Health WorkForce New York (HWNY) has created an affordable, convenient service for healthcare organizations called Rapid Compliance. This hassle-free, online compliance training is designed with you and your employees in mind. The 16 healthcare compliance training modules prepared by subject-matter experts are kept up-to-date with industry regulations and on-the-job best practices, as well as optimized for learning on any device for accessibility. Within 24 hours, employees can log in to their learner accounts, access their dashboard, and begin their trainings from any internet connected device at anytime during the compliance year. Employers have the option to send automated reminders that can go out as emails or SMS text messages in order to easily and conveniently keep your employees on track. HWNY will also remove the burden of tracking your employee’s compliance training progress by sending routine compliance reports, exactly as you need them. Throughout this entire process, we provide hands-on customer support to you and your employees to ensure they’re compliant and you’re stress free. Contact us today to learn more!
Written by Kris Merchant and Christen Aldrich
The impact of COVID-19 on our present situation has been described in abounding ways: disruptive, burdensome, never before seen, unprecedented. Regardless of whether you are a student, nurse, marketing analyst, or HR Director, your professional life has most likely been dramatically affected. With this, you have undoubtedly been faced with conducting your management, learning, or business over Zoom and other virtual formats. For some, this may make things easier; for others it presents unfamiliar challenges. The world speculates when things will “go back to normal,” but there are many indicators that this is the new normal, and the way we now work is here to stay – with or without the pandemic.
It is often surmised that people grow when they are challenged, and their status quos disrupted. As COVID-19 has disrupted and continues to disrupt life as we know it, adaptive leadership becomes a crucial entity for HR Directors to represent. Adaptive leadership is a “practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. It is being able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of change” (Cambridge Leadership). The practical tools of adaptive leadership help you identify and make progress on moments like these in your own life, team, or community (Acumenacademy.org).
One practical tool that has become not only critical in these times, but necessary for continuing business is moving things online. For the past several years, businesses, start-ups, higher education, and other sectors have deliberately been taking their work and learning online (Harvard Business Review). As most industries are being forced to move online due to the ongoing pandemic, “having a digital presence is more important than ever” (Reach Further, Eastwestbank.com). Many sectors face a two-fold challenge: successfully reorienting their products and services to be as appealing to their consumers as possible, and maintaining, engaging, and focusing their mostly-remote workforce so operations can continue and grow. Of all sectors, healthcare is particularly disrupted.
Healthcare has forever struggled to adapt to our increasingly digital world. Some would argue the barriers to a digital transformation are often decidedly nontechnological (McKinsey & Company). In a recent interview, Harold F. Wolf, president and CEO of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), considers a change of culture to be the biggest hurdle in the industry’s digital transformation. Today, the challenge of redesigning the delivery of care, and the recruitment, engagement, and development of its workforce seemingly overnight is substantial. Services such as telehealth, whose growth to scale lagged prior to March 2020, have been forced to market out of necessity. Reports in April indicated that as many as 90% of physicians in the United States were utilizing some form of telehealth technology to treat patients remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Healthaffairs.org). Moreover, social media and marketing have been instrumental in appealing to a younger healthcare workforce over the past few years as Millennials and Gen Z-ers come of working age, and many healthcare facilities have begun to dip their toes into concepts such as “employee engagement” and “engagement apps.” These signs are promising, yet the shift towards digital is still reluctant and lethargic. Perhaps one of the biggest difficulties for healthcare organizations during this time – particularly HR and training managers – is the shift towards virtual learning.
Every healthcare HR Manager understands, from experience, the burden that conducting workforce trainings can become (Group Management Services). From annual in-service trainings to new employee onboarding, professional development, skills-building, re-certifications, and metric-based training requirements, the traditional training delivery and management process requires a lot of staffing, coordination, paper, collection, tracking, reporting, and occasionally, unhappy participants that don’t want to sit in a room for an hour. In March 2020, when social distancing and crowd-size regulations began taking effect, the traditional training model was flipped on its head.
As previously stated, every disruption is also an opportunity for growth and experimentation. The last five months have been exceedingly difficult for healthcare HR, particularly in workforce training and development. These obstacles are caused by the unprecedented need for training on new policies and procedures, remaining compliant with new and ever-changing regulations, continuing existing training and certification programs, and offering employees professional development opportunities that lead to better job satisfaction or promotions. Is COVID-19 here to stay? If not, is it really worth overhauling an entire training program if things will just go back to the way they were in a few months? The short answer is yes, it is worth it, and you need to know why.
Our future is unknown. It is impossible to tell if COVID-19 will be around in 6 months, a year, or even five years. But there is growing proof-of-concept for the value virtual learning has, especially within healthcare. Here are a few promising signs:
- It is already happening – virtual learning has been implemented, tested, and proved viable prior to COVID-19. The International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL, www.inacsl.org) and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH, www.ssih.org) issued a position statement on use of virtual learning and simulation during the pandemic on March 30, 2020. Within that statement, the simulation organizations made the following assertion:
“… We can attest that virtual simulation has been used for over a decade successfully. Further, research has repeatedly demonstrated that use of virtual simulation – simulated healthcare experiences on one’s computer – is an effective teaching method that results in improved student learning outcomes…”
- For the organizations and facilities currently utilizing virtual learning to conduct at least part of their training, doing so is saving them time, resources, and money. Other benefits of online learning include:
- Larger audiences
- More subject matter
- Organization and control
- Record keeping
- Up-to-date compliance requirements
- Conducive to all types of learners (Dr. Jim Collins).
- Even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, regulations restricting group-sizes and social distancing will likely remain in effect to some degree, suggesting the necessity for virtual solutions long-term. Furthermore, in circumstances where there may be a heightened risk of cross-contamination, rampant infection, and person-to-person transmission of pathogens (COVID-19, for example), the ability to train remotely offers medical educators and learners a tremendous opportunity to develop and maintain clinical proficiency without physical contact (CAE Healthcare).
- The healthcare workforce is increasingly Millennial, who prefer virtual learning so they can engage on their own time, with their own devices, and in places they choose. By the year 2025, roughly 75 percent of the global workforce will be Millennials. Across the globe, 70 percent of tomorrow’s future leaders might ‘reject’ what business as traditionally organizational has to offer, preferring to work independently by digital means in the long term (Deloitte).
All this said, there is still a critical question that healthcare HR has: So how do we do it?
This question is what we strive to answer for you. This blog is the first installment in a new series Health WorkForce New York is releasing that explores virtual learning and how it can be implemented at your organization. We will take a look at the challenges and opportunities of virtual learning, its long-term value and impact beyond COVID-19 focuses, and will provide expert recommendations, resources, and a toolkit for successfully implementing a virtual learning program at your healthcare facility. With 8+ years of working with healthcare organizations and workforce development organizations, we will bring our insight, experiences, and expertise to you within this series.
If you are like the majority of Americans, you are probably glued to your smartphone. You likely use it to check emails, keep track of the news, and interact with friends on social media. In fact, 2016 was the first time that mobile Internet use surpassed desktop use, tipping the scales at 51.2% for mobile, and 48.7% for desktop (techcrunch.com).
With this in mind, it’s important to understand how crucial it is to have a mobile accessible platform and content. Just because your organization has a website, doesn’t mean it is optimized for phones and tablets. Not to mention, there are 56.7 million Americans who have a disability (2010 U.S. Census). According to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million people with visual impairments worldwide, 39 million of whom are blind, as well as more than 360 million people who have disabling hearing loss.
Mobile plays a central role in providing an exceptional degree of autonomy to individuals with these and other types of disabilities. Mobile devices and applications can provide access to information and services that might otherwise be unavailable. In 2013, Georgia Tech’s Wireless Engineering Rehabilitation Research Center conducted a study that showed 92% of people with disabilities use a “wireless device such as a cell phone or tablet.” Many use a screen reader, which is a piece of software that relays content and functions audibly to the user.
Additionally, the New York Times reported in October 2017 that the Baby Boomer generation (those between ages 53 and 71) are a coveted buying audience by many industries, primarily due to having discretionary income and the time to spend it. The New York Times also cites a report by eMarketer for AARP, which claims that more than 60% of boomers owned a smartphone is 2016, and 73% of people ages 50 to 59 owned a smartphone and used it daily. Incidentally, age-related farsightedness, which makes screen text difficult for some, affects both men and women around the age of 40.
Mobile websites and applications have revolutionized the way we stay in touch, conduct business, search for goods and services, and keep ourselves entertained and informed. As these services and information sources move to a mobile environment, it is critically important from both civic responsibility and litigation standpoints, that content be available to everyone. It’s also important for mobile web designers, developers, and content providers to remember the end user – and that even if you aren’t directly impacted by a disability, many in your potential user base could be (Vivian Cullipher, microassist.com).
Making online content accessible means building a website, app, document, video, or other digital medium in such a way that people with disabilities can perceive, operate, and understand your content, even when using assistive technologies such as screen readers or magnifiers. Web designers and developers, as well as the companies that own and host websites, should ensure that accessibility is built into their website from the very early stages. If you’re still not convinced, here are four more important reasons to design your mobile website to be accessible:
- Google Prioritizes Mobile-Friendly Websites
Mobile-friendly websites are prioritized over those that are not in mobile search results. The Google algorithm change that occurred in 2015 completely changed the way Google displays mobile search results. Websites that are optimized for mobile rank better than those that do not.
- It’s Becoming a Standard Best Practice
Countless websites are mobile-friendly with more and more coming online every day. Responsive web design has made mobile optimization more direct and accessible to everyone, which means users have begun to expect this level of functionality to become standard when browsing on their mobile devices.
- It Builds You Credibility
Having a mobile accessible platform and content helps you build credibility with your users, clients, and other influencers in your industry. With a mobile website, the chances of anyone who visits your site on a mobile device will more than likely have a positive experience, and this will encourage them to see you as a credible resource for information and services.
