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

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

The impact of education

After last week’s article pertaining to “other duties as assigned” I received some comments and questions about how to measure the impact of education. I thought it might be timely, over the next few weeks, to discuss measuring the impact of education.

The foundation of measuring the impact of education is the same as assessing and determining clinical practice: Evidence Based Practice (EBP). Nursing professional development (NPD) departments must be grounded in EBP in order to make rational decisions and measure the effectiveness of their services.

A good starting point is to take a close look at the current organizational goals and objectives and determine how NPD goals correlate with organizational priorities. For example, if the organization has identified a particular specialty as a priority (e.g. developing a stroke unit, seeking to become a certified trauma center) that dictates target education needs. If readmissions are a problem, you need to investigate, in conjunction with appropriate committees such as infection control, risk management, etc., why the readmissions are occurring and what education needs to be provided to reduce the problem.

Is recruitment and retention a problem? That necessitates a look at orientation, precepting, and horizontal violence. In other words, your priorities must match those of the organization.

Have you determined what your fiscal year goals and objectives are? Do they match those of the organization? How are your services going to help achieve organizational goals? Do the mission, vision, and values of the NPD department reflect those of the organization?

You need to establish an NPD departmental plan that includes mission, vision, values, annual goals, and objectives that correlate with those of the organization. So many times we are swamped with “training on demand” needs that we forget that we need a foundation of practice the same as any other department. We cannot rely on being “part” of the nursing department’s goals and objectives, mission, etc. We certainly need to reflect those ideals, but we need to establish our own. In summary, the first step in EBP in NPD is to:

  • Review the mission, vision, and values of the organization
  • Review the current goals and objectives of the organization
  • Review or write NPD mission, vision, and values statements that reflect those of the organization
  • Review NPD goals and objectives and edit, if needed, to correlate with those of the organization
  • Review or re-determine NPD priorities based on goals and objectives that will help the organization achieve its identified goals and objectives

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