From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, April 9, 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 am a one-person staff development department. I am feeling overwhelmed and need to organize my work load so that I can be what I was hired to be: a continuing education expert.

A: I spent many years as a one-person department, so I truly understand your dilemma. Here are some suggestions:

  • Eliminate tasks that are inappropriate uses of your time. For example, you should not be responsible for scheduling classrooms and audiovisual equipment. I know that I wasted a great deal of time with those kinds of tasks. Seek out your boss' support. Point out that these responsibilities are not a cost-efficient use of your time.
  • Develop a resource list of vendors who are willing to help with inservice activities as they pertain to new equipment, medications, etc. Vendors usually welcome the chance to work closely with healthcare organizations in hopes of additional business.
  • Develop and implement a train-the-trainer course to train interested staff members (from many departments, not just nursing). These are invaluable resources for just-in-time training.
  • Establish collaborative relationships with professors of nursing, physical therapy, etc. who have clinical affiliations with your organization. Professors are an excellent educational resource and may be willing to collaborate on CE endeavors.
  • Consider working with colleagues from other healthcare organizations. You are not alone in being understaffed and overworked. Collaboration on the development and implementation of education is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
  • Develop collaborative relationships with online continuing education companies for CE purposes. There are many such companies, but all are not equal. Make sure they are providers of CE and can award contact hours. Ask for a list of other organizations who use specific companies and talk to your counterparts in these organizations for references.

These are just a few options, but should give you some ideas to make your workload more manageable.

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