Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)



First Advisor

Joyce P. Miller, DNP, RN

Second Advisor

Martha Aleman, MAN, PHN, RN

Third Advisor

Mary McMahon-Bullis, Ph.D., RN, CCRN


In the modern healthcare environment, increasing patient acuity, and ongoing staffing challenges have placed strain on nursing staff. Nurses in ambulatory care need leaders to be champions of change. The project coordinator used Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring as a framework to propose the addition of a Nurse Professional Development Specialist (NPDS) into the cardiac-vascular service line (CVSL) of a large-scale health care organization located in multiple suburbs and rural outreach areas of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The NPDS role aims to fill in gaps in orientation and continuing education to meet patient quality standards. Following a literature search focused on the ambulatory care environment, the nurse professional development specialty, and key concepts related to teaching and learning, a letter introducing the proposed new role, a detailed proposal document with key details regarding the rationale for the role, and an NPDS job description were created. The plan was to present these documents to the CVSL’s executive leadership team. Ultimately, the project was halted due to the abrupt announcement of nursing layoffs within the CVSL. Reflection and review of the project illustrated a need for resilience amongst nurses and strengthened work relationships to further encourage innovation. Transformational leadership skills allowed the project coordinator to identify a gap in ambulatory services and implement a process designed to improve the health of the organization.


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