From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, February 19, 2010

Editor's note: Welcome to our new feature written by staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne will write about an important issue in the area of staff development or answer reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

I really need another position in my staff development department, but the budget is tight. Administration has offered me and a nurse manager the opportunity to share a position. Is this a good idea?

A: Sharing a position is certainly an option, but it can be tricky. Before you agree to this arrangement, you and the nurse manager need to clarify some important issues. Consider the following:

  • Do you and the nurse manager have a good working relationship? You will need one for this arrangement to work.
  • What percentage of the position is yours? The position should be shared equally and should be a full-time position of which 50% is devoted to staff development. Anything less than 50% would be too easily swallowed up by clinical responsibilities.
  • What will be the position's focus on the clinical unit? Will the role be a staff nurse, a clinical nurse specialist, or something else?
  • What will the focus of the position be in staff development?
  • What hours will be allotted to staff development? There needs to be a specific schedule of time that is devoted to staff development. It should not be expected that the position is pulled to the clinical unit every time someone calls in sick. The staff development role must not be secondary; it should be recognized as equally important to the clinical role.


I recommend that the person hired for this shared role, his or her manager, and you meet to clarify these issues before the roles are implemented. The three of you should schedule regular meetings during the first few months to evaluate the shared role and to make any changes necessary to facilitate its successful fulfillment.

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