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

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, April 29, 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

The role of the expert in nursing staff development

Using Benner's (1984) clinical model as a guide, experts are the most sophisticated staff development practitioners. They have a minimum of 10 years of experience in the specialty and function on an intuitive, instinctive level. They are able to quickly grasp the essentials of any staff development situation (Avillion, 2011). Experts often function as managers of staff development departments and may even reach the level of a vice-president position of education in a large health system.

Experts possess a doctorate degree in nursing, adult education, or related field, or they are in pursuit of such a degree. They promote staff development research and actively seek to add to the body of knowledge that is staff development.

Some sample job description statements for experts include (Avillion, 2011):

  • Ensures that the most current and innovative teaching strategies are used to meet learner needs and provide quality education
  • Ensures that all five levels of evaluation are implemented as appropriate
  • Ensures that EBP in staff development is the foundation for all staff development activities
  • Chairs committees at the organizational level
  • Analyzes data from committees and applies it to EBP in staff development

Note how experts are responsible for the overall implementation of sophisticated staff development strategies. They also have responsibilities at the organizational level.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the five levels of expertise discussed in this newsletter over the past few weeks. Contact me at I look forward to hearing from you!

Avillion, A. E. (2011). Professional Growth in Staff Development: Strategies for New and Experienced Educators. Danvers, MA: HCPro.
Benner, P. (1984). From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley.

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