Wednesday, July 2, 2008

E-learning Addresses Healthcare Workforce Crisis

We've officially launched our new OHCA/aQuire online nursing assistant course. Even before launch, with no publicity and no way for people to find the online application website ( we were attracting 3-4 new applicants daily. It'll be fun to watch what happens in the coming weeks and months.

Why is this course so important?

It's important because, at the same time the senior population in our country is poised for the fastest growth ever, the workforce who typically provides care is shrinking.

Nurses and caregivers occupy 4 of the top 10 occupations with the largest job growth projected over the next 10 years. according to PHInational. The labor supply isn't growing fast enough to meet this demand - not even close.

Nursing schools are turning away applicants for lack of adequate instructors.

So how can e-learning help?

With e-learning, not only can more students enter the training pipeline but they can also receive consistent training throughout the system, regardless of where they choose to access the course.

E-learning can be a powerful tool, as well, to train individuals to meet the changing needs of the senior population. Specific approaches can be used to help the student better understand the human needs of the population, for example, and to train them on emerging challenges and approaches.

Finally, e-learning is the perfect tool for training a workforce that is diverse and includes immigrant workers who don't understand spoken English well. E-learning allows the student to learn at his or her own pace, and lets the student hear and see the words as well as the visual illustrations, representations or video examples. Students can use immediately accessible online translation programs, too, to help them better grasp concepts in their own language.

Online nursing assistant courses are only the first step to increasing the availability of healthcare workers to meet the coming demands. Our creativity, imagination and ability to employ effective e-learning approaches are tools that will help us solve this crisis, starting with this first small step.

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