Post-Acute Care Staff Training Helps Protect Your Assets

It is probably no surprise to you that your organization’s biggest asset is its employees. Administrators are in a position to recognize the value of their staff and to foster a work environment that attracts employees and keeps them coming back. The sustainable growth and success of any organization depends in part on investing in its employees.

One way to invest in them is to provide ongoing, high-quality development through training that reaches beyond practical needs, which usually include onboarding newly hired staff and complying with industry, state, and national standards. Over 90% of employees would stay with their current employer longer if the company invested in their career development, according to a LinkedIn Learning survey.

On-the-job training is particularly effective in developing skills for proficiency that are unique to the organization. It can be very helpful for tasks that are not particularly challenging to learn and master, such as procedures for using organizational equipment and facilities. Other advantages include:

  • Reduced employee downtime
  • Enhanced employee perception of being valued due to the personal attention given
  • Heightened employee confidence
  • Improved capability to provide backup or vacation relief due to cross-training

Reaping the Benefits of Employee Engagement

Having engaged, dedicated employees who believe that you are committed to their growth and development is critical to the success of your organization. In fact, employers who engage in employee development usually experience an increase in sales and profits.

Organizational success is also dependent on retaining your employees. Employee turnover is a billion-dollar problem in the United States, and replacing employees usually costs more than retaining them. In addition to staff retention, ongoing staff training has the following potential benefits:

  1. Improve staff performance
    • Enhance quality
    • Boost efficiency
    • Create problem-solvers
  2. Support employee engagement
    • Increase emotional investment and interest
    • Improve communication
  3. Clarify role and responsibility expectations
    • Empower staff
    • Establish accountability
    • Foster adaptation to change
  4. Create opportunities for staff development and growth
    • Exercise critical thinking skills
    • Encourage knowledge sharing
  5. Track skill level and growth
    • Verify competency
    • Validate compliance
  6. Identify and address employee weakness
    • Reduce mistakes
    • Encourage strategies for success
  7. Have a positive impact on those who receive your organization’s services
    • Mitigate the risk of being outdated
    • Improve customer service
    • Support positive relationships between staff and those they serve

Prioritizing Professional Training Topics

Training is required whenever a new procedure, new equipment, or new materials are introduced to a worker. The most effective staff training is personalized to meet the employee’s needs, as Gallup notes.

While training topics will vary according to your organization’s requirements and state and federal guidelines, some topics should be on every healthcare organization’s list. Every employee should receive training at hire and then intermittently per company policy. Recommended topics include:

  • Workplace safety
  • Cybersecurity
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Customer service
  • Social media and networking
  • Products and services
  • Health and well-being

A few examples of topics specific to working in a professional environment include:

  • Employee rights
  • Sexual harassment
  • Managing stress
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Ergonomics
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements

Enhancing Competency, Improving Outcomes

Certain topics are particularly important in the post-acute care industry, especially for front-line care workers. Those topics are related to frequent and significant changes in reimbursement, rising complexity of care required for higher acuity levels, and partnership strategies with acute care providers.

For post-acute care organizations, the most important results of employee training include improving standards for clinical practice, clinical competency, and program or service outcomes. Your post-acute care staff should be given opportunities to receive training about how to:

  • Respond effectively to tightened budgets and margins
  • Prepare for individuals who need a higher level of care and skill
  • Navigate increased demand for accountability, quality, and compliance

Some of these training opportunities relate directly to care and may encompass:

  • Activities of daily living
  • Changes related to aging
  • Special needs
  • Individual rights
  • Ethical issues
  • Effective communication
  • Managing challenging family situations
  • Plans for care
  • Special procedures
  • Infection control
  • Medication administration and assistance
  • Recreational activities
  • Rehabilitation
  • Food service
  • Cultural awareness
  • End-of-life issues (including advance directives and palliative and hospice care)
  • Safety preparedness
  • First aid and CPR
  • Incident reporting
  • Abuse and neglect
  • Environment safety
  • Fire safety
  • Emergency preparedness

As an administrator, you will be expected to ensure that training is provided to your employees. It should be planned and developed with the specifics of the work tasks and site in mind. Your organization should provide at least some guidance as you select topics for employee training.

You will need to assess employees’ knowledge of security, safety, and health issues. If you suspect that any of your employees are unsure about how to perform their required duties, then timely, thorough, and meaningful training should be implemented to prevent any harmful results from occurring.

Investing for the Future of Employees and the Organization

Effective administrators ensure that their employees are given consistent, continual education through training and opportunities for growth and development. The impact can be significant by extending employee longevity with the organization and improving sales and profits. Effective training can also reduce employee downtime, enhance employees’ perceptions of their value to the organization, heighten employee confidence, and provide cross-training that allows back-up or vacation relief that can reduce stress.

Choose your training wisely so that your employees not only stay compliant, but also increase competency and confidence. Engaged and knowledgeable employees are more likely to provide better care and stay with your organization longer. You can start your organization’s upward spiral by investing in your employees’ education and future.

Jennifer Burks

Curriculum Designer, Relias

Jennifer W. Burks has over 25 years of clinical and teaching experience, and her areas of expertise are critical care and home health. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Virginia in 1993 and her Master of Science in Nursing from The University of North Carolina, Greensboro, in 1996. Her professional practice in education is guided by a philosophy borrowed from Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing, “I do not pretend to teach her how, I ask her to teach herself, and for this purpose, I venture to give her some hints.”

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