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The skills gap continues to expand long after the peak of the pandemic and inadequate training programs aren’t able to support evolving needs of nurses, practitioners and clinical staff. The demand for skilled healthcare workers has been increasingly growing over recent years following the great resignation and the mass retirement of a generation of workers (Baby Boomers).
The imbalance of workers vs. Patients is having consequences, with lack of adequate patient care being one of the biggest. What happens if this imbalance continues to grow? How will we care for the sick, elderly, etc.? And how does your organization navigate this seemingly unavoidable doom? Without enough new healthcare workers available to meet the demand, upskilling employees has become crucial. It is critical to ensure your organization’s healthcare workers have the knowledge and skills needed to provide the best patient-care possible.
A healthcare Learning Management System (LMS) can help easily manage and deliver e-learning courses and training programs across multiple locations. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using an LMS for productivity, upskilling and ultimately, the retention of healthcare employees in your organization.
We’ll start with flexibility, because I can’t stress this piece enough. Before the days of web-based training, employees would have to take time off from work and complete training in an in-person class at a fixed time. This often requires driving to a new location and allows for error: trouble finding the training facility, trouble finding the classroom, personal conflicts can arise, etc. And to make matters worse, in-person training tends to be few and far between. If you miss this month’s session, chances are it won’t be available at your preferred location again until next month. In order to remain to renew your certification before the deadline, you may have to take additional time off and drive out of town to take the nearest in-person training just to avoid losing your certification. Doesn’t this whole scenario sound like a pain? And maybe this is how your organization still operates, but these rigid requirements hinder workforces more than help.
A web-based LMS allows healthcare workers to access training modules 24/7. No more wasted time commuting, missing in-person sessions or waiting until the in-person session day to complete your training. An LMS gives your employees the freedom to train when they like and come to work prepared. This extends beyond required training to include opportunities to upskill.
Upskilling is beneficial for both your learners and your organization. Developing new skills creates a more versatile worker. Upskilling modules can cover a range of topics, such as new treatments, equipment, procedures, and policies. For example, a registered nurse (RN) is expected to provide quality patient care, but they are not expected to have specialized training in neonatal care. Through offered courses in your organization’s LMS, an RN can elect to learn new skills to better serve infants in ICU. Providing quality patient care to all patients, regardless of need, is every hospital’s mission. Opportunities for upskilling can help your staff serve specific demographic or niche communities better.
A big hurdle for upskilling is lack of time. Healthcare workers struggle to keep up to date with mandatory compliance training and required modules. Making time for extra non-required training is nearly impossible while on the clock, on the hospital floor. This is where having a cloud-based healthcare LMS with microlearning sessions makes the difference. A cloud-based LMS provides a platform for employees to access relevant and up-to-date training modules from any device – at any location (home, work, in transit, etc.). Microlearning sessions are small, bite-sized sessions that only require 5-15 minutes to complete. By offering online training, healthcare organizations can create a flexible learning environment that allows employees to learn at their own pace and on their own time.
Upskilling employees can also increase your organization’s retention rate. In a study, Gallup found that most health care workers were interested in upskilling programs that would help them learn new skills or improve their current skill sets, with 55% of health care workers noting they would even quit for a new employer that offered upskilling programs. Put that into perspective, over half of your workforce would leave if they felt a competing hospital or practice could offer them opportunities to better themselves.
Offering ongoing training and development opportunities to your employees shows that you value their professional growth and development. It also helps diversify your workforce, giving each team member more opportunities to best serve patients. Let’s go back to the example of the RN skilled in neonatal care. If they are the only RN with that skillset on rotation, they are likely to be overworked and spread thin between regular RN duties and aiding in the NICU. But if you have multiple RNs who are all skilled in neonatal care, it creates a balanced workforce with less pressure on one RN. Now that one RN will not feel so overworked, stressed and they will be less likely to look for a new job.
By believing in your staff, you are building a rapport between your team and your organization. This relationship is invaluable. Company culture is a top contributor to employee reputation and 86% of job seekers check an organization’s reviews before applying to a job (2022). When it comes to offering upward mobility, and flexible opportunities to train, does your organization deliver?
Outside of the employer brand outlook, every HR professional knows replacing staff is costly. Hiring a new team member costs thousands more than upskilling a current team member. Beyond monetary costs, there’s also the cost of the “learning curve,” which varies from team member to team member. It can take a new team member between 3 – 6 months to be comfortable in a new role. That’s a lot of patients served.
We all know success doesn’t happen by accident. There has to be thoughtful planning and forward-thinking strategy, this concept also applies to your organization and building your workforce. A proactive approach to using your LMS is a critical step to solving the gap in skilled healthcare workers.
Join us on Tuesday, March 21, 1 pm central time, where I will share how our customers are using their LMS to its fullest upskilling and retention potential.