Nurse practitioners are a diverse group of health care providers. We celebrate that diversity. While acknowledging that diversity we also recognize the commonalities that form the basis of advanced practice. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) Nurse Practitioner Network meets monthly to discuss both educational and professional topics. This forum allows for NPs from every subspecialty to network with their peers.

Central to our identity are the values we hold. It is this set of values that forms a foundation for our day-to-day practice as well as our dreams and aspirations for our individual and common professional growth. In the interest of explicating our common values and committing to them as a means of promoting our common good, we propose the following four statements as core values of the University of Maryland Nurse Practitioner Network:

Collaboration is the means by which nurse practitioners provide care to patients. It is the respectful cooperation between disciplines and between different levels of practitioners within each discipline. Collaboration has an active, assertive agenda that promotes the achievement of mutually agreed upon goals. It assumes a level of competence and professional credibility that earns the respect and deference of other disciplines.

Personal Professional Growth is a fundamental obligation of all professionals. Opportunities for professional development must be pursued to meet both personal and organizational goals for which the nurse practitioner is accountable. Nothing relieves the individual practitioner of the personal obligation to pursue new knowledge and experience.

Organizational Professional Growth is essential if advanced nursing practice is to be nurtured in the organization and therefore successful. Nurse practitioners should be guiding the development of advanced practice in the medical center by leading discussions of the scope of NP practice; appropriate organizational and system policies that best use the skills and advantages of advanced nursing practice and the nature of collaborative relationships in the delivery of clinical care to specific patient populations. Nurse practitioners should be in the forefront of education for administrators, physicians, consumers and other disciplines about the nature and scope of advanced nursing practice.

Professional Role Development: Mentoring both novice and experienced practitioners is essential because the success of all depends to some degree on the success of each. Whether the practitioner is new to the role or new to the system, mentoring benefits both the person and the system. If we have a true commitment to collaboration then we also have an obligation to model that behavior among ourselves. There is no arena where collaboration is more critical than in the socialization and cultural orientation of new practitioners. The role of mentor is critical to this process and goes beyond teaching of facts and sharing of protocols.