Nurse Professional Development & Pathways

Transition to Practice Overview

Stakeholders from across the system developed our model to create an environment where nurses are personally valued, professionally invested and inspired by patients and colleagues. The model’s foundation stems from three theories of learning: Adult Learning Theory, Experiential Learning, and From Novice to Expert.

Adult Learning Theory

Adult Learning Theory centers around 4 principles which state that:

  • Adults need to be involved in their instruction
  • Adults learn best through experience
  • Adults are most engaged when learning about something with an immediate impact
  • Adults learn best when their learning is focused on problems rather than content

Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning explains that learning occurs in a cycle. This begins with encountering a new, concrete experience, followed by reflective observation of said experience. This then gives rise to new ideas, or modifies existing ideas, through abstract conceptualization, which are then applied to the world around them in active experimentation.

From Novice to Expert

From Novice to Expert focuses more closely on the nurse, describing five levels of nursing experience. The changes required to move through these levels are using concrete experiences rather than abstract principles to guide actions, perceiving situations as whole parts rather than separate pieces, and shifting from a detached observer to an involved performer.


New Graduate

New Graduate Learning Connections

  • LC 1: Beginning Steps into Professional Practice: Introduction to TTP, Communication and Prioritization
  • LC 2: Managing the Changing Patient Condition I and Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
  • LC 3: Taking Care of You: Self-Care and Celebration
  • LC 4: Informatics and Technology in Practice: Evidence-Based Practice and Cerner Optimization
  • LC 5: Management and Delivery of Quality Patient Care I: Delegation and Conflict Resolution
  • LC 6: Managing the Changing Patient Condition II: Interprofessional Collaboration, Ethical Issues and End-Of-Life
  • LC 7: Management and Delivery of Quality Patient Care II: Patient-Centered Care, Quality Care and the Business of Healthcare
  • LC 8: Next Steps into Professional Practice: Professional Roles, Leadership, Evidence-Based Practice Application and Program Graduation

Experienced Nurse Learning Connections

  • LC 1: Beginning Steps into Professional Practice: Introduction to T2P, Policies/Procedures/Protocol and Cerner Optimization
  • LC 2: Taking Care of You: Self-Care and Celebration and Celebration
  • LC 3: Next Steps into Professional Practice: Professional Roles and Leadership

Practice Model

Model Focus Areas

Socialization is the process of learning the norms, attitudes, behaviors, skills, roles, and values of the nursing profession. A sense of belonging and professional identity contributes to professional socialization.

Clinical Competency
“An expected and measureable level of nursing performance that integrates knowledge, skills, abilities, and judgments based on established scientific knowledge and expectations for nursing practice.” Page 86, ANA Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 3rd Ed. 2015

Professional (Career) Development refers to a wide variety of specialized training, formal and informal education, advanced professional learning, and growth opportunities intended to help nurses improve their professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness.

Guiding Principles

  • All team members have a role in supporting the clinical nurse’s transition to IUH
  • The model will be contemporary, facilitate multi-modal learning, and leverage technology
  • The year long experience(6 months for experienced nurses) will be individualized to learner with a focus on socialization, clinical competency, and professional (career) development
  • Content will emphasis “need to know” concepts to prevent information overload. The focus will be on helping new nurses understand where and how to access resources
  • The model will foster community and engage a broader network of support
  • The clinical nurse manager is the Chief Retention Officer and plays a key role in the Transition to IU Health Practice model
  • The model will encompass the IU Health nurse attributes
  • The model will be flexible and adapt to evolving models and new roles

Roles & Responsibilities

New IU Health Nurse

New graduate nurse and experienced nurse new to IU Health. Transfers within the system are assessed by unit leadership to determine if components of the model are applicable for growth and development.

Responsibilities include:

Other Roles

Chief Nursing Officer

Provide executive oversight for Transition to IU Health Practice model.

Nurse Leader

Manager/Director with new nurse direct reports. Responsible for ensuring the new nurse progresses successfully through the Transition to IU Health Practice model. Serves as the “Chief Retention Officer” with a focus on onboarding, coaching and development, and building relationships with team members.


Experienced clinical nurse who provides practical experience and on-the-job training within a structured format to the new nurse.

Charge Nurse

Nurse leader who is responsible for the coordination of shift to shift progression of the new nurse.

Site Coordinator

Oversight of the Transition to IU Health Practice model at the facility level.

Clinical Educator/Professional Development Educator

Coordinates resources to guide the new nurse through the Transition to IUH Practice model.

Mentorship Program

Mentoring is one component of creating an environment where our team members are personally valued, professionally invested and inspired by our patients and colleagues. In response to team member feedback, mentor preparation resources have been created. Resources include self-study materials, webinars, and a mentor and mentee toolkit.

Purpose: To assist new graduates and experienced nurses in adjusting to their role at IU Health. The focus is on topics that impact role changes, engagement, and retention.

Goal: To improve retention of new nurses by identifying issues early that can cause clinical nurses to leave and by helping new nurses adjust to their department and IU Health.

To download the Nurse Mentor Documentation:

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For more information regarding the IU Health Nurse Mentorship Program:

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