Training and practice are essential to polish skills, yet they often get shelved when more pressing issues arise. Prioritizing training means creating an awareness of the urgency and importance of learning new skills, polishing existing ones and staying current with rapidly developing technology.
Benefits of training
When it comes to mastering complex medical procedures and swiftly evolving equipment, training is critical. It increases the speed and dexterity with which procedures are performed and:
- improves hand-eye coordination and ultrafine motor skills,
- enhances cognitive skills
- minimizes the errors that lead to complications.
Training for the broader staff
Familiarity with new equipment and new or modified processes is also essential for all key team members—thus also nurses and others who may not perform the actual procedures, but who play a more hands-on role with patients. Training creates a deeper understanding of the process and provides:
- a keener awareness of potential problem areas,
- enhanced ability to answer a patient’s (and their family’s) questions in a knowledgeable and authoritative manner,
- enrichment for support-staff. This keeps them up-to-date, provides variety and acknowledges their abilities as medical professionals, all of which translate into greater work satisfaction. This, in turn, helps stabilize workforce turnover, which is key to providing the continuity of care that enhances patient satisfaction.
Overcoming the barriers to training
Medical professionals are busy and there is always something to do. Acknowledging that training is essential is an important first step, but without a firm structure in place, it’s also quickly postponed (often to the purgatory of an unspecified time). How can you best translate ‘we really should practice more’ best intentions into deeply engrained procedure? By replacing a casual ‘it will happen when it happens’ attitude with clear ‘plan of attack.’
1. Set targets and assess resources
Sit down with a small but key group of staff members and establish targets with clear deadlines as part of a master-training plan. This group should also examine whether the available equipment and facilities suit the current needs of the staff. Does the available equipment provide enough flexibility to accommodate casual ‘when the opportunity presents’ practice sessions? A group meeting should be scheduled every 6-8 months to examine how the plan is working and whether further improvements are necessary. This prevents training from falling back into a ‘best intentions’ black hole.
2. Assign a strong ‘chief of training’
Someone who is skilled in coordination and management should oversee training, including scheduling, setting targets, monitoring results and attendance. This is a complicated task so it should also be a significant part of the person’s duties and enough time should be allotted to it.
3. Set the dates
Who hasn’t vowed in vain to ‘get together soon’ with a friend/neighbor/colleague? Without a specific appointment, things simply don’t get done. It is thus essential to create a ‘set in stone’ training schedule. Organize an automatic (re)scheduling system to manage postponements, absences, possibly utilizing one of the many available scheduling software solutions.
Training is key for patient safety, but it also has much broader implications. With today’s emphasis on transparency, low complication levels and high patient-approval rates are critical for professional image and continued funding. Furthermore, training is just fun. It provides variety, develops team spirit and builds staff confidence, knowing that their skills are up-to-date. It is thus well work prioritizing!
Medical Training Tools is happy to assist you in optimizing your endoscopic training needs. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments.