Nurse Professional Development & Pathways

About the IU Health Nursing Professional Development & Pathways

The Professional Practice Council, made up of direct care clinical nurses from every facility, actively participated in the development of the Professional Development & Pathways model by identifying the importance of embedding the clinical nurse attributes into professional development and providing valuable feedback every step of the way.


Why did we develop the clinical nurse attributes?

A shared professional identity is vital to promote excellence and shape the future of nursing. Excellence must be defined in tangible ways to clarify expectation. Nursing leaders noted different cultures, multiple nursing job descriptions, and various expectations across the system. Nursing faced the challenges of a lack of clarity and unity which impacted professionalism and practice.

How did we identify the clinical nurse attributes?

Each chief nursing officer (CNO) used a crowdsourcing exercise to engage shared leadership council members at all of the facilities over a three month time period. The purpose of the exercise was to capture the voice of nursing into key attributes or characteristics of a professional nurse. Each nurse identified important attributes within a framework for thinking and then all nurses rated the attribute based on his/her perception of importance. The attributes with the highest evaluation points rose to the top to create a draft of potential key attributes. The attributes from all of the councils were discussed and refined at the system shared governance council until five key attributes were identified. The attributes were vetted at the Nurse Strategy Council made up of nursing leaders and CNOs from across the system. The collective contributions of nurses from across the system fueled additional planning and prioritization about nursing professional development and workforce strategy.

Framework Components

Education & Pathways

Ensure various opportunities for and access to professional development that advances learning of nurses at various experiential levels. These formal and informal opportunities assist nurses in acquiring skills and knowledge to advance a professional development plan.

Individual Development Plan

The foundation for professional development through self-assessment, reflection, & goal setting. The Individual Development Plan is owned by the individual nurse, is a living document, and aligns strengths and passions with short and long-term goals.

Professional Development Conversations

Professional development conversations help establish and match goals and strengths to opportunities within the system. The conversation is a structured and individualized discussion to facilitate personal development and support the progression of the individualized personal development plan.


Mentorship involves a mentor who is an advisor, leader and role model guiding the mentee along the journey of professional development and learning. This relationship is trusting, supportive and relationship-centered, built on foundational goals and milestones for the IU Health nurse.