After having to pivot to virtual-only training at the beginning of the pandemic, as of August, Nursing Professional Practice is once again providing in-person learnings in their monthly nursing and Personal Support Worker (PSW) orientations at London Health Science Centre (LHSC).
“Before the pandemic, the orientation was five days, all in-person,” Sarah Smith, Manager, Nursing Professional Practice, explains. “When the pandemic began, we had to pivot our education delivery to virtual. Now that some infection control measures have changed regarding distancing in meeting and training rooms, we are able to have the in-person element to the training once again.”
There are still virtual training elements to the five-day orientation, but the tactile skills nurses and PSWs learn such as patient handling, managing chest tubes, care of patients with central lines, and education regarding patient falls are again taught in-person.
“Many nursing skills are tactile and best learned through doing,” Smith says. “Educators did a great job providing meaningful and helpful virtual content to these orientations over the past two years, but it feels good to be able to provide these learnings again in-person.”
The orientation at LHSC is unique because of access to use the Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics (CSTAR) facility. This space provides nurses and PSWs the opportunity to learn and practice the skills in a simulated environment where participants are able to ask questions and learn in a safe space how to correctly perform job duties under the guidance and supervision of clinical educators.
The educators are happy to be back to provide that in-person guidance so nurses and PSWs feel confident when responding to situations that require quick thinking (like a Code Blue) as well as proper ways to perform tasks that are safe for the patient and for the staff member so they can prevent injuries.
Due to significant recruitment needs, the orientation continues to be adapted to the virtual and in-person format to accommodate the large groups of nurses and PSWs who are being onboarded. In September, the in-person training day is running twice to be able to accommodate a record number of new recruits.
“Educating these large groups is labour intensive and requires more staff to provide the education, but this is something we make a priority,” Smith explains. “The feedback from orientation participants is that these education sessions are valuable, necessary, and deeply appreciated.”
The principle of the central nursing orientation is that new hires receive the same information in a standardized practice which makes these skills consistent throughout the organization.
“From the educator perspective, it not only saves time to have nurses and PSWs that will work in various areas throughout LHSC to have standardized orientation but they really love the content they teach. It’s so rewarding to see concepts click for learners in-person,” Smith says. “We are so privileged to have CSTAR – a high-fidelity simulation space – with access to the equipment that enables us to provide this high-quality orientation experience.”