Evidence-based expert: Show the value of your staff development programs

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, December 26, 2008

This week's expert, Adrianne Avillion, D. Ed., RN, explains how educators can demonstrate the effect of their staff development programs.

Q. My boss is asking me to show that my staff development programs are having an effect on nursing performance at my hospital. How do I show this?

A. Staff development practice has come a long way from the days when success was measured by how many persons attended a given education program or how many programs were offered within a specific time frame. Today, it is imperative that staff development specialists be able to provide evidence that their offerings positively affect  organizational effectiveness. To do this, evidence must be gathered showing an association between education and outcomes pertaining to entities such as accreditation status, job performance, and patient outcomes. Benchmarks and best practices in staff development must be used as guides when developing and implementing products and services. This mandates that evidence-based practice, a given in clinical services, becomes part of staff development practice as well. Evidence-based practice in staff development should include:

  • Evaluation of current products and services for their effectiveness
  • Identification of best practices in staff development based on evidence
  • Evaluation of how staff development products and services are being delivered in light of best practices
  • Establishment of a mechanism for incorporating research into staff development practice

Staff development specialists must be experts in adaptation to provide educational resources that help ensure that the quality of patient care remains safe, appropriate, and of high quality. To meet this challenge, staff development departments must establish sound operational foundations based on evidence of best practices and benchmarks.

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