Skills: Learning & development in the health sector

health sector, coursesonline
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Sarah-Jane McQueen, General Manager of the online healthcare course comparison website at CoursesOnline explains how health workers can find the time to focus on their learning & development in this special skills focus

The healthcare sector has been impacted massively by the COVID-19 outbreak. Front line workers have had to overcome significant changes in their working patterns, longer hours, and more pressure than they previously experienced. While there’s an implied expectation that these workers will continue to train and retrain, finding the time, energy, and motivation to do so can be a tremendous challenge. For already overworked staff members, the strain of a pandemic has been too much to handle.

Reports of anxiety, depression, and burn-out are rife among healthcare workers, according to recent government reports. While it’s continuously important to upskill, workers in this ever-changing and developing industry may find it hard to include additional training in their hectic work-life schedules. In such an expansive sector, it’s understood that entry[1]level workers need to continue their training long after they have qualified to hone their talents and keep their skills up to date.

However, the central problem that arises here is that entry-level workers must spend a wealth of their time working on the front line. With that in mind, forward-thinking managers should be open to flexibility.

Facilitating L&D for health workers

If you’re a manager and want to support your team to upskill, there are some steps you can take to facilitate that. It’s important to recognise that the mounting stress health workers experience may make it challenging for them to undertake any additional work. For that reason, management teams have an obligation to support them, and work around their existing constraints. Here’s a breakdown of the ways that managers can do that.

Different workers need different support

Depending on their training and responsibility level, different workers may need different levels of support. For example, if an entry-level worker is always on the front line, finding the time to work on training can be difficult. Similarly, managers who have a myriad of responsibilities and may tend to take their work home will struggle to add anything more to their figurative plate. While L&D is important, it’s equally crucial to acknowledge this fact.

Gather information on your team members

Since a ‘one size fits all’ approach is unlikely to yield positive results, you’re going to need to change tack. Gathering information from your team members is a smart place to start. One useful tool is to have them complete a survey expressing what type of training would suit their lifestyle. Gaining these details early means you can adapt your planning and practices to suit their needs. In the simplest of terms, their feedback could be invaluable when it comes to creating an effective L&D approach for your staff.

Be open to a level of flexibility

Flexibility should be at the core of your L&D approach. Since health workers are already over-stretched, you must be wary of any training that adds to the issue. Instead, be open to giving them a level of flexibility in their training. For example, you may look at courses that do not have set start and end dates. That way, staff members will be able to learn at their own pace and fit their studies into their schedule. It’s worth speaking to your team members and understanding whether this particular approach will work and what they need.

Consider using online or remote learning tools

While we’re on the topic of flexibility, it’s worth noting that there are a plethora of online tools available at your fingertips. In recent years, online learning has overtaken classroom-based initiatives and it’s plain to see why. Health workers can learn a great deal of skills online from the comfort of their own homes. Managers who are hoping to facilitate their team members’ learning should look into the available options. Embarking on a remote learning initiative may help ease the strain of additional training.

Takeaway

The healthcare sector continues to face an uphill battle. However, as a manager, you have the opportunity to support workers’ ongoing development during this time. Finding the most effective L&D solutions for your team is a step in the right direction. Take the time to consider the available options and work alongside your staff.

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