Point-of-care tests are those quick tests that nurses administer at the bedside. These typically include glucose, urine analysis, pregnancy and others. The learning function at Southern California-based health system Palomar Pomerado Health was asked by the laboratory to design training for nurses to do these tests.
The specific challenge was that nurses were not doing the tests the same way at each of Palomar Pomerado Health’s hospitals. Inconsistencies that lead to inaccuracies in a field such as health care are always potentially dangerous. Historically, having nurse educators conduct training had always been the solution. The problem was that they had varying opinions about the “correct” way to do the procedure.
Obviously, there were continued discrepancies in the quality of the procedures. Palomar Pomerado Health decided to take a chance with a virtual idea. The learning department’s in-house developer started developing a SCORM-compliant course that had three parts: an educational video, an interactive but virtual hands-on training segment and an assessment.
The video demonstrates the procedure, but the most powerful part of the module is the virtual training segment. Using Learnsoft’s LMS, each nurse is able to quickly access the course, and it takes only seven minutes to complete the drag-and-drop virtual procedure in the Flash-based training segment. This is followed by a short quiz.
Palomar Pomerado Health conducted clinical trials of four groups of new nurses at each of its hospitals and observed that all nurses (about 45) completed the course in 14 minutes. None of the nurses had ever physically done the procedure before. No supplies were used during training. A live educator was never required. The nurses took the course on the fly during the workday where they could fit it in. When the results came in, all performed the live procedure flawlessly the first time, without exception.
There were so many wins resulting from this training course that it is now a prototype for how Palomar Pomerado Health designs procedural content. The learning function has since produced eight of these of point-of-care test courses and has shared them with a local school of nursing.
Generally speaking, nurses often believe that they alone hold the knowledge to train people effectively. By observing this program and orienting to a new way of thinking, Palomar Pomerado Health was able to reorient the behavior and culture of the nurses within the company. This point-of-care program was a giant leap in convincing stakeholders that a professional learning approach just might be superior to SME knowledge alone. It boosted the perception of the education department in the organization and helped convince doubting SMEs throughout the company.
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