'I've seen a course I'd like to do…'

Identifying and meeting staff training needs can form a large part of a practice manager or head nurse's role, especially if you have a medium to large team.


Responding to the needs and desires of your staff whilst staying within the practice budget and ensuring training will be beneficial to the business can become difficult balls to juggle! So let's just briefly consider some useful tips to follow when looking at the options.


Identify deficits

In some instances there will be clear deficits in training that need addressing, and these should clearly be your first consideration. This may have been identified at appraisal, during day-to-day work, or from feedback from another colleague. Maybe your practice has branched into a new area - such as providing more extensive nurse clinics, or handling exotics, or becoming hospital status. It's important that the skills of your staff meet with your practice vision, so that standards don't slip, and staff can be confident that they have the skills they need.


Adverse events

Any adverse events at the practice should be handled sensitively and openly - following a no-blame ethos so that everyone can learn from them - and then any training that may help whoever experienced that event can also be addressed.



Practice goals

It's vital to tie in your staff training with your practice vision and goals. Make sure you and your team (whether it be management or the whole team) discuss and review your practice goals on a regular basis, and clearly communicate these to the team, so that you can all work together towards them. Identifying and authorising training that will help to reach these goals should be re-reviewed regularly.




Appraisals are absolutely key in identifying staff training needs and opportunities. Often a staff member will have ambition to follow a particular path, and in terms of staff satisfaction and retention in the practice, it's key that you know what that is. You can work out between you how that path can be most efficiently followed - also of course ensuring that it meets somewhere along the line with your practice goals.



Types of course

There are a lot of training opportunities out there, and it's important to work out which are going to offer the best return. Courses that engage and stretch the learners and offer outcomes that can be brought back to the practice reap the most rewards. Attendance courses can be vital for some subjects but can be more costly (time, travel, staff cover etc). Online can be more flexible, and many online courses also offer interaction with other professionals which can be of great benefit when wanting to gather new ideas or gain feedback on your own.


Staff retention

Keeping hold of your staff is important for so many reasons, and providing pathways to progress, showing that you are willing to invest in your team, and developing a team spirit in working towards practice goals - are all positive steps that can help your staff members want to stick with you.




Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (2017) Learning and Development Strategy: An Introduction. [Online] Available at: < https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/development/factsheet  >

Login required, but lots of free resources available.


Macdonald, J. (2017). Tying in staff appraisals with personal and practice goals. [Online] Available at: http://www.oncoreepd.co.uk/tying-staff-appraisals-personal-practice-goals/



Jill Macdonald

DipAVN (surg) RVN FHEA



We will shortly be launching our Practice CPD Support Scheme - a service to assist managers and practice leaders to tie in practice and staff goals with the CPD opportunities available, enabling them to get the best return from CPD whilst supporting staff development.