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

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, February 17, 2012

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

Measuring staff development's impact on organizational outcomes
If you can demonstrate a link between educational products and services that you develop and a positive impact on the organization, you stand a better chance of surviving when position and budget cuts threaten the staff development department. In other words, you are demonstrating your value in measureable ways.

The most obvious way to demonstrate these kinds of links is with specific education programs. Suppose you have made specific revisions to your facility's nursing orientation. By comparing evidence such as turnover, length of retention following orientation, and preceptor evaluations of orientees before and after these revisions, you may be able to demonstrate a link between your revisions and a decrease in turnover, an increase in retention, and/or more positive preceptor evaluations of employees.

Another example may be related to interpersonal communication skills, which can be a challenge in most organizations. An increase in patient complaints and/or reports of peer bullying trigger the need for education. Comparing data pertaining to patient complaints and/or reports of peer bullying before and after you implement an interpersonal communication skills program can help to show an association between your initiatives and positive outcomes.

Do not limit your evidence strictly to education programs, though. Nursing professional development (NPD) specialists are valuable members of hospital councils and committees, and are often called on to assume the role of chairpersons. Look at how the goals and objectives of councils and committees are achieved.

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