allard et al., 2016). A position description for NPD practitioners is informed by the Nursing Professional Development: Scope and Standards of Practice (Harper & Maloney, 2016). Position descriptions should be succinct, clear, and aligned with the employee’s ongoing performance expectations and associated performance evaluation.