An estimated 3.8 million jobs will be added to the healthcare and social assistance sector by 2024. What does this equate to? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest employment growth among any industry projected between 2014 and 2024. Healthcare is booming!
Set to overtake state and local government and the professional and business service sectors, healthcare is experiencing unprecedented growth and change. This is due in part to an increase in the proportion of our population in older age groups which will require more care for longer periods of time. Also, more workers are entering retirement age leading to an increase in open positions.
As one generation of worker leaves, a new generation enters. Millennials (workers born between 1982 and 2004) present a unique challenge to healthcare employers. Traditional methods of recruiting may not be as effective. Millennials are not as driven as previous generations by pay. They look for clearly defined paths to career advancement, a positive work environment and continuing education.
The use of technology is also second nature to this group. Coming out of a collegiate environment, they are used to working any time, anywhere. It’s expected when they join an organization that they will have access to easy-to-use online resources with opportunities to continually update their knowledge and gain new skills.
So, how do healthcare organizations cater to the demands of new employees without alienating current employees? Training and continuing education opportunities are essential to continued success.
A 2015 report by Healthcare Source and ASHHRA noted that 1/3 of respondents to a survey conducted reported existing employees lack the knowledge needed to use emerging healthcare technologies. This is a problem that if not addressed will be detrimental to employers, employees and patients.
Training Takes Center Stage
Whether a new or a seasoned employee, all workers will need to be equipped with the resources and support to learn and apply new technologies. To do so, organizations should consider a variety of training options and provide a number of learning spaces to accommodate different teaching methods and learning styles. Below are several training formats and learning styles with space planning recommendations for each.
- Online Training – Online training allows employees to access training materials individually and on their own time. Employers provide workers simple spaces with access to computers or connectivity to Wi-Fi where they can log-on, review and complete required materials and courses.
When creating spaces for online training, consider noise levels and sound transmission. Workers will access audio so give consideration to walls that shield external noise or include doors so workers can make it clear training is in progress. Consider power options and wire management as computers or personal technology devices will need to be plugged in for use. Seating should be comfortable and flexible to accommodate longer periods of sitting.
- Blended Learning – Blended learning combines online education with traditional instructor-led teaching methods. Employees are trained or educated by a peer or a trainer and input is required from both parties. Workers may transition between hands-on use of tools, medical devices and more formal instruction like online training materials or printed materials.
Blended learning spaces should be highly configurable. Mobile tables and chairs make it easy for instructors to flip training, encouraging group participation. Flexible furniture solutions also allow employees to come together in teams to collaborate, or if necessary, they can easily move the furniture out of the way when doing procedures on the ground like CPR or other hands-on training.
- Formal Training – Similar to a traditional classroom, formal training is instructor-led. Training is conducted by a single person, lecture-style. Employees generally sit and consume information. Formal training may be done with large groups that need to be trained at one time. Formal training spaces typically include the instructor at the front of the room with rows of seating similar to a lecture hall. Consider seating that is easily stacked, lightweight and comfortable. Include worksurfaces for taking notes and for using tech devices like laptops and tablets. The instructor may use a lectern, projector or whiteboards to convey information.
Regardless of the training style, healthcare organizations are entering a critical period. Training and continuing education will be crucial to employee success and productivity which ultimately impacts the patient experience.