Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Training for the healthcare future needs today

The economic and job loss news seems to get worse by the day. While the statistics are awful the personal stories are even worse. The ones that brought instant tears to my eyes were the stories of individuals in their 70s who thought their retirement funds were wisely and safely invested, only to have lost them all in the past few months. Now they, too, are looking for jobs.

During times of high unemployment another phenomenon occurs: the enrollment in colleges and training programs increases. Many people choose to use this as an opportunity for personal advancement, maybe entering into a new career entirely.

What an opportunity for building our healthcare profession, especially nursing and caregiving! What an incredible time for us to use all the technological solutions we can find to enroll more people into these training programs, instead of limiting them to classroom availability.

One of the local colleges recently advertised for a director of distance learning– I have to admit, the idea was tempting to me.

If someone made me in charge of the healthcare education universe today I know exactly what I’d do: I’d blow the walls off.

I’d create powerful, moving, engaging online courses that taught facts, skills, concepts and compassion.

I’d include, in every single healthcare course, emotion-grabbing content to help the learner understand the human element of care.

I’d make sure that all students really got the message of person-centered care, or they didn’t go on.

I’d create learning experiences to allow the person to move through learning at his own pace – not mine. If he already knew material, I’d let him advance quickly to new material. I wouldn’t hold one student back just because others didn’t yet know something – each person would advance at his or her own pace.

I’d incorporate social learning, too, encouraging students to share their stories, their life experiences and their thoughts what they were learning.

I’d challenge them to grow as people, at the same time they were growing as professionals.

I’d build a system that could train unlimited numbers of individuals, learning together in classroom made of the web, interacting with each other and with instructors through virtual class discussions and knowledge checkpoints.

And then I’d turn my well-trained students out to the world, to practice – and perfect - their new skills in clinical settings – where nurses and caregivers and compassionate, involved individuals are so desperately needed.

I may not get the chance to be in charge of this particular universe, but even in my own little world opportunities exist to change the world.

Or at least to change the way we train – and the way we care.

To get just a small taste check out the Caregiver Certification course our team has recently developed. It’s a fully online way to step well-prepared into a whole new helping profession.

1 comment:

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