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Measuring Return on Investment for Professional Development Activities

2018 Updates

Opperman, Cathleen, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CPN; Liebig, Debra, MLA, BSN, RN-BC; Bowling, Judith, PhD, MHA, RN-BC; Johnson, Carol Susan, PhD, RN-BC, NE-BC

Journal for Nurses in Professional Development: November/December 2018 - Volume 34 - Issue 6 - p 303–312
doi: 10.1097/NND.0000000000000483

What is the return on investment for the time and resources spent for professional development activities? This is an update of the two articles published in 2016, which reviewed literature and demonstrated how financial analysis of educational activities can drive decision-making. Professional development activities are routinely planned based on needs assessments, implemented with evidence-based learning modalities, and evaluated for effectiveness through linkage to outcomes. The next level of evaluation is consideration of the economic impact of professional development activities. This article includes a review of the most recent studies that provide cost of educational interventions along with a description of economic outcomes and an update to the “Known Costs of Outcomes Table.”

Cathleen Opperman, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CPN, is Professional Development Nurse Specialist, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

Debra Liebig, MLA, BSN, RN-BC, is Program Manager, Accreditation & Regulatory Readiness, Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Missouri.

Judith Bowling, PhD, MHA, RN-BC, is Clinical Learning Educator, Baptist Health South Florida, Miami.

Carol Susan Johnson, PhD, RN-BC, NE-BC, is Principal, Innovations LLC, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE: Cathleen Opperman, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 255 East Main St., Columbus, OH 43205 (e-mail:

© 2018 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.