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

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, June 24, 2011

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

Components of a staff development business plan

A business plan is an excellent way to plan and organize your departmental priorities and to deliver and evaluate your products and services. Many of us may not have a formalized business plan, which is a mistake. A sound business plan serves as a guide for practice and helps us to measure the impact education has on the organization.

Here is a sample outline of a business plan. Consider developing your own plan, which must reflect the organization's business plan. It should be practical and useful, not simply something written to satisfy an organizational mandate:

  • Values statement: The philosophy of your department, values describe the beliefs and principles that direct departmental activities.
  • Vision statement: An image of what you want your department's future to be.
  • Mission statement: Clearly communicates the purpose and direction of staff development activities to people within and outside of the department.
  • Departmental structure and description: Describes the roles of people working within the department, its reporting mechanism, and a brief overview of major responsibilities.
  • Products and services: Detailed descriptions of the products and services your department offers and how those products and services impact the organization.
  • Marketing: Describes the ways you market or promote your products and services to the organization and, as appropriate, to people or companies outside the organization.
  • Action plan: Describes objectives, responsibility for achieving those objectives, actions to be taken for objective achievement, timeframe for achievement, and how the success of achieving those objectives is evaluated.
  • Budget: A listing of income and expenses including any profit you anticipate making from your products and services.
  • Executive summary: A summary of your plan. This is the first section of your business plan, but it is written last and generally consists of the first paragraph of each section of the business plan. This means that these first paragraphs must grab the reader's attention and show how your department impacts organizational effectiveness. In many cases, the executive summary is the only portion of your plan that some administrators will read.

If you already have a business plan, review it for usefulness and evaluate it to determine whether it is a useful guide for your department. If you don't have a business plan, you need to write one. Be sure to include all members of the department so that your plan is a guide that all staff members want to follow.

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