Christine Pabico, PhD, RN, NE-BC

What is your job title? Director, American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Pathway to Excellence ® Program

For how long have you worked as a nurse? 25 years

What is your favourite thing about being a nurse?

Aside from having the privilege to make a difference in the life of patients who come to seek care at their most vulnerable times, nurses are key to improving our population’s health and healthcare. We make up more than half of the healthcare workforce. Collectively, we can have a powerful voice. Nurses are also highly respected in the US and I feel proud to be in a profession that has been voted as most trusted for 18 years in a row. In addition, I value the growth opportunities and variability in roles Nursing offers. I’ve always been a faithful cheerleader for my colleagues, giving constant encouragement that the opportunities in Nursing are endless.

What are you passionate about?

My biggest passion has always been to empower and give nurses a voice and to safeguard their wellbeing. My proudest contribution to nursing is in leading and advocating for the creation of positive professional practice environments for nurses worldwide. The impact of my advocacy for nurses is reflected in my progressive leadership roles. At Inova Fairfax Hospital, my efforts to create a positive practice environment resulted in decreased vacancy rates from 40% to 0% and a waiting list to work on my units. Many of the initiatives I implemented were recognized as best practices and adopted hospital-wide. My current role as the director of the ANCC Pathway to Excellence program has allowed me to have an even greater influence to create supportive environments for nurses and make an impact on a wider scale. Pathway to Excellence recognizes organizations that value the contribution of nurses and commit to establishing a workplace that enables them to thrive. In my 8-year tenure, Pathway-designated organizations have expanded from 12 to 35 states and 6 countries outside of the Unites States. This growth reflects the successful transformation of work cultures in different settings with positive impact for 85,000 nurses around the globe. Nurse Managers (NM) play an essential role in creating positive practice environments.

As frontline leaders, they set the tone for the unit’s culture. They are also well positioned to influence the practice environment because they can remove obstacles that lead to staff dissatisfaction and frustration. NMs’ effectiveness in their role, however, is influenced by their leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities. Since many of the current NMs are reporting the lack of leadership experience, and inconsistency in the quality of onboarding (at times nonexistent) when promoted into the role, advocating for preparation and support for NMs is something I’ve also become passionate about.

What are your aspirations for the future?

My next goal is to be inducted to the American Academy of Nursing (AAN). Doing so will provide me wider opportunities to advance practice, research, and health policies. In addition, I am also trying to be more engaged in committees and expert panels such as the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative to Improve Clinician Well-being, and AAN’s panel for Building Health Care System Excellence to share my expertise in practice environments and leadership development. Finally, I plan to conduct more research. I am currently leading the Pathway Research Taskforce with the purpose of creating a research agenda to further support the impact of positive practice environments on nursing and patient outcomes. I also would like to extend the research I recently completed exploring nurse manager competencies. Knowledge generated from this will be valuable in urging policy makers and hospital administrators to invest in the preparation and continued development of NMs.