On the minds of every nervous new hire, nursing or med tech school graduate is, “how will I do in the real world?” Often times when hiring staff we see the license included with their names and assume that what a tech or a nurse learns in school prepares them to come and work as a nurse in a medical practice. But most of the time, it just gives them the knowledge and skill base to pass their boards or final exam (depending on licensure level).
It is imperative to offer a few different things to ensure your staff is operating at the highest level possible, regardless of if they are licensed or not. It is imperative because ensuring they are trained well decreases liability issues and increases their value to your clinic.
1. Develop a training plan. Don’t just throw your new staff to the wolves! Instead, develop a training protocol and follow it. Have a new employee check off on all of the skills necessary to function in their role. Most licensing boards are fairly lenient on what a practitioner can do “with the proper training.”
2. Develop protocols for procedures and job duties. Every time you add a new procedure for your practice, take a little bit of time to develop a protocol for everyone involved, run a few practice drills so that each level of practitioner understands their duties. To ensure they understand the new procedure, have them check off what they’ve learned on a form.
3. Renew your staffs check-offs once per year. Be sure keep a copy of a staff member’s check offs in her file; also keep a binder of protocols for the staff’s reference.
4. Cross-train for many roles. As you know, I am a fan of cross-training the entire staff to perform all of the roles in the office. Understanding that there may be some items that are simply not appropriate for an unlicensed person to perform (this does not apply to an office operating with strictly “med techs” in that case there is no reason for the entire staff not to be trained to perform in the clinical roles), develop an abbreviated protocol for the front office to check off on for the clinical side as well.
5. Explore professional training. Fresh out of time to write protocols? It is important that you makes some, but if you cannot then explore professional training options. I have recently been introduced to services whose purpose is to come in, provide quality educational-training programs, specific to your needs, and train your staff on procedures and patient care. One local to my home state of Texas, Bridge the Gap Medical Education Services LLC, performs just those services. They are on a mission to “bridge the gap” between what a nurse or tech learns in school, and what they need to “retain employment and provide excellent patient care” in a clinical setting.
Occasionally an office is gifted with a fabulous staff that stays for years and years, but the reality of most offices is that your staff will come and go. Therefore, having protocols in place helps to ensure that new staff coming in aren’t left unable to pick up where the previous employee(s) left off. Give your staff their best chance to succeed and give them the proper training and protocols for what you expect of them. It helps to ensure you are getting the best staff for your money and helps to protect you against liability issues that arise. If you don’t have anything in place, make the goal of starting now, and being prepared with protocol training for each employee’s annual review.
What do your current training and re-training programs consist of?