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Edging out the Competition

Yesterday I posted about what I thought would be important to home health and hospice industries in 2k11. Today, I am going to focus on staff development because I believe it is critical to all other goals that we may have.

When Toyota makes a car or Apple makes an iPhone, it is almost guaranteed that a newer improved model is already in the making when the latest version is released. Other industries who sell services similarly are always striving to be a step above their competition. The Google of today looks very different from the Google of yesterday and I think it is amazing the way you can find UPS packages online. Depending on your bank, you can scan a check using your telephone and deposit it without leaving your office. Will wonders never cease?

We sell nursing care, though and sadly I do not find the zealous drive to improve our ‘product’ on the top of our priority lists. The nursing shortage has made nearly anyone with a license employable and whether or not skills are developed is left largely up to the individual.

Obviously I am not talking about coding skills and OASIS skills that are crucial to our cash flow. I am talking about basic and advanced nursing skills. We have a right to expect our nurses to be able to check blood pressures and capillary blood sugars and teach about the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia. But, what about after that? What sets you or your staff above the competition? Does your agency offer the Lexus or the Moped of nursing care? Why should a referral source choose you instead of your competitor? If you are still dependent on sweetheart relationships with physicians, your agency is facing a perilous future. BFF’s are all too shallow when their own outcomes (read: payment) is affected by your nursing care.

A budget for education is crucial. You absolutely have to plan for it, make allowances for nurses’ time and pay for at least some of your staff to attend regional meetings. But without breaking even a modest budget, you can begin adding to the knowledge base of your staff right now (using technology that didn’t exist a few years ago.)

A brief search on YouTube yields an enormous amount of quality information that can be shared during case conference. Even though these lectures are informative on their own, I believe that a staff member should be present to answer (or research) questions. Given as group activity where discussion is welcome staff have the added benefit of learning from each other.

Here is the short list of what I found on YouTube:

  • Dr. Michael Miller discusses heart disease in a two part series in a conversational format with a hostess. This is very good refresher information for the LPN and RN and is appropriate for home health aides as well. Part One; Part Two
  • A short film on recognizing the signs of a heart attack. Suitable for all staff. Remember, it could be you having a heart attack one day and wouldn’t it be nice if the biller recognized that you needed help? Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
  • It has been long established that all patients with a history of heart attacks and most patients with heart disease benefit from beta blockers. What we don’t always recognize is that Beta Blockers are more than just medications to ‘treat high blood pressure’. Here is a short film for nurses to watch on the extensive effects and side effects of beta blockers. Beta Blockers
  • Medication errors, committed by patients or staff are deadly and yet human error can never be eliminated. Here is a great but long (1 hr 23 min) lecture on medication errors. If it isn’t feasible to share with all staff, it should be part of remedial action for any nurse who makes a medication error.
  • Alzheimer’s is a tragic illness for both patients and caregivers. Here is video that focuses on caregivers that will help all patient staff be a little more sensitive to the family members affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Your patients, your staff and referral sources will thank you for making the effort to improve the quality of care given to your patients. If you need help setting up an educational program, I can be reached by email or by calling 225-253-4876. As always, your comments are appreciated and if you have other YouTube sites you want to share, please help out your colleagues by posting the link.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Glenda White #

    I’m interested in staff development for my hospice team. Thanks, Glenda

    January 14, 2011

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