Located in Cordova, Alaska, Cordova Community Medical Center (CCMC) is a critical access hospital housing 23 beds with approximately 65 employees. Services provided include long term care, primary care, behavioral health care, physical therapy, imaging, lab, pharmacy, and an emergency room open 24 hours a day.
As a part of a strategic decision to use technology to be more efficient and effective, CCMC chose to initiate the comprehensive Relias Nursing Suite. The full-suite solution includes data-driven hiring with Relias Assessments, tailored onboarding with Relias Onboarding, and continuing education with the Relias learning management system (LMS). Leadership knew that it was going to be a cultural shift, with a focus on the individual through technology and innovation. CCMC’s goal is to continuously maintain patient-centered care, while investing in staff’s growth and development—going beyond meeting compliance requirements.
Leadership knew that it was going to be a cultural shift, with a focus on the individual through technology and innovation.
Q: What Challenges Was Cordova Looking To Solve?
Hiring With Limited Information
Before Relias, much of our hiring was based on our subjective opinions. The only objective piece is what is on the resume, but we can’t consistently test skill or knowledge levels. When the CNO is not available, HR does the hiring, but that person is not medical. So, you end up hiring people who look great on paper (because HR is seeing an 18-year clinician), but are not prepared to do the work you need to be done. Now you’ve incurred an expense by bringing them onboard, and then you need to do remedial training on top of that.
Manual, Time-Consuming Orientation Process
All our HR documentation was on paper and put into in a big folder. New hires would have stacks of 70+ pieces of paper to fill out when they first arrive, including validating their licensures and certifications. Then, they would complete computer-based training onsite, which takes up an entire day.
Lack of Competency-Based Education
Before Relias, we used another learning management system (LMS) which was antiquated and not easy to use.
“Our previous LMS worked as a compliance tool, but when it came to specialty or focused training, the interactivity and content did not meet our organization’s needs”
Also, our nurses were completing their license and certification requirements on their own. But there wasn’t a way for us to show that those CEUs were consistent with the care requirements in our facility.
Q: Why Did Cordova Choose the Relias Nursing Suite?
Ability to Assess and Screen
Relias Assessments gives us the ability to consistently and objectively test the capabilities of potential candidates before hiring them. We can assess their clinical knowledge and skills as well as data on their behavioral traits and situational competency, which is very important for us. We serve a community of 1500–1800 people in the winter, a number that can go up to 5000 people during fishing season in the summer. We plan to use Relias Assessments as a screening tool, to make sure we are hiring people who are going to be able to integrate into a small town, while meeting the clinical requirements of our patients.
For our facility size, Relias provided us with the most cost-effective solution for our needed CEUs and the collective hiring and onboarding program. We were trying to make sure our one radiologic tech or physical therapist had the hours they needed, so we can integrate their training plans into one system. We plan to save time during orientation by having new hires complete some of their training and validate their certificates even before they get to the facility. Especially for our traveling nurses, we know they are coming a month in advance, so they can complete training at their leisure, prior to arrival. That way, they will already be trained on certain pieces.
Also, with the integration between Relias and our HRIS system, we automate some of the orientation process, and we would know exactly where everyone stands with compliance, without having to go through paper folders.
Consistent, Value-Added Education
Cordova’s nursing staff consists of almost 50 percent traveling nurses. They do 13–16 week rotations, and they turnover at least 3–4 times a year. We needed a sustainable way to standardize their training and capture their requirements to reinstate or re-validate all certifications.
The Relias Onboarding and Relias LMS combination allows us to maintain competency and consistency in training to produce a reliable patient care platform. We plan to use templates and create training plans specific to our different units. We’ll still have hands-on requirements because not everything can be done on a computer, but now, we can supplement that live training with evidence-based education. Since Relias provides CEUs, we can match and maximize their CEUs with relevant topics.
Most people do all compliance once a year, but that is not our intent. Our intent is for our staff to be in the Relias system every month to invest in staff growth and development. If you only log in there to do your compliance, you aren’t maximizing all that the tools can do.