Friendship Retirement Community

Virginia Senior Care

10 hours

average hours of continuing education completed by staff, per month Download the Success Story

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Interview with Friendship Retirement Community

Relias interviewed Training Coordinator Kim Novak with Friendship Retirement Community. Friendship provides quality residential and clinical services to residents and the community through the provision of appropriately licensed housing accommodations, recreational activities, assistance in daily living, rehabilitative services, and extended term nursing care.


Q. What was the deciding factor to move forward with Relias?

A: When I moved into Human Resources it was my first initiative. We realized a lot of companies were using online education. If you go to any of the providers in our area, they all have been doing online education forever. If anything, we were running behind the curve.

There’s no way we could do what we do now with only face-to-face. We’d have to hire full-time educators. My original job was to keep up with the state’s assisted living mandates, and even though I’m a dementia practitioner, I couldn’t provide all the education they needed.

For dementia our staff have to have 6 hours right off the bat, and since it’s a mixed facility, the employees have to have a total of 12 hours of education. And that’s just dementia — they’ve got to have a multitude of other fields as well. The employees average around 10 hours a month of continuing education, and there’s no way I could do that. Before, I was doing it in the form of articles and things like that, I just couldn’t do it all face-to-face — it was impossible.


Q. From a systems and adoption perspective, was the Relias system easy to implement?

A: It was very easy! Relias was very key for our company. It was the first electronic initiative for our company that proved our employees would have to get used to computers. Think about the hours we were spending. Everyone is on there, the amount of time it’d take to keep 700-something people on record is absurd.

It went really well! Relias was the reason why we could springboard into new systems. Relias doesn’t sit as an entity unto itself, it has a place in every aspect of our company. I couldn’t imagine anything better.


Q. How do the Relias courses meet your organization’s needs?

A: I love the 800-something courses you have. They’re always being updated, and it lets me swap courses in and out to keep things fresh for the staff.

I assigned myself probably 20 courses the other day because they looked interesting. The brilliant part about it is the courses are about more than just annual mandatory training – there are life skills courses in there too. You have 24-hour access to free education, go take a course on balancing checkbooks or Microsoft Excel. There are also great courses around coaching. Smart business and smart leadership are two courses we use to help develop our employees and it’s a basis to make sure we have the fundamentals for our directors and managers.

I built the curriculums for the assisted living facility, I made sure it was all ANCC-accredited so they can get their needed continuing education. That’s the only way they can reasonably get the required hours. If they aren’t getting it with Relias, they have to be getting it on their own somewhere else.


Q. Do you find the Relias Learning courses current and up-to-date?

A: Oh yeah, and I love that you are constantly updating everything. Your coursework information is updated and accurate. I think you have a really good curriculum and course team to make sure the information is current. There’s no way I could do everything I had to do without Relias, it’s incredible. Ethics, customer service, whatever, I can find it in the Relias system. The language is so good, we use it as our own set of expectations for our employees.

“There’s no way I could do everything I had to do without Relias, it’s incredible.”


Q. Do you create your own courses in Relias?

A: Oh, I do it very often. Sometimes I use PDFs, articles, and videos. I videotaped one of our local fire educators to discuss correct procedures for a fire drill. We filmed it and use it every year as part of a mandatory safety curriculum. I’ve filmed the therapy department, so people can view correct procedures to do lifts or operate equipment. And that’s the big thing, accountability. I can go back in and see what you’ve taken and when you did it.

The other big thing we use it for is events. It’s a great way to track attendance and receive credit. It runs with very little messaging. It’s not painful at all, it just gets done. Relias has made everything I want to do a reality.


Q. Has the Relias system helped automate your training initiatives?

A: I think the biggest feature we use is our automated upload. Our users are automatically uploaded into Relias every Friday at midnight, including payroll information. I can’t imagine doing anything differently now. It’s wonderful stuff, and gets done very rapidly. I was putting in what I thought their user name should be, but by automatically doing it, it removes human error and makes everything uniform and easy. With our organization, there are too many job classifications and job titles to keep track of licenses, I couldn’t do it on my own. Also with auto enrollments any time I enter in a new hire, they’re now automatically assigned a six-hour orientation course and pop up in the system.


Q. What are state surveys like now that you have Relias?

A: It’s much easier on me and our organization. It’s not just my handwriting. If they want to see a person’s trainings, they can print it out and see for themselves. There’s no question of integrity, it’s there in black and white.

The state really likes to see records this clean. They love Relias because of how vast an array of courses and reports are available. I’ve found a way to link hands-on training with Relias, and it all goes hand-in-hand. The states like online education and Relias a lot.