Inside the program: Presenting your data to leadership

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, February 1, 2010

When presenting data to leadership about the effects of staff development training, be prepared for those who will challenge you to provide concrete proof that education was directly responsible for positive results. This type of proof is generally impossible to gather. Don’t let this deter you from conducting evaluations. You can not be absolutely certain whether behavior changes and corresponding results are because of education or due to another source.

However, you can provide evidence that a link exists between education and results by collecting the data previously described. This is another good reason to involve your colleagues in data collection. Your evidence may indicate that education was effective, but also that the actions of managers or others contributed to positive results. Gather allies by explaining how your evaluation process will make them look good, too. Do not use the word “proof” when presenting your data. It’s too easily disputed. To prove an exact cause-and-effect relationship between education and results, you would have to eliminate all other factors that might have influenced behaviors. In a healthcare setting, this is nearly impossible. Use the word “evidence” instead.

Here are more examples of factors that can link education with positive organizational results:

  • Decreased staff turnover
  • Decreased patient falls
  • Decreased medication errors
  • Decreased employee injuries
  • Decreased employee sick days
  • Increase in customer (i.e., patient/family) satisfaction
  • Increased profitability

Source: A Practical Guide to Staff Development: Evidence-Based Tools and Techniques for Effective Education (Second Edition)

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