Nurse Professional Development & Pathways

Nurse Development Pathways

Every nurse at IU Health requires a strong foundation in clinical practice and then grows into a chosen pathway. The pathways are flexible and will each contain all 4 components of the framework.

1. Self Assessment

StrengthsFinder 2.0

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
The StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment will assist you in identifying your natural talents and provide strategies for developing and applying your strengths. This assessment is foundational to knowing yourself and building your Individual Personal Development Plan. To find the assessment: Click Here It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete the assessment after reading the book. Once you start the test, you must finish the test uninterrupted.

Reflection Questions

Why did you enter the nursing profession and why do you stay in the field? Connect to your purpose.

Describe yourself as a nursing professional. How would your patients describe you? What would your peers say about you?

When do you feel successful? Can you pinpoint one example in which you were very successful in nursing? What are the details? To what do you attribute that success?

When do you feel least confident? Can you pinpoint one example in which you struggled in nursing? What are the details? To what do you attribute that struggle?

What part of your shift do you look forward to most? Which part do you dread? Why is that?

How do you influence the success of your department as a whole?

2. Professional Pathways

The five nursing pathways enable you to customize your professional development by selecting from a wide variety of growth and learning opportunities. All new IU Health clinical nurses start out on a Clinical Practice Pathway. When you have been in your position about one year, you can choose growth opportunities from any pathway. You are not confined to one particular pathway and can mix and match opportunities to achieve your developmental learning goals. If you have questions about the growth and learning opportunities at your facility, please reach out to your nursing leaders.

3. Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Click to download the IDP templateClick to download a sample plan. Profile for Education & Recruitment Guide

The IDP is the foundation for growth through self-assessment, reflection & goal setting. The IDP is owned by the individual nurse, is a living document, and aligns strengths and passions to short and long-term goals. Once you complete StrengthsFinder and the reflection questions, print the IDP or complete the form electronically.

Do you have a goal of working in a different nursing specialty in the future? Are you curious about what it is like to work in ICU or Labor & Delivery? Clinical nurses developed one page job/role profiles to help you explore roles in various nursing specialties and focus your development path to achieve your career goals.

IDP sections

  • Current State: What are your talents and strengths? What is your role/position and responsibilities? What are you passionate about?
  • Future State: Describe your goals for the near future and in the distant future. One year, 3 year and 5 year. What would you like to do? How do you see your career progressing? What difference would you like to make?
  • Resources: Who and what do you need to help reach your goals? Identify any tools, training, individuals, or information that will help you achieve your goals.
  • Learning Needs/acquiring skills: What do you think you need to learn or experience in order to achieve your goals? Use the professional pathways below to identify growth opportunities. For each goal, what specific actions can you take that will help you achieve your goal?
  • Time Frame: Establish realistic deadline for completing each action item.
  • Measure of Success: What do you think successfully reaching your goal would look like?
  • Include your name and the date you began.

Once you complete the IDP, schedule your Professional Development Conversation with your Clinical Manager. This connection will occur during your birth month at a minimum. Please feel free to schedule conversations more often if you have questions or would like guidance for your professional development. Please provide a copy of your updated IPD plan to your Clinical Manager each time you meet.


Seek guidance and mentoring from leaders, clinical educators/professional development specialist, CNSs, peers, and other people in your life that are inspirational to you. The growth opportunities under the Pathways tabs include general information about next steps if you are interested. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your leaders.

4. Professional Development Conversations

Professional development conversations will help clinical nurses establish and match goals and strengths to opportunities within the system. The conversation is a structured and individualized discussion with the Clinical Manager to facilitate personal development and support the progression of the individualized personal development plan. This conversation will occur at a minimum of yearly during the clinical nurses’ birth month and can be scheduled more frequently based on goals and questions.

Key Questions for Clinical Nurse Reflection before the Conversation

Prior to the conversation, the clinical nurse will reflect on their self-assessment and professional journey.

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: The presence of a mentorship environment cultivates a healthy work environment and has positive outcomes for team members and patients.

Goal: To assist nurses with professional growth and development to achieve personal and professional goals. The focus of mentoring includes topics that impact growth and development, role changes, engagement, and retention.

To download the Nurse Mentor Documentation:

Click Here

For more information regarding the IU Health Nurse Mentorship Program:

Click Here