This group of nursing professionals is very near and dear to me considering I am a staff development trainer. This group of nurses holds advanced degrees including clinical nurse specialists and nurse educators. I spend the bulk of my professional time networking with this group and am privy to ongoing issues and concerns within this aspect of the nursing industry.
Through networking and attendance at continuing education conferences I’ve learned that many nurses in staff development are disgruntled with their positions, so much so that they are investigating other avenues both inside and outside of the profession. Again, this information saddens me and I needed to find out why….
An overwhelming number of staff development trainers state that nursing leadership “expects” staff development trainers to “fix” non-educational problems, including:
• Excessive staff absenteeism
• Violations of the dress code
• Conflict between staff members
• Insubordination with hospital leadership
• Global non-adherence to organizational policies and procedures
One staff development trainer stated that “everything is not an educational issue.” This trainer was recently asked to “fix” the behavior problems of a new graduate. Upon further investigation of this issue I learned that the new graduate was not completing assigned client care because of spending too much time talking with other staff and physicians. The staff development colleague was not sure how this issue was going to be “fixed” and had set a meeting with the manager to discuss what had already been done prior to moving forward.
Another staff development colleague wanted to know why most of the time the staff development trainer is “ignored” or minimized when on any particular care area yet when preparing for a regulatory agency site visit or other accrediting body survey the staff development trainer is “suddenly everyone’s best friend.” At this point another colleague piped up and stated that she believes staff development is a mostly treated like the unwanted orphan child by the organization. The organization has to employ staff development trainers because it is “required” to have this person on staff.
These comments caused me to reflect on the expectations that had been placed upon me when actively working as a staff development trainer. These colleagues raised issues that I’ve often felt and at times still face in this role. Staff development trainers may not be expected to know everything but are expected to know where to find “everything.” We also are not placed as equals with other members of the nursing leadership team yet we are expected to prepare staff for regulatory and accrediting body visits. Staff development professionals are often not compensated as well as those who hold management positions within organizations despite the expectation to have an advanced degree and teaching experience to secure the position.
It did not take me long to understand why staff development trainers dislike their jobs. But of course I needed to know what plans these professionals had to maintain their sanity while searching for other viable options. This is what I learned:
• Return to school to obtain a degree in another discipline
• Return to school and finish education at the doctorate level
• Leave nursing altogether and pursue life-long interests
• Focus on raising children and caring for elderly parents
• Deal with it
Next week I will share with you what I’ve learned about nursing professors and clinical instructors and why they as a group are also disappointed in their chosen careers. See you then!