Trends – What are Trends in my Field?
Healthcare is an enormous machine; it is like the titanic moving full steam ahead. In order to move ahead, change directions or stop the movement of the ship, multiple people, systems and interest groups must all work together. Change can be slow and must be purposeful and goal directed.
Healthcare consists of many subgroups with similar yet differing perspectives & interrelated goals, they must all work together to develop and share resources in order to meet these goals within their budgets. Acute care, home health, public health, mental health, addictions services, maternity and pediatrics are but a few.
Educational & professional standards must be set, met and maintained. The vast scope of functions,purposes & goals of healthcare help to make the education of the people involved an enormous task. The advances in educational techniques, styles, formats and settings has forced health care to adapt to these evolving changes in order to stay relevant, up to date & to provide the patient care that is their mandate in a safe, knowledge based & humane manner.
When I first graduated from nursing school and wrote my registration exams I thought my formal educational years were over & done with. My perspective was that I could learn ‘on the job’ and with minimal reading of policies & procedures. I was wrong.
The cost of healthcare is staggering and the healthcare industry must be accountable for the money it spends. The cost of patients falling and their resultant injuries and treatments, costs Fraser Health Authority (FHA) over one billion dollars each year and that doesn’t begin to measure the human suffering that occurs. Education of staff on fall and injury prevention is urgent and essential but only a small piece of the whole puzzle that pictures healthcare.
To maintain accreditation and funding, FHA must show how it is studying, striving to measure, improve and meet the quality indicators that FHA has set and has been instructed to meet. There are the staff that provide the direct patient care and there is a team of educators for educating the staff on an ongoing basis.
The role of facilitation, which is the format for classroom education that is being used more frequently, is more relaxed and involves the sharing & discussion of information. Facilitation allows the educators, staff and even staff – patient – family relationships to become a two way learning process and benefits everyone involved.
The development of ongoing education has become a large part of healthcare. In nursing there has been the development of the Professional Practice & Integration Department where a team researchers, develop & deliver education on a vast array of topics. Their methods of delivery have evolved their study of the neuroscience of learning as well as learning theories & styles have provided insight to best meet their education goals.
The expanding world of Google and other search engines make access to information easy but it is not always accurate. Some of the techniques for learning and educating that I have been exposed to over the past 5 years have occurred in traditional classroom settings but also ‘anywhere’ learning can and does take place; the bedside, nursing stations, learning labs etc.
The educator role has changed from lecturer to more of a facilitator; relationship with the learner has been promoted in order to increase the understanding of the learner. Insight into how we as humans learn has prompted techniques such as allowing the learners to participate in the goals of the session, rules of conduct (what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom, respect, no question is a dumb question etc.).
FHA has also created the CCRS website on their Fhpulse intranet site. CCRS is an online learning environment that is accessible by FHA staff. Vancouver Coastal and Inland Health have also become partners in the CCRS system posting their own courses and sharing their resources in order to save money in the development, maintenance and delivery of education.
Courses can be taken online or registration for classroom based courses can be done through the online registration system. There are combinations of online and classroom learning sessions. Mandatory staff education such as hand hygiene, code blue, code red, code white, infection control etc. can be taken online and staff participation and their course marks can be monitored by educators and management.
Fhpulse also has the ‘Mosby’s’ site where nursing information is located and easily accessed. A nurse who is to perform a procedure new to him/her, one that hasn’t been performed in a while or has been updated can access Mosby’s for the policy & procedure, quick tips, patient educational materials, clinical practice guidelines etc. prior to performing the procedure. It is an up to date resource that was previously unavailable when textbooks were used, textbooks that required initial purchasing and subsequent purchasing of updated volumes, where multiple textbooks on a wide variety of topics needed to be purchased and stored for easy access. Mosby’s cannot be misplaced. Mosby’s is easily accessed through any computer within the FHA system & procedures can be printed off to take to the bedside without fear of contaminating a whole textbook.
Patient educational materials can be printed off and sent home with the patient. There is a team that works behind the scenes to ensure up to date & accurate information is used in the resources.
FHA is also incorporating webinars, conferences, symposiums, You Tube, TED talks, office communicator, provision of paid education days, flexibility for staff to be paid for a specified amount of time to complete required mandatory courses when off work, poster or video competitions, development of comprehensive clinical practice guidelines, increasing availability and expanding role of clinical nurse educators, grants & bursaries for continuing education, formal education to support nursing in specialized fields. The list is extensive and includes many more forms than what is mentioned above.
Management support of staff taking continuing education has become a necessary requirement for FHA to maintain set standards of practice.
The trends of education in healthcare have evolved significantly over the past 30 years that I have been involved in it, and will continue to do so. FHA must continue to look for ways to improve the learning environment for its staff to ensure safety, fiscal responsibility, evidence based care etc. The world is changing quickly and so is the process of educating.