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Staff development educators: Helping to improve patient outcomes

Nurses have long focused on providing high-quality, evidence-based care to help achieve better patient outcomes—and staff development educators are crucial to this endeavor. We asked Barbara Brunt, MA, MN, RN-BC, President of the National Nursing Staff Development Organization (NNSDO), to tell readers about the organization and the vital role the staff development educator plays in helping nurses perform their best.

What are the staff educator’s responsibilities?
Staff educators work in various settings, but most practice in hospitals or healthcare systems. In those settings, they orient nurses and unlicensed staff, evaluate annual competencies, provide in-service programs and continuing education, coordinate preceptor programs, and support research and unit-based education. Many staff educators also help their facilities obtain and maintain Magnet status.

How does NNSDO help staff educators improve the quality of patient care?
NNSDO’s most important membership benefit is information sharing. We provide a forum to help educators communicate about what others are doing to address similar issues and to advise on what works and what doesn’t. Communication takes place through our newsletter, journal, listserv, online forums, and conventions.
Also, through our website’s Resource Network mentoring program, members can get advice from staff educators with expertise in various areas. And our Small Grants Program, which funds small research projects for novice researchers, makes a mentor available to guide novices through the research process. Through this program, staff development educators can directly affect bedside care.

What are some other membership benefits?
NNSDO provides a platform for staff development nurses to discuss current issues and trends. Also, members get discounts on convention fees, NNSDO publications, and certification and recertification fees. Nurses interested in becoming more involved can join our various committees. Plus, in the members-only area of our website, they can network with other members.
To learn more, visit www.nnsdo.org and see for yourself what NNSDO can do for your career.


  1. What is the nursing educator to nurse staff ratio? How many staff to one nursing educator role per department is the standard?


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