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

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 25, 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

More about NPD quality monitoring

Last week I talked about the importance of monitoring the effectiveness of orientation and selecting indicators that are linked to organizational goals and objectives. Orientation effectiveness has an impact on recruitment, retention, preceptor effectiveness, and patient outcomes. Without a doubt all nursing professional development (NPD) departments should be monitoring orientation effectiveness as part of their quality indicators. Evidence pertaining to the impact of orientation is one of the most important factors in NPD.

What other indicators are important? Those programs that ultimately have the greatest impact on organizational effectiveness take priority. For example, is there a “push” for you to offer programs such as ACLS certification? How do you know the impact of certification? Do patient outcomes improve in association with the number of certified nurses? 

What about the never-ending issue of mandatory training? We are frequently making changes to the way we provide such training and its content. Are you collecting evidence to measure effectiveness before and after changes? If communication skills are part of your mandatory training do patient complaints decrease after education is provided?

Do you have a nursing research department in your organization? Collaborate with this department to measure the impact of education on treatment choices, job performance, and patient outcomes. Work with the faculty (many of whom are trained in the research process) from your student affiliations. Contact your Sigma Theta Tau chapter to seek out opportunities for assistance with NPD research.

The bottom line is that you need to be able to provide evidence that education has a positive impact on job performance and patient outcomes.

Next week I will discuss how to present such evidence in a logical, concise, and coherent manner. In November I will share the results of reader responses to my question about the structure of NPD departments.

In the meantime, would some of you be willing to share what you are monitoring to measure the impact of education?

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