New Hospital, New Training Needs

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Catina Eyres, DipCritCare
Sally Lima, PhD
Clinical Learning & Development, Bendigo Health, Bendigo, Australia

Determining nurses’ training needs is paramount to the design and development of a continuing professional development nursing education program. Nursing education has too often been reactive; incidents, issues or concerns identified by staff or management then inform what education is provided, but is this reflecting what nurses really need and want? In early 2017, the largest regional hospital development seen in Victoria Australia was completed. Recognising a need to support nurses in adapting to a new environment and continuing to support their development, a commitment was made to undertake a training needs analysis with each nursing team in the organisation. Individualising the approach with each unit was considered vital to engaging nurses in the process rather than it be seen as another external demand.

Using demographic data and the Hennessy-Hicks training needs tool adapted for each work area/specialty, we commenced surveying nursing staff across the organization in July 2017. Thus far, demographic data, combined with the training needs tool data, is providing rich information identifying significant gaps as well as opportunities for nursing education.

The 30 survey questions were adapted by a nurse educator continuing professional development (NE-CPD), in consultation with the nurse unit manager, a senior nurse and a junior nurse from the area. Using an online survey tool, the NE-CPD developed the survey and the aims, including:

  • Identify unit specific training needs,
  • Identify unit specific gaps in current education opportunities,
  • Develop unit specific education resources,
  • Create a unit specific framework for ongoing professional practice,
  • Influence clinical education calendars from 2018 and beyond.

Demographic data questions included; age, highest level of education, professional designation, hours worked per fortnight, contract or permanent work, years of working in professional designation, years of working in current role/specialty and percentage of time working clinically. Analysing the demographic data creates opportunities to make recommendations based on learning styles and education program development, considerate of the staff generation.

To date, survey data has been collected & analysed for Children’s Ward, Nursing Education, Community Dialysis Unit, Emergency and Peri-operative services. Other units are in varying stages of development, collection and analysis of their data. These include Medical unit x 2, Orthopaedics, Surgical, Rehabilitation unit x 2 and the Intensive Care Unit. From the data that has been collected and numerically analysed, a clear need for training and development across all 5 sub-sections of the Hennessy-Hicks tool is demonstrated: research/audit, communication/teamwork, clinical tasks, administration and management/supervisory tasks.

Using thematic analysis, the open-ended question, which asks for up to six topics to include for future training and education, has highlighted common themes among all units, particularly relating to the new environment, specifically, equipment, increased patient acuity and communication methods.

The next immediate steps include surveying nursing staff in the other streams of the organisation, (i.e. home and continuing care, hospital in the home), with future plans to use this training needs tool across the entire organisation for all healthcare-related disciplines. By engaging all disciplines, one aim is to build greater opportunities for inter-professional education, reflecting the real experiences of healthcare professionals.