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Health care staff listen to a leader teaching a lesson over a simulation mannequin
June 27, 2018

Education event develops emergency department staff

As an organization that encourages constant learning and development, one department at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) takes an existing format to create a unique education event for its team.

Each year, most of the hospitals at HHS offer a multi-day annual review event to provide new learning opportunities for staff.

The emergency department (ED) at Juravinski Hospital wanted to try something new that would further appeal to its engaged group of people. Earlier this spring, they launched their own annual review.

“Staff in the ED experience unique patient scenarios that require a diverse skill set,” says Jennifer Kodis, Director, Seniors, Emergency & Community Medicine and joint site administrator for Juravinski Hospital. “An ED specific education event allows us to create learning situations custom to that team.”

“We placed a high value on engaging front-line staff.”

All sessions were in a small group format that enabled staff interaction with session leaders such as physicians, nurses, social workers and patient experience specialists. Several stations were set up with topics covering geriatric trauma, Ebola emergency preparedness and patient experience in the ED.

First annual review for front-line ED staff

The Juravinski ED event was the first annual review at HHS aimed at front-line staff in emergency or critical care.

It originated through an online survey conducted in the ED. Staff had to identify areas of learning they wanted to know more about, but they had to be specific to emergency care.

“We placed a high value on engaging front-line staff,” says clinical leader Michelle Kerssies. “The goal was to tailor this event to our team’s needs and deliver the result they expected based on the survey’s responses.”

Though most of the information at the hospital-wide annual review was useful, staff indicated they wanted more due to the complexity of their roles. The unpredictable nature of working in the ED made it difficult to attend in large numbers.

“Staff feel valued when they have protected time to learn with their peers.”

With learning and development being a big part of HHS’ People pillar, Kodis and her staff wanted to find a way to appeal to this group’s unique skill set.

“Staff feel valued when they have protected time to learn with their peers,” says Kodis. “This was one part of our larger strategy in the ED to develop our front-line workers from novice to expert in their fields.”

Plans to hold event in future years

The feedback on this year’s event has been mostly positive. Kerssies wants to see it happen again next year.

For them, it’s been a great team building opportunity that encourages engagement with other initiatives like CQI.

Kodis adds that all staff appreciate time dedicated to learning and hopes to see similar unit-level learning events like what took place in the ED happen regularly.