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Reflection Paper

Reflection Paper

Sample Answer 

Reflection Paper

Besides their professional duty to the patient, nurses also serve caregiver roles that are crucial in the healing and wellbeing of every patient. Therefore, the quality of nursing care has direct implications on the quality of healthcare. Nursing care quality is, in turn, influenced by the quality of nursing education and ongoing professional development. As a registered nurse, knowledge and understanding of my current job options in the market, career advancement goals, and the role of professional development in improving my nursing practice competency and competitiveness in the job market is critical in maintaining my effectiveness as a healthcare provider, as I discuss in this paper.

Current Job Options

The educational preparation of registered nurses enables them to work in a variety of practice settings. As a registered nurse, I can practice in the hospital setting to provide direct patient care. More than 60% of registered nurses work in public and private hospitals [U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], 2020). I can also be employed in the ambulatory healthcare sector in settings such as offices of physicians, homes of patients as an employee of home-based care providers, and outpatient healthcare facilities. I can also offer my nursing services in long-term care settings, such as nursing homes and residential care facilities. Furthermore, I can work in the public health sector in practice areas such as community centers, public health clinics, learning institutions. I can also be employed in agencies such as military veterans’ agencies and government agencies (BLS, 2020).

Professional Certification and Advanced Degree

            I wish to pursue an advanced nursing practice degree to become an adult nurse practitioner (NP). NP was recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) as one of the graduate-level career advancement pathways for nurses seeking to practice as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). In order to become an NP, the nurse who has completed basic nursing education, such as a registered nurse, must complete a master’s program with coursework covering areas of advanced practice such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, disease management, and health assessment (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2010). I intend to enroll for a full-time Master of Science in Nursing degree for 2-4 years, after which I will seek certification from the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) (IOM, 2010).

My reason for wanting to become a nurse practitioner is the desire to provide holistic patient care. In my capacity as an NP, I will be able to manage the whole patient by conducting initial patient assessments and devising and implementing a management plan. NPs enjoy greater autonomy than nurses in lower cadres. In some States, the NP’s scope of practice is comparable to that of a physician since NPs are entrusted with responsibilities that are traditionally the preserve of physicians, such as prescriptive authority (Dillon & Gary, 2017). Besides, being able to practice autonomously will also enable me to address the unmet need for patient education in the adult population that is afflicted by chronic health conditions and non-communicable diseases. Many patients lack the necessary education on disease processes and medicines. Being an NP will, therefore, enable me to practice patient empowerment.

Impact of NP Degree on Job Options

Becoming an adult NP will expand my career opportunities because of the rising demand for primary health care providers. The increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases has increased the demand for health providers who can provide primary health care consisting of coordinated and continued patient care (Buerhaus, 2018). Pursuing a degree as an NP will make me eligible for these primary care occupations. As a registered nurse, I am ineligible for this role.

Additionally, as an adult NP, I will be eligible for leadership roles. NPs undertake coursework in leadership and management (Anderson, 2018). As an NP, I will be able to pursue careers in healthcare leadership, such as nurse manager, director of nursing, and chief nursing officer. I may also be eligible for leadership roles in public health programs. In my capacity as an RN, I cannot competitively pursue these job opportunities.

Furthermore, becoming an adult NP will allow me to apply for nurse educator jobs. NPs are sought to serve as educators of student nurses in universities and colleges and as clinical educators in the clinical setting (IOM, 2010). While I will be eligible for these jobs as an NP, I am not able to serve as a nurse educator in my current capacity.

Continuing Education

Involvement in continuing education (CE) is a professional responsibility of nurses based on the American Nurses Association Scope and Standard of Practice. According to the ANA Standards of Practice, nurses are accountable for their clinical practice (American Nursing Association [ANA]). CE enables nurses to honor this responsibility by providing opportunities to learn about and maintain their awareness of the regulatory expectations and mandates of the clinical workplace (Bindon, 2017).

