Nursing

From the staff development bookshelf: What is staff development research? Part 2

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, September 23, 2011

Last week's issue of Staff Development Weekly defined staff development research.

Collaboration among staff development, researchers, and clinical staff can help to improve job performance and patient outcomes. This kind of endeavor enhances the culture of staff development in several ways, the most obvious being that of improving the organization's effectiveness. But research also implies a sophistication of practice. Using research findings to enhance practice fosters not only an enthusiasm for the research process but for actively pursuing excellence at advanced levels of practice.

What kinds of research questions can you think of that are appropriate for staff development collaboration? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • How does the education and training of preceptors influence retention of newly hired nurses?
  • Does the establishment of a mentor program contribute to increased job satisfaction?
  • How does distance learning compare to classroom style learning for specific education topics?
  • How does blended learning compare to all classroom or all distance learning in terms of learning, behavior, and results?
  • Do mock emergency drills (e.g. cardiac arrest, bomb threats) have an impact on staff behaviors in the actual work setting?
  • How does nursing orientation influence nursing retention?


Now, think about some research topic ideas that are purely staff development in nature. Here are some ideas:

  • How do staff development competencies influence job performance?
  • Does the level of experience of staff development personnel make a difference in the results of an education program?
  • Does the education level of staff development personnel make a difference in the results of an education program?
  • Does level of expertise correlate with burnout of staff development personnel?
  • Does learner satisfaction with method of teaching impact learning, behavior, and results?
  • Does learner satisfaction with faculty impact learning, behavior, and results?
  • Does presentation of evidence as it relates to the impact of education have a positive effect on how other departments perceive staff development?
  • Does presentation of evidence as it relates to the impact of education have an impact on the value administration places on staff development?


These are just some ideas of how research can be used in staff development. By using the findings from research projects such as these you can improve staff development services and enhance your pursuit of staff development excellence.

Source: Book excerpt adapted from
The Survival of Staff Development: Measure Outcomes and Demonstrate Value to Establish an Indispensable Department by Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN.

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