“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” — Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company
Training is valuable and necessary to keep your employees updated with your organization’s norms, protocols, and values. Providing training also develops muscle memory for skills to be recalled more quickly and naturally. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare providers realized that they needed to implement emergency training to respond quickly, safely, and efficaciously. In addition to these goals, having a strong training program helps your employees to feel prepared for any situation and allow your organization to retain top clinical talent interested in staying fresh and advancing their practice.
As a healthcare provider, it is important to know the value of training in an emergency. During COVID-19 data suggests that most provider training budgets were deeply cut or eliminated.1 However, a better response would have been to maintain training efforts but to shift the training’s focus and delivery. Why is this important?
- Continued training during an emergency shows commitment to keeping providers safe and current on skills needed.
- It fosters a sense of togetherness amongst the team.
- Keeps nerves calm as there is a better understanding of what to expect and feeling of preparedness for the hard work ahead.
- It forces leadership to think about the institution-wide skills and behaviors needed to respond to an emergency.
- It identifies and develops leaders who excel under pressure and demonstrate the ability to grow others.
To help our healthcare heroes and their leadership plan and succeed in their emergency training efforts, Golden Source Consultants would like to share five steps to accelerate your training plan.
Five Steps To Accelerate Your Training Plan.
1. Plan For Training.
A health emergency likely means that there will be a need for new skills in a short time. Information about a new disease, new treatments, protocols, or regulatory requirements are all items that can be expected. So why shouldn’t the training that it will take to communicate these also be expected? In your emergency plan, think about the support and structures you can put in place to enable you to act quickly and skip the step of forming a training team or strategy in the heart of an emergency.
2. List It Out.
This sounds simple and obvious, but often in the rush of responding to an emergency, people fail to take advantage of creating a list of what needs to happen. Take a few minutes and write a list of all the new information and skills your team needs to know. These could be big things like pathology and treatment or little things like new policies for charting. List each item out, so you have a clear vision of what is needed.
3. Who Is Needed?
As you think about your list, ask yourself the “who” questions. Who has this information now? Who do I feel confident can train this information to others? Who needs to receive this training? Who will be responsible for answering questions and following up? Knowing the answers to these questions is half the battle.
4. Train It Quick.
Time is of the essence. Now that you know the topics that need to be trained and have a plan with the identified trainers, it is time to get the information into the hands of those who need it. It is likely you won’t have all the time you would like to create a fancy presentation or even handouts. In the meantime, consider if one or more of these training strategies can effectively and safely share the right information with the right people.
- Take Advantage of Standing Meetings: If you already have a standing meeting where providers are already together, and the schedule is not impacted, leverage your time to send one of your trainers to the meeting. This can be a weekly M&M or a breakroom lunch and learn. The goal is to get to as many people as possible with as few scheduling challenges. It may be worth having a running calendar to track these types of meetings for planning purposes.
- Shift Expert: If possible, appoint a person available on each shift or location who is the “expert” or “trainer” available. As people come on shift, the person can plan to train these individuals or share new information with them. This person can also be available to anyone on that shift who may have questions or needs extra instruction. This also enables accountability as the “trainer” can verify that the training is adhered to and retrain quickly.
- Recorded Meetings: Getting everyone together at the same time, especially during an emergency, is difficult. If training can be demonstrated to a group of active participants, either in a classroom or online, there is likely an opportunity to record the training. This recording can be shared via a link with those who could not attend.
|It creates consistency in what is said and heard||There is no ability to ask questions viewing the training recording|
|It is easily shared with large groups of people||There may be a level of technical complexity to have the right equipment available to record and share the training|
|It takes only minutes to deliver||It may be difficult to track who has taken the training and who has not|
5. Document It.
The fifth and final step is to consider how you can formalize the training so that answers can be quickly referenced and maintained for the long run. The best way to get out of the need to answer every question in person is to begin to document what you’ve taught. This may mean a quick “How To” sheet or as formal as a learning module on your LMS. Golden Source Consultants recommends having someone assigned to take detailed notes in each training or outline the lesson itself as its being taught so that the information can quickly be documented and turned around to your learning audience.
To sum up, having a training plan during emergencies is essential for your practice and frontline responders. Your clinicians and staff need to be prepared and trained to be successful when a crisis occurs. In the words of Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland, famed Yale Medical School surgeon, “To become comfortable with emergencies is one of the primary goals in the training of a physician.”2 So don’t cut the training, prepare for it.