Proper training is crucial in any business, but in the world of healthcare, it’s the only way to ensure a good, safe and efficient practice. Of course, training takes time and energy — dermatologists say they spend between 4 weeks to 6 months in training new hires, depending on the role, prior experiences, and requirements of the specific practice. But should training end after “new hire onboarding”? Research says no: ongoing training and education not only play a role in the practical abilities of your staff, but they allow for better, faster and safer ways of ensuring that patients are getting the quality care they need.
The Efficiency and Benefits From Ongoing Training
We have outlined some of the benefits of training in previous blogs, but the positives derived from ensuring your team has ongoing access to training are worth exploring more closely.
Many employers are great about providing that initial training but forget about the benefits of ongoing training. Participating in continued training doesn’t just improve the care and practice of medical or healthcare professionals: it’s linked to:
- Practice efficiency
- Job competency
- Patient Satisfaction
- Staff Morale
- Employee retention
Training is known to improve the overall experience patients have, thanks to the increased level of care and the improved insights and knowledge base of the patient care team. The long-term health and stability of a practice are also ensured, as well-trained staff who enjoy their work leads to a higher staff retention rate as well as a greater likelihood of satisfied and returning patients.
The benefits of good training are not only immediately apparent in the daily operations and services of a practice, but also have many long-term benefits, including raising staff morale, contributing to a greater sense of staff job satisfaction and improved client and patient experience. A recent study published by NCBI showed that self-directed and practical learning facilitate occupational tasks and helped nurses in a practice achieve greater mastery of their professional skill set.
Continuing Education requirements for licensure vary based on many factors including professional designation and state. However, as an employer, providing access in terms of the time and financial resources can create a better organizational structure and culture for your practice. In a 2013 article from AMN Healthcare News, entitled “Essentials of Staff Development and Why You Should Care”, it was shown that employers who invest in professional development by offering the time, resources, and funds for CE courses often see increased satisfaction and lower turnover rates among their staff, and better patient outcomes.
So what should you do? Recognize the far-reaching benefits of ongoing educational opportunities for your staff, and start to make a plan to help your team access it. Start small, and as you see the benefits for yourself, grow the opportunities. There are a variety of opportunities for you to help provide ongoing training to your team.
Traditional Courses/On-Site Training
The new hire traditionally starts training with “shadowing”: working practically alongside tenured team members. Shadowing is also widely used to expand the skills and abilities of existing team members. This approach has been the primary method of imparting key skills for millennia.
There are a number of benefits associated with shadowing. Its rich blend of theoretical and practical knowledge provides hands-on focus on learning and practice, and trainees can reliably replicate what they’ve learned. The downsides are the time and financial costs. In fact, the cost of a dermatology practice’s time to train new practitioners — which can be up to 6 months — is one of the greatest issues of traditional training methods, let alone the financial investments required.
As the internet grows and new avenues for acquiring knowledge and providing training open up, new methods of training are becoming prolific. These online modes allow training to be conducted wherever there is a connection to the internet. While shadowing will likely always be a necessity for training, online training can significantly reduce the amount of time by providing a wide range of fundamental knowledge.
Online studying can offer a great opportunity to optimize knowledge into a medical speciality or specific medical concepts and impart the same benefits to your practice as traditional training settings but at a significantly reduced investment. And while there is some criticism and scepticism of online training as a perceived lesser mode of instruction when compared to traditional in-person training, there is growing evidence that online courses are just as effective as traditional learning and training. For instance, a 2014 study in the Danish Medical Journal found that open online courses were highly relevant for training and education of healthcare practitioners. What’s more, research publishing by the University of North Carolina in the 2008 Computers in Medical Practice found that online and web-based training portals are at least as effective as traditional medical lectures. Plus, online opportunities may offer greater flexibility in terms of scheduling and timing, often being available “on-demand” at the convenience of the student.
Whichever mode of training you use for your staff, it is clear that ongoing/continued training develops crucial skills that ensure good practice and patient safety, and improves efficiency and productivity in the practice. All medical practices benefit from making staff training and refresher courses a core element in their organizational structure, and it plays a key role in ensuring practices run smoothly and efficiently.
At Advanced Training in Dermatology, we specialize in offering fully comprehensive dermatological training that gives nurses, physician assistants and medical assistants the knowledge they need to drive practice efficiency and improve patient satisfaction. To find out about how our training and online courses can improve the way your practice does business — and increase productivity and staff satisfaction — please contact us.