In part one of this blog, we looked at the top four tips for training urgent care staff. Your employees are the heart of your clinic, and make the difference between an average patient experience—and a great one. Here are some more tips from insider training experts, who’ve seen what works in educating urgent care personnel.
To ensure a solid foundation of knowledge in your staff, it’s important to appoint “champion” teachers in your urgent care. These champions are the go-to experts that new employees can rely on to know the answers to questions—whether those questions are about workflow, procedures and policies, or software and equipment knowledge.
Role champions are on the front lines of your daily clinic operations. Use these champions to share clinical updates and support consistent practices. Champions are more efficient than having all staff depend on one or two clinic managers for knowledge—and are more practical for support than just referring to training manuals.
Be thoughtful when selecting champions for your clinic. They don’t necessarily have to be the smartest or most tenured employees, but they should have an attitude of “go-getterness” and be willing and able to teach others.
Here’s a list of personality traits that we recommend for your role champions:
• Positive attitude
• Good communication skills
• Strong analytic and problem solving skills
• Exhibits technical aptitude and a willingness to learn
• Willing to train their peers
• Available to clinic staff for questions
• At the clinic at least six months
True, it’s difficult to teach to every individual learning style. Staff are simply too varied to teach skills exactly the way they’d like, but you can try to group learning styles together. Traditionally, billers and front desk personnel like to be demonstrated to first—and then like to practice on their own. Clinicians prefer hands-on learning, and being able to learn on the fly.
Keep in mind everyone learns differently—and adapting teaching, even slightly, may help others pick up information just a little bit better. You never know what makes teaching “click” for others. Sometimes it’s sharing in a class format, or it could be when two peers explain something to each other. Try to offer a variety of ways for staff to lea. Videos, shadowing, demonstrations, manuals, and one-on-one support are all options. Encourage questions and create a supportive environment for learning and teamwork.
Urgent cares frequently hire part-timers, floating personnel, and moonlighters who may work at several other jobs. Because of intermittent staff, it can be difficult to relay changes after orientation. It can also be hard to keep up with changes when staff may work at three or four healthcare organizations. While changes can be communicated through email, and staff can catch others doing steps the “old way”, the best way to ensure consistency is with regular workflow audits.
Another good practice when making workflow changes is to clarify the reasoning behind the change. Relate the update to the previous way it was practiced, and what it will look like in the future. This “entire picture” scenario will help staff be less resistant to changes, and help them understand why updates are beneficial.
After staff are hired and trained, they need to be trusted. You interviewed, vetted, did background checks, and ultimately hired them for a reason. After a set orientation and training period, they need to be able to grow. If wise decisions are made in hiring and training, then the probability is your employees will be strong staff—and uphold your standards.
Not empowering staff to make healthcare decisions is prohibitive—to not only them, but also the patient’s well-being. If only leadership is allowed to make important calls, staff will get frustrated. And in urgent care, that leader might not always be in clinic to make that decision. Clarify what choices staff can make, and which should be approved by a manager.
Training urgent care staff is vital to ensuring the excellence of your clinic’s care. Standard practices and a clear training program ensure that your quality of care will always be high—no matter how many staff you hire or may change over time. Current employees’ knowledge bases are essential for teaching new employees, so harness this power—along with any planned teaching efforts.
Remember, deliberate hiring for every role is the most important step to training success. The old adage of hire for personality and train skills is as true in urgent care as it is with any other business. Add training to enhance those individuals you’ve selected, and you’ll have a staff who makes your urgent care stand out from the competition. Patients will notice the difference in treatment and choose your urgent care over the rest.
You can learn more about solving staffing challenges in these resources: