Professional Development Specialist-RN - Comprehensive Medical Stepdown

Job Description

The Stepdown Unit Professional Development Specialist (PDS) is a self-directed, professional registered nurse with advanced knowledge and expertise specific to his/her clinical area. The PDS serves as an educator, change agent, researcher, servant leader role model and mentor. The PDS role is developed in relationship to responsibilities and specialty population of practice. The PDS will be centrally based/department based and may have additional responsibilities within the department as the need arises.


Follows Standards of Practice

Standard 1: Assessment of Practice Gaps

  • The nursing professional development specialist analyzes issues, trends and supporting data to determine the needs of individuals, organizations, and communities in relation to health care.

Standard 2: Identification of Learning Needs

  • The nursing professional development specialist collects data and information to validate an identified gap in professional practice and to determine the specific knowledge, skill, or practice deficit or opportunity.

Standard 3: Outcomes Identification

  • The nursing professional development specialist identifies desired outcomes of the educational plan.

Standard 4: Planning

  • The nursing professional development specialist establishes a plan that prescribes strategies, alternatives, and resources to achieve expected outcomes.

Standard 5: Implementation

  • The nursing professional development specialist implements the identified plan.

Standard 5a: Coordination

  • The nursing professional development specialist coordinates educational initiatives and activities.

Standard 5b: Facilitation of Positive Learning and Practice Environments

  • The nursing professional development specialist employs strategies to facilitate positive learning and practice environments.

Standard 6: Evaluation

  • The nursing professional development specialist evaluates progress toward attainment of outcomes.

Standard 7: Ethics

  • The nursing professional development specialist integrates ethics in all areas of practice.

Standard 8: Education

  • The nursing professional development specialist maintains current knowledge and competency in nursing and professional development practice.

Standard 9: Evidence-based Practice and Research

  • The nursing professional development specialist acts as a champion of scientific inquiry, generating new knowledge and integrating best available evidence into practice.

Standard 10: Quality of Nursing Professional Development Practice

  • The nursing professional development specialist systematically enhances the quality and effectiveness of nursing professional development practice.

Standard 11: Change Management

  • The nursing professional development specialist acts as a change agent within all settings.

Standard 12: Leadership

  • The nursing professional development specialist provides leadership in the professional practice setting and the profession.

Standard 13: Collaboration

  • The nursing professional development specialist collaborates with interprofessional teams, leaders, stakeholders and others to facilitate nursing practice and positive outcomes for consumers.

Standard 14: Professional Practice Evaluation

  • The nursing professional development specialist evaluates personal practice in relation to professional practice standards and guidelines, and relevant statutes, rules, and regulations.

Standard 15: Resource Utilization

  • The nursing professional development specialist considers factors related to quality, safety, effectiveness and cost regarding professional development activities and expected outcomes.

Standard 16: Mentorship/Advancing the Profession

  • The nursing professional development specialist advances the profession and the specialty through mentoring and contributions to the professional development of others.

Duties and Responsibilities: Onboarding:


  1. Communicates with new employee before start date to make introductions, identify learning style, provides an overview of the orientation process and attempt to alleviate fears and apprehensions.


  1. Collaborates with the Clinical Manager when a new hire is finalized and hire date is established. There will be discussion regarding new employee's previous work history, clinical background and possible learning needs.

Identification of Educational Outcomes

  1. Prepares a competency-based unit orientation for new hires based on objectives and needs of orientee.


  1. Prepares a clinical orientation schedule for each new employee based on the employee's previous work experience and clinical background.
  2. Collaborates with manager to identify a compatible preceptor and determine the anticipated length of orientation.


  1. Works closely with Orientation Team to ensure new employees have attended all classroom orientation before being oriented to the clinical department.
  2. Schedules and facilitates "class day" for a new employee that is scheduled on the unit to acclimate the new staff member to the physical environment, department standards, performance expectations, and requirements and competencies identified in the new employee's job description.
  3. Provides instruction to new employee on infection control, emergency equipment and typical equipment/products used in the department.
  4. Review importance of customer service.
  5. Provides new employee with a Clinical Performance Record.


  1. Has daily conversations with preceptor regarding orientee's competency-based orientation plan. Follows up to ensure preceptor documents daily progress.
  2. Meets with orientee, preceptor and manager (if necessary) during the clinical orientation to discuss progress, set new goals, facilitate conflict resolution strategies and provide feedback.
  3. Evaluates and documents orientee's progress weekly.
  4. Provides input into the 90 day evaluation of all new employees.
  5. Encourages new hires to evaluate the orientation process and makes revision to orientation content based on this input.

Duties and Responsibilities: On-Going Staff Education:


  1. Evaluates the learning needs of the staff at least annually.


  • Maintains current knowledge of nursing practice in the clinical setting.
  • Keeps abreast of educational requirements for all job categories which pertain to clinical care.

Identification of Educational Outcomes

  • Prepares and/or coordinates staff education for new products, medications, equipment, services provided, performance improvement initiatives and/or regulatory requirements


  1. Refers to professional literature and evidence-based practice when preparing educational materials.
  2. Maintains Basic Life Support Instructor certification and teaches BLS classes minimally four times in a two year period as deemed necessary.
  3. Collaborates with vendors, physicians, other nurses or professional staff to provide staff education.
  4. Updates content of Education Day annually in collaboration with other educators or unit council members as deemed appropriate per department.


  1. Ensures that all staff is scheduled for and attend Education Day annually as deemed appropriate per department.
  2. Ensures that staff completes all required, mandatory education.
  3. Maintain educational files on all employees.


  • Evaluates staff satisfaction with educational programs
  • Evaluates for improved clinical outcomes as appropriate

Duties and Responsibilities: Leadership

Demonstrates leadership skills such as the ability to motivate, educate, delegate, and mentor peers and other members of the healthcare team while effectively managing the care of patients and family members. Acts as a resource and educator for multidisciplinary team members and students, continuously evaluating and documenting competency.

Duties and Responsibilities: Professional Development:

  • Assumes responsibility and accountability for personal professional growth and development. Contributes to the professional development of peers, colleagues and others.
  1. Supports self and peer professional growth and development based on information received in periodic (at least annual) needs assessment.
  2. Provides on-going education for individuals in leadership positions such as charge nurse, council chairs or preceptors.
  3. Completes all educational requirements to maintain necessary population specific competencies. Submits required test and paperwork in a timely manner.
  4. Participates in self and peer review. Uses performance improvement data as a mechanism to positively recognize staff performance.
  5. Prepares for certification examination for self and peers in the clinical area through review courses or study groups.
  6. Participates in appropriate professional organizations.
  7. Evaluates reports of nurse-sensitive outcomes and prepares staff education based on this data.
  8. Participates in community services activities.

Duties and Responsibilities: Other :

  1. Is available to provide education to employees on all shifts.
  2. Participates in councils, task forces, and committee meetings (house wide and unit-based) to improve competencies of the staff members per management's discretion.


Evidence exists that The Christ Hospital staff considers the special needs and behaviors of the specific patient populations served. Evidence also exists that shows the staff demonstrates those competencies that address the unique characteristics related to developmental, physical, psychosocial, mental, emotional, and social needs of patients across the life span. Associates should also be able to demonstrate those competencies that address the needs of patients with unique cultural norms, religious preferences, language/communication barriers and/or literacy limitations.


  • Coordinates preceptor development activities.
  • Coordinates specialized educational events for staff and patients involving high risk/low volume procedures.
  • Sets standards for development of educational materials.
  • Coordinates student experiences for role transition.
  • Develops strong relationships with clinical instructors to ensure enhanced student experiences.
  • Serves as a mentor for RN's and other care providers.
  • Assists staff in professional advancement application process.


Please describe any specialized knowledge or skills, which are REQUIRED to perform the position duties. Do not personalize the job description, credentials, or knowledge and skills based on the current associate. List any special education required for this position.


Graduate of accredited school of nursing. BSN required/ MSN with education focus, or MEd preferred.


Minimum of five years of applicable clinical nursing experience or three years applicable clinical nursing experience and two years of formal educator experience preferred.


Excellent communication and teaching skills are required. Actively seeks opportunities in area of expertise and /or in education to improve own knowledge by regularly attending continuing education programs.


  • Graduate of an approved School of Nursing, Current RN licensure in the state of employment.
  • The RN holds a current licensure to practice nursing in her/his state of employment. Membership in professional organizations is desirable.
  • Certification in area of specialty is required; certification in Nursing Professional Development (through American Nurses Credential Center [ANCC] or Association for Nursing Professional Development [ANPD] required within two years..
  • BLS certification is required.
  • ACLS certification required for all critical care areas.
  • NRP certification is required for all perinatal areas.

About Us

For more than 130 years, The Christ Hospital been the beacon for exceptional healthcare in the Greater Cincinnati community. We're industry pioneers, always pushing the boundaries and reimagining the future of healthcare.

Our culture promotes collaboration, diversity and innovation. Together, as a team, we work tirelessly to enhance healthcare quality, accessibility and safety.