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Developing an Academic and Professional Network

Developing an Academic and Professional Network

I have identified and secured the participation of the following academic (at least two) and professional (at least two) individuals and/or teams to form the basis of my network. This network will help me to clarify my vision for success and will help guide me now and in the future.


 Name: Nina Bell

Title: Contributing faculty at the PhD committee for the Health Education and Health Promotion

Organization: Walden University

Academic or Professional: Academic

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practising nurse:


I consider Dr. Nina Bell as an important part of my academic and professional network. Firstly, I believe she can support me academically as I continue to learn how to be a competent nurse practitioner technically and in other soft skills. Dr. Bell has already accomplished academically in matters of healthcare and nursing. She currently holds a master’s degree and a PhD in public health. In addition, she is my major academic and professional network because she got both her master’s and PhD from Walden University. Dr. Bell also has extensive experience teaching in physical classrooms and online. She has over seven years of experience teaching virtual classes and full-time teaching experience in multiple higher learning institutions, including Ashford University, the former Argosy University. Besides teaching, she has experience spanning over 20 years in public health and is also the author of a community and public health textbook. Dr. Nina Bell is also a resourceful academic network as she is currently a member of Walden’s PhD committee for the Health Education and Health Promotion area. At the committee, she is tasked with supporting students in the development of their dissertations. This means that, as a member of my professional and academic network, Dr. Bell will provide much-needed guidance throughout my academic career in the MSN program as well as in understanding the healthcare market during my practice as an NP.


 Name: Johnna Darragh Ernst

Title: Contributing Faculty

Organization: Walden University and Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences

Academic or Professional: Academic

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practising nurse:


Johnna Ernst is another professional within the Walden University teaching faculty and a professional who can guide me academically and professionally. I admire Johnna Ernst due to her experience and knowledge in higher education and preparing nurses to be competent to operate efficiently from the classroom to the hospital and other practice settings. Notably, Johnna Ernst has over 20 years of experience as a tutor in higher education settings. She has also authored two books that guide practitioners in the field of early childhood care. The major reason for having Johnna Ernst as a part of my academic and professional network is her experience in the fields of professional development and inclusion. I understand and appreciate the dynamic nature of the nursing profession. The nursing profession provides one with an opportunity to continuously grow at a personal level and professionally. In addition, nurses, especially nurse practitioners, will be in high demand to meet the growing demands for healthcare as the population ages and new diseases and healthcare risks emerge. NPs with broad skills, from providing clinical care to managing healthcare organizations, will be required to steer national and global health. This requires adopting a continuing professional development (CPD) plan that ensures that nurses commit to lifelong learning and keep their skills and competencies up-to-date with market shifts and demands (Mlambo et al., 2021). Engaging in a CPD and reaching such potential requires having someone in the professional network who understands the healthcare market and the professional areas to develop as an NP. With her invested interest in professional development and inclusion, Johnna Ernst will help grow my NP potential. Besides helping me develop technically, her skills are essential in helping me improve my cultural competency to provide inclusive care regardless of my patients’ background. Therefore, I believe that Johnna Ernst will be resourceful in helping me excel academically, professionally, and personally, as well as develop versatile skills to practice and work in any environment throughout my career.


 Name: Dr. Mike T.

Title: MD, Licensed Physician and Mental Health Practitioner

Organization: Private Freelance Practitioner

Academic or Professional: Professional

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practising nurse:


Dr. Mike T is one of my role models, who I much admire. Many factors made me choose Dr. Mike as a part of my professional network throughout my academics and career. Firstly, I see him as a mentor on so many levels. Mentorship is one of the best approaches to acquiring clinical skills and other non-clinical professional skills, especially for the working nurse (Hoover et al., 2020). Secondly, he works privately and on a freelance basis. Freelancers tend to be flexible in all of their engagements and can make their own plans. Being a freelancer means he understands the healthcare market, especially in the field of mental health. Subsequently, connecting with Dr. Mike creates many opportunities to learn how to provide services as an employee or a contracted freelancer. As an MSN student, linking with Dr. Mike T will help me identify the skills I need to develop to be successful as a licensed nurse practitioner. Further, Dr Mike T’s extensive experience of over 28 years in the field and his dedication to mental health make him an exemplary figure whose guidance and insights could significantly contribute to my growth as a student nurse practitioner and a practising professional. Most importantly, Dr. Mike is dedicated to advocating for mental health and general health for both patients and practitioners. Advocacy for better care for patients and better working conditions and arrangements for nurse practitioners is one of my major aspirations for the future of my practice. Therefore, I believe connecting with Dr. T will help me enhance my professional skills and also empower me to be an effective advocate for mental health within the nursing community and beyond.


 Name: Jodi Fuehrer

Title: APRN, FNP-C

Organization: Pine Lake Behavioral Health & Medical

Academic or Professional: Professional

Why I selected this individual and/or team and how they will support my success in the MSN program and as a practising nurse:


Top of Form

Jodi Fuehrer is another valuable addition to my professional network. I admire her much for her academic and professional achievements. She is the perfect choice because of her multifaceted expertise in multiple nursing fields, including being a licensed mental health practitioner with an MSN qualification and a legal consultant in nursing matters. She also has over 31 years of extensive experience, which has contributed to her deep understanding of diverse areas of healthcare. Having Jodi Fuehrer as part of my professional and academic network can offer invaluable guidance as I pursue my MSN program. As an MSN student, I believe her experience in health promotion, mental health evaluation, and disorder assessment, among others, aligns well with the broader NP education curriculum, which aims to equip NPs with the skills and competencies to become effective practitioners in real-life practice settings. Connecting with Jodi Fuehrer during my MSN education will help me understand valuable knowledge that can help me during my transition from a nurse student to a practising nurse. Additionally, connecting with Jodi during my education will give me insights regarding how I can integrate different nursing disciplines and effectively manage the various challenges and opportunities that arise within these areas. Furthermore, since Jodi Fuehrer has a background in legal affairs in healthcare, having her as part of my academic and professional network will help me better understand the legal implications and considerations within nursing practice. Gaining knowledge on the legal side of healthcare during my MSN program can help me gain insight into and navigate potential challenges during practice.


Hoover, J., Koon, A. D., Rosser, E. N., & Rao, K. D. (2020). Mentoring the working nurse: a scoping review. In Human Resources for Health (Vol. 18, Issue 1).

Mlambo, M., Silén, C., & McGrath, C. (2021). Lifelong learning and nurses’ continuing professional development, a meta-synthesis of the literature. BMC Nursing, 20(1), 1–13.


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As you begin your journey toward achieving your academic and professional goals, you have a great opportunity to network with academics and professionals who can help ensure you do not travel alone. This network can help to clarify your own vision for success and can help guide you now and in the future. To paraphrase Donne, no one is an island.

Begin creating an academic and professional network by identifying which academic and professional connections and resources with which you need to collaborate to succeed in your MSN program and as a practicing nurse.

Developing an Academic and Professional Network

Developing an Academic and Professional Network

To Prepare:

Consider individuals, departments, teams, and/or resources within Walden University and within your profession that you believe can support your academic and professional success.

Identify at least two academic and at least two professional individuals, colleagues, or teams that might help you succeed in your MSN program and as a practising nurse.

Download the Academic Success and Professional Development Plan Template.

The Assignment:

Academic and Professional Network

Complete Part 1 of your Academic Success and Professional Development Plan Template. Be sure to address the following:

Identify at least twoacademic and at least two professional individuals or teams to collaborate with to be successful in your MSN program and as a practicing nurse.

Explain why you selected these individuals and/or teams and how they will support your success in the MSN program and as a practising nurse.

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