Nursing Professional Development / Staff Development Coordinators

Specialties Educators


Members of nursing staff are a significant, if not arguably the most important, human resource employed by modern day health systems since hospitals and other healthcare facilities exist chiefly for the provision of nursing care. In other words, these facilities would cease to exist without staff such as the licensed nurses, nursing assistants and technicians who provide patient care.

It is imperative that these members of nursing staff have a continual stream of education, training, feedback and other tools at their disposal to cultivate professional development. Thus, the nursing staff development coordinator (also known as the director of staff development or DSD) is a multifaceted professional who possesses a vital role in today's healthcare organizations.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines staff development as "a process consisting of orientation, inservice education, and continuing education for the purpose of promoting the development of personnel within any employment setting consistent with the goals and responsibilities of the employer."

American Nurses' Association. "Definitions and Model." Standards for Continuing Education in Nursing (Kansas City, MO: ANA, 1984): 5.


The nurse staff development coordinator (SDC) devises and helps provide education that reinforces the various skill sets of employees in the nursing department. The SDC supports, conducts and oversees an ongoing system of education for members of nursing staff with a focus on professional development. Additional responsibilities include formulating educational resources, arranging for orientation of newly hired employees, assessing the unique training needs of established staff, organizing inservices, and participating in the hiring process.

The SDC also pinpoints basic competencies, identifies appropriate preceptors, ensures that all mandatory education is delivered, and collaborates with other departments to facilitate safety training. Some organizations may require the SDC to maintain vaccination records, track employee injuries, monitor the educational budget, provide information on tuition assistance, and work closely with the infection control nurse to monitor employees' illnesses.

Work Environment

The SDC typically works during daylight hours in climate-controlled settings such as hospitals, long term care facilities, residential care facilities, and other types of heathcare settings. Occasional evening and weekend work might be required; however, the SDC usually works from Monday through Friday.

Educational Requirements

The vast majority of SDC positions require that candidates possess RN licensure; additionally, a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree is preferred by many companies. Furthermore, many organizations demand that candidates have several years of relevant bedside nursing experience prior to applying for these positions. Previous experience in staff development or education will definitely work to an applicant's advantage.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, training and development managers earned a median income of $95,400 annually in 2012.


Training and Development Managers : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

1. I believe that the $95,000 salary figure quoted in the above article is for "training and development managers" in a wide variety of fields -- not just nursing. They typical salary for nursing staff development educators is significantly below that. Unit-based educators with only BSN's usually have a base pay slightly higher than an average staff nurse ... but usually make less than the most experienced staff nurses who may have a higher base pay and get differentials for working off-shifts. Higher level positions in nursing staff development may require a Master's Degree and/or relevant certification.

2. The nursing specialty is called "Nursing Professional Development" (NPD) and there is a certification in NPD available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Here is a link to the ANCC webpage: Nursing Professional Development

3. People interested in learning more about the specialty of Nursing Professional Development should explore the website of the

Association of Nursing Professional Development. Here is a link to the organzation's homepage. ANPD - Association for Nursing Professional Development ANPD offers many resources for those interested in learning about nursing professional development -- a regular journal, conferences, books, etc.

llg, PhD, RN-BC (Nursing Professional Development Specialist)


15 Posts

Someone knows what is it this position in the UK?.


1,026 Posts

Does one need to have a master's degree?

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

176 Articles; 27,610 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.
Does one need to have a master's degree?
Not necessarily. My best friend is an RN with an ASN degree who works as a staff development coordinator. Also, many long term care facilities in my area utilize LPNs/LVNs as staff development coordinators due to the cost savings.

However, many major acute care hospital systems, teaching hospitals, and universities prefer to hire MSN-prepared or Ph.d-prepared nurses into this role.


67 Posts

Specializes in med, surg,trauma, triage, research.

Like mabpguy, I'd be interested to know if there are any equivalent posts in UK? Will follow up links though thanks for this thecommuter....if you could get your friend to join the thread ?.....


12 Posts

I was recently hired to a LTC facility because they were seeking someone with their Master' it looks like it just depends on the facility....and the pay is fantastic...I make more now than I did in management....just depends on the company..

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

6,840 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I have recently accepted this position with a major metroplex employer...super stoked to read this and get the links from llg. Thank you! Pay is definitely not 95K per year, but it is over 80k, which is great to get without having to work OT.

Overtime Mom

39 Posts

Are professional development/clinical educator positions usually hourly or salaried???

Specializes in All.

I am looking into applying for a Staff Development coordinator job in my area. It only requires a BSN but I do have a Master's Degree and an extensive education background. My question is this - do most LTC facilities require you to work the floor sometimes as well?


allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

6,840 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I think a lot of LTC positions do require this. It would be a good question to ask in your interview.

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