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

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, June 10, 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 independent nursing professional development specialist: Self-employed and self-empowered

Have you ever dreamed of using your education skills in an independent setting? Have you reached the point where you sometimes think, "If I have to teach CPR one more time or conduct nursing orientation again, I'll just scream!" You are not alone. Some of our colleagues have found the answer to this dilemma is pursuit of the entrepreneurial dream.

Self-employment is both rewarding and frightening. You may want to take this step slowly, starting out as a part-time entrepreneur while holding on to your current position, rather than taking the plunge and being your own boss on a full-time basis. Or perhaps you are looking for something different on a part-time basis.

What kinds of opportunities are available for nursing professional development (NPD) specialists who want to be self-employed entrepreneurs? There are many and depend on your own unique talents and interests. Here are a few ideas:

  • Do you enjoy working with nursing students? Academic institutions are often looking for faculty to supervise students in clinical settings. This may be an ideal part-time approach for initiating your own business. You may find that working with students is something you have always wanted to do, but not necessarily as a professor.
  • Do you enjoy mentoring others? If so, think about a consultant role. Many organizations would welcome the services of an experienced consultant as they pursue various accreditations such as ANCC Magnet Recognition Program(r) accreditation. Other organizations are looking for help from experts in competency program development, relationship-based patient care, or any one of dozens of programs that you, as an NPD specialist, have helped to coordinate and implement.
  • Do you enjoy writing? Many healthcare professionals need assistance from experienced, published writers with their own writing projects. Or you may want to write for one or more of the numerous online healthcare education companies who need content writers.
  • Do you enjoy drawing? You may be able to combine your healthcare knowledge with that talent and offer your services to publication companies who specialize in healthcare topics and are in need of illustrators.

These are just a few ideas. Your skills in staff development can be translated into a myriad of entrepreneurial opportunities.

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