People and Procedures: The Art & Science of Training Staff for a New Hospital Environment

Posted 8 May 2015 8:30 AM by TCAuthor3

By Sara Bell, ThedaCare Director of Clinical Training and Education

As ThedaCare’ s Director of Clinical Training and Education, my role would normally include oversight of the education and training processes for ThedaCare employees and supporting our team of talented system educators. Our  education team is responsible for the creation of learning curriculum, including things like designing and offering role-specific classes for staff, training care providers on how to use new medical equipment, or hosting professional development seminars. However, my involvement with SMC over the several months has been a little out of the ordinary.

In partnership with the move project team, I’ve been helping to support the planning and rollout of the training that goes into moving an entire hospital of caregivers from one location to another. Just imagine how disorienting this could be if one was not prepared. It would be like arriving home to a completely remodeled and expanded kitchen, and a stranger has already arranged your cupboards without any input from you. It would be exhilarating (all new appliances and countertops, after all), but tensions would certainly rise if you found out that a dinner party of eight would soon be on your doorstep. “Did anyone go grocery shopping, and what did he or she buy? I don’t know how to use the convection function on the oven. Where do I find the meat thermometer in all of these drawers?”

Together with the departmental move captains and managers at SMC, we set out to inventory the changes that staff will experience upon moving to the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano in September. Through a program of classes, staff meetings, and tours, we will prepare staff to work efficiently, effectively, and compassionately the first day on the job at TCMC-Shawano. Our efforts focus on four areas:

  • The physical environment—Where will equipment and supplies be kept, specifically, and why? How does the layout of a workspace affect work flow? What training for safety procedures must be documented, such as learning the location of fire alarms, exits, and medical gas turn-offs?
  • Learning to use new equipment—For example, two major patient care systems, patient monitors and the wireless nurse call system, will be brand new to staff at TCMC-Shawano. Equipment vendors who can begin training on new systems that are not dependent on being permanently installed are already bringing their equipment to SMC for pre-move training sessions.
  • Work flow—Processes for moving patients between different areas, reporting to other members of the care team on their status, and the manner in which staff flow in and out of a patient care setting were all mapped and discussed.
  • Teamwork—How will the newly combined work teams function together? What are the responsibilities of each specific role? ThedaCare is working closely with both clinic and hospital employees to successfully blend the two separate locations into a smoothly running whole.

The mood at SMC is upbeat and enthusiastic for all the possibilities at the new hospital. It’s a rare opportunity to influence one’s own workplace environment and processes, from the ground up, to be as efficient and patient care-centered as possible. People are asking themselves, “what do I need individually, and what do we need as a team?” The people and the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to meet patient and family needs are both an art and a science. Helping them through this change by creating a plan for them to be competent and confident in the care they provide is what I love most about my job.