From the desk of Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 18, 2011

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing staff development expert Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of staff development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Focus on staff development and eliminate extra tasks

Staff development departments are often the recipients of tasks that management or administration doesn't know what to do with. Why do we allow ourselves to be used in this manner? We need all of our time, resources, and energy, to produce products and services that have a measureable impact on organizational effectiveness. We need to identify those tasks that are not relevant to our mission and vision. For example:

  • Is your department responsible for scheduling classrooms, conference rooms, and the use of audiovisual (AV) equipment? Are you expected to deliver AV equipment to people who have reserved them? Why? This is a serious waste of time. A volunteer can take over scheduling responsibilities. There are computer software programs that can organize such scheduling. People who reserve equipment should pick it up. You are not a delivery service.
  • Are you responsible for coordinating Nurses Week activities such as ordering presents and coordinating receptions? Why? It is appropriate to organize education events for that week. It is not appropriate to be expected to do these things because no one else has the time to do them. Neither do you.
  • On what committees do you serve? Are they relevant to education? Is there a link between these committees and the effect of education?

These are just a few examples and we should all clean house so that we can focus on education.

After you've identified extraneous tasks, approach the person to whom you report. Come prepared with justification as to why these tasks are not appropriate for your department, and how you can improve education products and services with the time you will gain by eliminating such extraneous tasks. Be able to show how you are objectively gathering evidence that links education and improved organizational functioning.

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