For most hospital department leaders the opportunity to be part of a new facility transition is an exciting, once in a career event. A leader’s enthusiasm can be tempered by the volume and scope of work involved, and by the anxiety that is created by the significance of the project.
While a new facility offers a chance for a fresh start, it also places the leader in a position of vulnerability; planning a project without prior experience or training. In addition, this complex accountability is in competition with the demands of managing day-to-day department operations. Orchestrating the physical, clinical, and operational logistics of moving into space is a significant challenge that impacts all staff at approximately the same time. Orientation and training is a critical ingredient in helping hospital leaders and staff in adapting to the new work environment while avoiding errors and maintaining seamless operations. Staff orientation and training is a critical component of the transition process. Orientation and training organize the work of multiple planning teams. Staff is fully aware of every aspect of the plan and is mentally prepared to make the transition. What does successful orientation and training look like and what are the outcomes of a well-prepared staff? A thoughtfully designed orientation and training plan contains four components;
1. Online Training – This includes materials and content that is best suited for online learning. There is great value created when staff is able to look at learning content and information about the facility or their department at any time, from any location. Staff also benefit from discussing learning content with one another. Multiple visits to the online content help them understand information related to processes, technology, equipment or cross-functional interactions.
2. Classroom Training – Certain topics are better suited to classroom training. Selecting the correct classroom topics allows the organization to create shorter, more focused and less expensive classroom training. Shorter training sessions also eases the logistics of moving people through classroom training.
3. Department Training – Department-specific training, particularly for inpatient units, is a valuable experience for staff. Department training should focus on topics requiring hands-on experience. Department training also provided the staff with the opportunity to look around their new work area.
4. Vendor Provided Training – New facility contracts typically include vendor training as part of the equipment purchase agreement. Organizations often use a train-the-trainer approach, transferring this knowledge to department staff during department training activities.