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Tips to Engage Nurses in Mandatory Training

Jo-Ann Byrne, RN, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2011

It’s that dreaded time of year again. All staff members must complete annual mandatory education, and once again, you’re struggling to figure out how to reach all of them in a prescribed period of time. You have to provide education regarding corporate responsibility, hazardous waste, infection control, The Joint Commission, the organization’s mission, risk management, and safety. This information must be reviewed annually and can become repetitive and tedious. The question to be addressed is: How can you make annual mandatory training meaningful and fun?

How many of you are still holding those 24-hour for three days open sessions hoping everyone will show up? Maybe you’ve switched to a unit/department-based method where managers, or their designees, are responsible for catching everyone over a period of days and making them do the “test.” How’s that working for you?

Up until three years ago, my organization was using a paper and pencil testing process to meet our mandated annual requirements. Not only was it cumbersome, it was hard to administer and even harder to track. There had to be a better, more efficient, and, hopefully, more creative way to instill in our staff a desire to complete their required mandatory education. My hope was that we could find a way to get them so excited about it that it wouldn’t feel like the burden many perceived it to be.

The first consideration of any mandatory training is always the validity of the content and the learning that needs to occur. In our organization, materials are always reviewed annually by content experts to ensure that we are presenting accurate and timely information. Once this is accomplished, we are comfortable pursuing innovative strategies to accomplish education goals.

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