To support pandemic-related issues, top training needs were infection control (71%), pandemic planning and response (60%), and employee wellness and self-care (57%).
Healthcare Training Priorities
Given that these same training priorities surfaced during our 2020 survey, we can dig a little deeper to understand them further.
Pandemic planning starts at the top and requires attention down to the front lines. Infection control — already a training focus — has required extra attention by all staff in healthcare during the pandemic. The need for this was strong in pre-acute, acute, and post-acute care.
These three training priorities show a range of urgent concerns during the coronavirus pandemic: advance planning and responding in the moment, providing high-quality patient care, and supporting staff members’ mental and physical health. In turn, these training needs can inform future crisis planning.
Healthcare Employee Wellness
Historically, employee wellness has been a factor in healthcare staff turnover. Yet we have seen a heightened need to take action to support and protect healthcare providers and other staff amid the enhanced stress levels experienced during the pandemic.
Considering the training and care focus in human service organizations, it is understandable that they indicated the highest attention paid (61%) to staff wellness and self-care. Community health also made these topics a priority (60%). Because community health centers typically offer behavioral healthcare as part of their service structure, it is also understandable that they would be more inclined to prioritize employee wellness and self-care as a critical piece of COVID-19 training response.
As anyone near the front lines knows, the need to protect and support clinicians’ health is strong in acute care as well. John Harrington, Director of Clinical Solutions at Relias, observes, “Employee wellness in acute care will continue to be a great concern post-COVID, as the focus shifts to addressing the moral injury caused by the pandemic.”
Compared with respondents in other settings, those in post-acute care did not rank staff wellness and self-care training as high on their list, with only 50% rating it a priority. As turnover and retention issues continue to plague post-acute care organizations, this type of training deserves strong consideration and may become more urgent.
“In the wake of staggering numbers of deaths in post-acute care, employees have been and continue to experience significant, tangible impact from moral distress, or moral injury,” notes Trish Richardson, MSN, BSBA, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN, Director of Post-Acute Care Solutions at Relias. “Staff are losing residents, patients, and colleagues in addition to the fear realized when considering they themselves may become infected with COVID-19.”
“Healthcare organizations across the industry are beginning to realize this impact and prioritize the availability of essential tools and resources.”
— Trish Richardson, MSN, BSBA, RN, NE-BC,
CMSRN, Director, Post-Acute Care Solutions, Relias
Shifting Priorities in Healthcare Training
Looking at shifts in the amount of training due to COVID-19, the highest perceptions of training increases were found in the payers and insurers (58%) and post-acute care (55%) sectors. Increased training was noted by a lower percentage of respondents in community health (42%), human services (37%), and acute and pre-acute (29%).
The highest perception of a decrease in training was found in acute and pre-acute care (51%). During the pandemic, the demand for attention to patient care, supply chain issues, and safety measures in hospitals and health systems clearly skyrocketed and often eclipsed training concerns.
The Full 2021 Report
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