Similarly, CE provides the means for nurses to enhance their practice competency. According to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report, CE is the key strategy for developing new and maintaining previous competencies. IOM emphasizes the significance of continuing competence as a parallel component of nursing practice (IOM, 2010). CE is, therefore, integral in lifelong learning.

CE also provides a strategy for shaping positive attitudes and imparting knowledge on various practice issues, particularly in cross-cultural patient care. For example, continuing education in LGBT health improves the attitude of nurses towards LGBT individuals by enhancing self-awareness and capacity to provide culturally sensitive care (McCann & Brown, 2018). CE is, therefore, fundamental in positively transforming nurse attitudes and knowledge.

Mandatory Continuing Nursing Education

Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) should be compulsory in order to enhance nurses’ knowledge of current disease demographics. Disease demographics are constantly evolving with newer epidemiological patterns. For example, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of infection among young people aged 15-24 years increased from 4.5% to 15% between February and July (Venkatesan, 2020). CNE allows nurses to remain knowledgeable about such evolutions.

Additionally, CNE is necessary to enhance nurses’ knowledge of emerging and remerging diseases. New diseases, such as viral infections, are constantly emerging in various population groups. New strains of previously eliminated infections are also emerging. For example, SARS-CoV 2 is thought to have emerged from SARS-CoV (Petersen et al., 2020). CNE will ensure nurses remain knowledgeable and competent in managing these infections.

Furthermore, the increasing popularity of evidence-based practice makes CNE essential. Evidence-based practice research continuously generates evidence that should inform nursing practice (Mackey & Bassendowski, 2017). CNE provides the opportunity for nurses to gain knowledge about the latest evidence and clinical guidelines in various aspects of clinical practice. Nurses are, therefore, able to participate in quality improvement initiatives.


American Nursing Association. (n.d.). Nursing Scope Of Practice | American Nurses Association. [online] ANA. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 January 2021].

Anderson, C. (2018). Exploring the role of advanced nurse practitioners in leadership. Nursing Standard.

Bindon, S. L. (2017). Professional development strategies to enhance nurses’ knowledge and maintain safe practice. Aorn Journal106(2), 99-110.

Buerhaus, P. (2018). Nurse practitioners: A solution to America’s primary care crisis. American Enterprise Institute, 1-30.

Dillon, D., & Gary, F. (2017). Full practice authority for nurse practitioners. Nursing administration quarterly, 41(1), 86-93.

Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine.

Mackey, A., & Bassendowski, S. (2017). The history of evidence-based practice in nursing education and practice. Journal of Professional Nursing33(1), 51-55.

McCann, E., & Brown, M. (2018). The inclusion of LGBT+ health issues within undergraduate healthcare education and professional training programmes: A systematic review. Nurse education today, 64, 204-214.

Petersen, E., Koopmans, M., Go, U., Hamer, D. H., Petrosillo, N., Castelli, F., … & Simonsen, L. (2020). Comparing SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV and influenza pandemics. The Lancet infectious diseases.


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The IOM published report, “Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” makes recommendations for lifelong learning and achieving higher levels of education.

In 1,000-1,250 words, examine the importance of nursing education and discuss your overall educational goals.

Include the following:

  1. Discuss your options in the job market based on your educational level.
  2. Review the IOM Future of Nursing Recommendations for achieving higher levels of education. Describe what professional certification and advanced degrees (MSN, DNP, etc.) you want to pursue and explain your reasons for wanting to attain the education. Discuss your timeline for accomplishing these goals.
  3. Discuss how increasing your level of education would affect how your competitiveness in the current job market and your role in the future of nursing.
  4. Discuss the relationship of continuing nursing education to competency, attitudes, knowledge, and the ANA Scope and Standards for Practice and Code of Ethics.
  5. Discuss whether continuing nursing education should be mandatory. Provide support for your response.
  6. You are required to cite to a minimum of three sources to complete this assignment. Sources must be published within the last 5 years and appropriate for the assignment criteria and relevant to nursing practice.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

Reflection Paper

Reflection Paper

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