Tips from BESD: Characterizing staff development specialists according to Benner’s levels of expertise

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 6, 2010

There are several reasons for characterizing staff development specialists. Clinical nurses are generally characterized according to their clinical expertise, sometimes via advancement programs such as clinical ladders. Why should we not look at staff development specialists in much the same way?

It is important for staff development practice to be analyzed and promoted in much the same way as clinical nursing. We are responsible for providing education that enhances clinical practice and patient outcomes. It is past time that we provide opportunities for our own continuing education that enhance education delivery and link that delivery to organizational improvements.

Benner's (1984) levels of expertise have been a foundation for the characterization of clinicians for years. These levels can also be used in the staff development arena. Consider how each level can be adapted to our specialty and further used when filling vacancies and developing a clinical ladder for staff development specialists.

Editor's note: Subscribers to Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development can read the rest of this article in the August 2010 issue. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development.

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