Skip to Content

Job Description of a DSD in a Nursing Home

In the United States, the general duties of a director of staff development, irrespective of the industry, revolve around planning employee training and professional development programs.

The main responsibilities in this career also include creating plans for teaching new staff about practices and procedures and how to use the tools and benefits that the company or organization provides. You communicate training needs and ideas with the company administration as well.

Have it in mind that most employers seeking staff development directors are in healthcare. In this industry, these experts are responsible for the development of nursing staff and other medical professionals. They work with other experts to create plans for teaching new nursing home staff about practices and procedures.

The qualifications and skill you need to become a director of staff development in a Nursing home facility are, first and foremost, a bachelor’s degree in nursing, experience working as a registered nurse, and a valid and active nursing license. Some employers may expect previous experience in training and staff development.

The primary purpose and function of the position are to orient and educate all nursing personnel who are hired in the facility and to ensure safe effective nursing care according to the federal, state, and facility guidelines, policies and procedures.

In addition, to assist department heads with orientation and mandatory education required of all facility employees. They also assist the director of staff development in a nursing home in the administrative duties of the nursing department to include:

Nursing staff performance evaluation, performance improvement activities, infection control, and risk management monitoring and evaluation; maintenance of appropriate staffing levels and supervision; creation, review, and revision of nursing care policy and procedures in accordance with federal and state guidelines and regulations; maintenance of employee files to ensure compliance with licensing, health monitoring and mandatory facility educational requirements.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a director of staff development in a nursing home. Nonetheless, the duties and responsibilities of a nursing home director of staff development include;

  • Supervises orientation for all facility personnel.
  • Provides orientation for all nursing personnel according to state, federal, and facility guidelines.
  • Provides in-service orientation for all nursing and facility personnel to include federal and state mandated education.
  • Records all employee in-service attendance.
  • Responsible for yearly nursing staff competence assessment and record keeping.
  • Obtains guest speakers when appropriate to the topic. Resources may include Lab services, physicians, pharmacy, respiratory therapists, case managers, social Workers, rehabilitation staff, and outside consultants as needed.
  • Responsible for facility yearly in-service calendar.
  • Participates in all aspects of performance improvement activities including risk management.
  • Participates in all aspects of infection control activities. Sits on the infection control committee.
  • Ensures the proper staff to patient ratios for the facility. Functions as the resource nurse, or staff nurse as needed.
  • Creates, reviews or revises all facility policies and procedures in accordance with state, or federal guidelines as well as research based practice.
  • Maintains and reviews employee files as they relate to health, licensure, and mandatory education requirements to ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Monitors compliance of nursing staff with all facility policies and procedures to ensure safe, effective nursing care for all residents.
  • Other job duties as assigned.

How to Become a Director of Staff Development in a Nursing Home

To become a director of staff development in a nursing home, there are some core requirements you are expected to first meet.

  1. Complete A Bachelor Of Nursing Or Associate Degree In Nursing Program

Note that the first step to becoming a director of staff development in a nursing home is to enroll in an undergraduate nursing program. These will kick-start your path to licensure and allow you to pursue further graduate education.

Aspiring directors of staff development in a nursing home are expected to attend a nursing school or institution that offers either a bachelor of science in nursing or an associate degree in nursing. These programs set a foundation in the knowledge and application of nursing theory, research skills, and more—all in the context of a wide range of healthcare settings

  1. Take the NCLEX-RN Exam And Achieve Licensure

Once you’ve completed your undergraduate degree, the next step is to take the NCLEX-RN exam. The NCLEX-RN exam, organized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, tests your knowledge and competencies in the nursing field and establishes your eligibility as a registered nurse (RN). After passing the NCLEX; graduates are able to obtain state licensure as a nurse.

  1. Apply For A Master Of Science In Nursing Program

Note that aspiring directors of staff development in a nursing home are expected to achieve a graduate degree in nursing before entering higher administrative roles. Programs like The Chicago School’s Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Leadership Administration degree specifically prepare students to become leaders in the field of nursing.

  1. Acquire Certification

Coupled with becoming a registered nurse through the NCLEX exam, aspiring nurse leaders should also achieve certification specific to higher-level nursing roles. These include certifications such as:

  • The ANCC Nurse Executive Certification Examination
  • The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) Nurse Manager and Leader and Executive Nursing Practice certifications

Once you have a graduate degree in nursing and pass relevant state licensure and certification exams, you are qualified for leadership positions.

  1. Enroll In A Doctoral Nursing Program

Indeed this is not a necessary requirement, a doctorate in nursing further qualifies you and ensures career development and growth opportunities for aspiring directors of staff development in a nursing home. Nurses with this degree are leaders in the healthcare world and are given active roles in shaping the future of the healthcare system.


A director of staff development in a nursing home is in charge of directing the development, implementation, and monitoring of various staff development activities within the nursing home. And since people are the most important assets of any given nursing home, the role of a director in staff development is imperative to a home’s growth and success.