How Small Hospitals Can Utilize eLearning For Training
When it comes to training within the medical field, traditional degree programs are only a starting point. Once a nurse has graduated from their nursing program and passed their licensure exams, there is still a lot they will need to learn on the job. Depending on where they work, however, ongoing education might be hit or miss.
Small hospitals and clinics are often strapped for resources and time, meaning that their ability to help train nurses is limited. Additionally, they might not have nurses with enough experience and ability to train new nursing staff. This is especially true in rural settings, where it can be difficult to attract experienced nurses.
The good news is that eLearning can be an excellent way for smaller healthcare organizations to train their nursing staff and provide top-notch care for patients. Here’s how clinics and hospitals can use eLearning tools to upskill their nursing staff.
The Benefits Of eLearning For Training Nursing Staff
There are many benefits of eLearning for training nurses. Although all registered nurses (RNs) will have the basic skills needed to safely care for patients, there are a lot of skills that don’t get enough time and attention paid to them as part of the nursing curriculum. Professional development is important for all nurses, especially those who are recent graduates. With eLearning, nurses can continually improve their skills and learn the most up-to-date best practices throughout their careers.
One of the main benefits of eLearning for nursing staff training is that nurses can learn at their own pace. Nursing is a demanding profession, and with shifts frequently changing, it can be hard for nurses to fit traditional continuing education courses into their schedules. The flexibility of eLearning means that even busy nurses can increase their knowledge and skills.
Another benefit is cost-effectiveness. In-person training is expensive, and most small organizations don’t have the budget to provide extensive live training. They might also need to hire nurses with less experience, as their salaries will be on the lower side. This means that the nurses will need more training overall to become effective members of the team. By investing in eLearning, these small organizations can stretch their budget while ensuring quality instruction for their nursing staff. Although some information will inevitably need to be updated, the ongoing costs are likely to be minimal.
Finally, eLearning allows for better consistency. Nurses will all receive the same training which helps to improve continuity of care and adherence to organizational policies. This is essential for ensuring high-quality care and for reducing errors.
Medical Skills For Nurses With eLearning
Although different organizations have different needs and priorities, there are certain skills that are unique to the medical field. eLearning can help nurses learn or practice a variety of skills, such as:
Clinical simulations can be used for a variety of patient scenarios involving difficult decisions nurses might have to make very quickly.
- Equipment training
Using various eLearning mediums to get familiar with medical equipment and nursing technology used in routine clinical work.
Using scenarios that present ethical dilemmas and give nurses the tools they need to work out what they should do.
- Case studies
Showcasing actual patient care scenarios to get nurses used to the types of cases they might see.
- Nursing informatics
Nursing informatics includes medical tech skills and working with data.
These are just a few of the medical skills that can be honed through eLearning coursework. Programs can be customized for the organization and some nurses might not need all modules, depending on their experience.
Designing Effective eLearning Programs For Training Nursing Staff
Although nurses need the same general skills to succeed, every organization has its unique policies and protocols. Therefore, it is usually essential for each clinic or hospital to create their own proprietary eLearning programs for the purposes of training. Supplemental eLearning tools from third parties can be used to help nurses learn specialized skills.
To design an effective eLearning program for a hospital or clinic, it’s important to start with the learning objectives. What skills and knowledge are necessary for a nurse to do well within the organization? What specialized knowledge is necessary for nurses to do their job? Which skills are often lacking among the organization’s nursing staff?
Starting with these questions will help guide an Instructional Designer in creating learning materials. The courses should be designed to cover the organization’s specialized needs and policies. These courses will be more effective with interactive elements, such as simulations, case studies, and quizzes.
It’s also important to use different learning aids, such as videos, photos, and audio material. This will help ensure that nurses with different learning styles can retain the material. Making the courses mobile-friendly will help with ease of use and encourage engagement among busy nurses.
Selecting The Right eLearning Platform
The platform used to host a small hospital or clinic’s eLearning curriculum is important, both for ensuring a good User Experience and for ensuring compliance. A user-friendly interface is critical, especially as some nurses are more tech-savvy than others.
A good platform is easy to use, both for the learners and for those who must keep the content updated and organized. It should have the ability for users to communicate with one another and ask questions about the material.
Finally, the right platform will have analytics capabilities that tell the user how far they have progressed in each lesson and allows administrators to see each user’s activity. This helps to ensure compliance and allows users to track their progress. Metrics collected as nurses go through the modules can also be used to help improve the courses over time.
Nurse Professional Development: Critical To Patient Care
The field of nursing continues to expand. There are many areas for specialization within the field. Although a small clinic or hospital might not have the resources to bring in a specialized nurse, eLearning can help bridge the gap and allow these organizations to “skill up” their workforce.
In bringing quality nursing care into facilities across the country, eLearning will play a pivotal role. For small hospitals and clinics, it could make all the difference in providing world-class care to people from all walks of life.