From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, June 11, 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

Q: I've been a staff development specialist for more than 10 years. Some colleagues in other disciplines—and even some nurses—ask me, "What exactly do you do?" How can I give them a quick, informative answer?

A: Good question. It is important that you are prepared to share a succinct explanation of what we do. After 30 years in the field, I am still surprised how little some healthcare colleagues know about our specialty.

I usually say something like, "I am responsible for providing education and training that helps nurses and other members of the hospital team stay up-to-date on the latest patient care treatment options. Our services help to improve patient care delivery and job performance by offering staff members the education they need to do their jobs."

This is a simplified answer, but it gets the message across that we are integral to patient outcomes. I only mentioned "treatment care options" because people asking this question want a quick, easy-to-understand answer. If I went into detail about all of our services, people would tune out.

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