Ask the expert: Writing job descriptions for staff development professionals

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, May 29, 2009

This week, Barbara Brunt, MA, MN, RN, BC, provides questions to consider before writing a nursing professional development (NPD) educator job description.

Q: What questions should I consider before writing the NPD educator job description?

A: The qualifications for being an NPD educator vary from setting to setting and are contingent on the roles and responsibilities of the department. There are various questions to consider before writing a position description, such as the following:

  • What is the organization's philosophy, mission, vision, and values?
  • What are the goals and objectives of the education department?
  • What services does the education department provide (e.g., orientation, inservices, continuing education)?
  • What are the reporting relationships?
  • What educational qualifications are required for the position?
  • What skills are required for the position?
  • What is the organizational structure (e.g., centralized, decentralized, or a combination)?  

The structure of an educational department will guide the development of position descriptions, since educators may function differently in centralized versus decentralized or combination structures. In centralized models, staff development activities are performed by a core team of educators reporting to a single director. Decentralized models locate the responsibility for staff development at the level of the nursing department, a subdivision of that department, or at the unit level.  

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