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

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, November 11, 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

Stretching resources: Meeting the challenges of one-person Professional Development Departments

It's a challenge for all of us to find time to meet essential education needs let alone initiate innovative teaching methodologies. This is often a particular challenge for small departments, especially for one-person departments. Here are a few suggestions to help stretch the resources of small Professional Development Departments.

  • Offer learners a variety of apps related to healthcare. Today, many, if not most, people carry phones that have e-mail and Internet capability. There are apps available on every conceivable topic, including healthcare references and education. Since self-direction is a characteristic to be cultivated in adult learners, offering suggestions for apps as part of education encourages self-direction and learning on-demand.
  • Offer short bursts of learning sent directly to smart phones, etc. Collaborate with HR to develop a database of phone numbers. Be sure to emphasize that it is the learner's responsibility to update the data base. Don't ever assume responsibility for keeping track of changes in numbers.
  • Collaborate with local colleges and universities. Most faculty members need to publish and conduct research to advance professionally. By working with them you can develop a variety of projects, especially those that are research-oriented.
  • Contact your local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. Members are often interested in collaborating on education and research projects.
  • Collaborate with managers of other disciplines. Interdisciplinary education and research offers benefits to all and enhances working relationships.
  • Work with your Information Systems Department to develop a Professional Development Web page as part of the hospital's intranet and Internet sites. Learners love the convenience of on-demand Internet learning. You can post education information on a variety of sources quickly and efficiently in this way.
  • Be creative when using technology as a learning option. Don't just offer articles. Offer case studies that require some investigation on the part of the learner before solutions are revealed in a later posting. Use game formats such as crossword puzzles.

These are just a few suggestions. When time and staff are limited, take advantage of technology to help meet your needs.

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