As a leader of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals, you are probably worried about engagement during training. The healthcare industry is particularly difficult right now, and much of that pressure comes down on HR leaders and those responsible for training and engagement. This isn’t the training that nurses, CNAs, and other healthcare workers need to get the job, it is the training they need when they are first hired in order to work within your facility. Or, it could be the training they get on an on-going basis to ensure that they reach goals on their clinical performance improvement plans.
As nurses progress at your facility, training doesn’t stop. Now, it can include training around specific initiatives, tools, and techniques that have been developed since they were in nursing school or to fulfill requirements set forward by the government. You’ve probably found these types of training to be the hardest. But they aren’t impossible!
If you are struggling to increase professional engagement in nursing, we’ve found these eight strategies to be most effective.
Nurse Engagement Starts With Choice
Do you have a library of learning materials that nurses can use when they need to complete their required training hours? When we have a choice in what we learn or what we “improve” about ourselves, we are far more likely to be engaged in the process and successful overall. If you only have one choice of training topic – or one way to get trained – you are going to see engagement rates fall.
To improve overall healthcare employee engagement, you can try to give nurses choices when it comes to:
- The topic they are completing training on (send out a survey, have a suggestion box, etc)
- When the training gets done (set a complete by date and allow them to fit it into their schedules)
- Who leads the training (self led, led by a specific manager or trainer, etc)
- What type of training they get (multimedia content, quizzes, talks, reading, etc)
Giving nurses a choice – even if it is only a small piece of the overall training – can help to increase engagement overall.
Tell Your Nurses Why
Why did you set up a training program for your nurses? If you can’t answer that question, your nurses aren’t going to engage as much as they should. People – even at work – want to know why they need to do something. If you explain the why to nurses before they start the program, you are more likely to see the engagement rates you want. The sooner you can start explaining why, the better.
Some things that can inform your why include:
- Why did you choose the training program you did? What problem needs to be addressed?
- Who requested the training?
- What goals do you want to accomplish?
- Who is the program designed for?
- How much time is it going to take?
The more details you can give before, the better.
Show The Training You Get
If you are going to a conference, subscribing to newsletters, undergoing training, or even just reading this blog, you are getting some kind of training. Be sure to let your employees know that you are doing the work as well. Send out little snippets from your training, display credentials and completion certifications, and talk about going to events that train you to be better in your position. Talk openly about what you liked and didn’t like.
Sometimes, nurses can feel singled out in the workplace. When they know they aren’t the only people going through this process, they will feel better about it.
Ensure Consistency Throughout The Organization
If you are training your tenured nurses on a topic, you need to ensure that you include at least some of the same training for your new hire onboarding as well. It doesn’t have to be the complete training (although it certainly can be). If older nurses find out that they had to sit through training and the new nurses didn’t get that same information, it can create a difficult situation. Furthermore, it can decrease nurse engagement during training.
This is why it is so important to create evergreen training modules and programs that you can use over and over again. Sure, you may have to change up some things, but if you only have to make small changes, you will save yourself a lot of time.
Encourage Nurse Engagement Through Incentives
Everyone loves incentives. Whether it is a free lunch and learn or some kind of special badge they can wear, try to think of an incentive to keep nurses engaged in training. It can be hard – older nurses have seen a lot of incentives.
Another way to think about incentives is to connect them to someone’s overall goal. Maybe you have a nurse that wants to become a lead or a teaching nurse. They will have to take specific steps and go through specific training to get there. It could be something like a salary increase as well.
Whatever that incentive is, make it clear from the start that it exists and you will see an increase in nurse engagement.
Nurse Engagement During Training Can Save Lives
At the end of the day, the work you do can make the difference in thousands of lives. The benefit of good training is immeasurable. Bad training can cause a waterfall of issues with your workforce, reputation, and even your own standing. Don’t allow a distaste for learning more or a lack of engagement during training stop you from getting crucial information to your nurses and other healthcare workers.