- It Benefits Your Reputation
The importance of a mobile accessible platform and content benefit you not just online, but offline as well. People will take note and remember a website they have a great experience with, and consequently they will also take note of a website that gave a poor experience. Reputation is everything, and most businesses and organizations cannot afford to give people a bad experience – digital or otherwise.
Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly are quickly falling by the wayside as our world is quickly evolving into a predominantly digital environment. Waste no time in contacting us today to help guide you in building what your users want and need. We are here to help!
By this next year of 2020, Millennials are said to comprise half of the American workforce. By the year 2025, roughly 75% of the global workforce will be Millennials. They are no longer up-and-coming: they are here. Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial (pewresearch.org). The “job” and “workplace” as we now know it is evolving into something completely different and for some, unrecognizable. Tools and technology that are used in the office are changing, and therefore the workspace and culture of companies are completely altering as well.
The significance of culture cannot be stressed enough – “It affects or defines the ability of the leadership and employees to relate to each other for the common good of the organization and operate within a mutually agreed and acceptable boundary of cultural values and emotional interface” – (Entrepreneur.com). Culture means everything, and the culture of organizations will be directly shaped by this generation’s habits and expectations.
Despite a reputation for being lazy, self-centered, and noncommittal to their employers, research and surveys have affirmed that Millennials are actually motivated and driven by numerous things. According to a recent Deloitte Millennial Survey, Millennials desire roles that offer purpose and the opportunity to change their personal and professional environment. How do they want to make their impact? As stated by The Future Workforce Study, the answer is through technology.
Millennials have been exposed to technology and have had more screen time than any other generation in history. As it has become completely incorporated into their everyday lives, Millennials no longer ask for competent technology at their work; they expect it. While this expectant behavior may be seen as entitlement, Millennial workers are really just wanting the tools needed to perform their job efficiently.
As this tech-dependant generation is close to representing more than half of the global workforce, organizations are looking for cutting-edge tools to meet their employees’ needs. One of the most essential needs is personal and career development through learning programs (Forbes.com).
In a recent poll by Gallup, 87% of Millennials surveyed claimed professional development was an imperative part of their job. This desire to learn and grow is a key trait that separates Millennials from previous generations in the workplace. Learning management systems, certification programs, and workplace training opportunities are not just attractive benefits, but absolutely necessary in engaging and retaining these employees.
Learning management systems have the ability to enhance training programs and help with certifications through video, audio trainings, and quizzes. These strategies are critical in retaining this group of employees, because although they have a reputation for moving from job to job, Millennials have a record of remaining with organizations that offer personal and professional development opportunities.
In addition to these personal and professional development opportunities, Millennials crave and require feedback and communication. This generation has experienced the accelerated evolution of communication through technology. Immediate response time of text messages, instant messengers, and group chat applications are not just for personal matters, but are now an employee demand (Paycom).
Millennials and technology are undoubtedly changing the workforce. In this era of rapid changes, it is important to understand how technology has become an integral part of Millennials’ goals to impact this world of change. Do not wait – give your workforce the technology they need to innovate and change the world in ways previous generations would not even dream of.
Long-term care, or LTC, is “…the care you may need if you are unable to perform daily activities on your own. That means things like eating, bathing, dressing, transferring and using the bathroom,” (Genworth.com). LTC includes both medical and non-medical support, and is provided to anyone in need, not just the 65+ population. The long-term care workforce includes nursing assistants, home health and home care aides, personal care workers, and personal care attendants (Institute for the Future of Aging Services). However, physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and informal caregivers are also included in this workforce (Leadingage.org).
With the increasing presence of aging baby boomers and a retiring workforce, “The US will need to hire 2.3 million new health care workers by 2025 in order to adequately take care of its aging population, a new report finds,” says CNN. While this may speak of the healthcare workforce shortage as a whole, the long term care workforce shortage is a large part of the overall picture. According to this article by CNN, home health aides, which are a large component of the long-term care workforce, are projected to suffer the highest shortage rate of all healthcare professions by 2025. They were projected to be short nearly 450,000 workers, according to the article. In addition, their shortage far exceeds the other three professions listed in the study. The next highest, with a projected shortage number of 98,700, are medical and lab technicians and technologists. They are followed closely by nursing assistants, (who are also primary workers in the long-term care workforce), with a projected shortage of 95,000 workers. At 29,400, nurse practitioners come in last of the top four healthcare workforce shortage projections.
There are a number of factors contributing to the LTC workforce shortage. Low wages are a considerable contributing factor. Home health aides make up one of the larger portions of the LTC workforce and, according to Salary.com, they make an average of $12 an hour in the United States as of October 2019. Combine this with the fact that the job itself is strenuous and taxing, recruiting and retaining workers in this field is extremely challenging. According to this LTC workforce commission report by the Institute for the Future of Aging Services, there are more occurrences of accidents and injuries in LTC than are found in the construction and mining industries. The report also adds, “ One national study of assisted living reported annual turnover rates of about 40 percent among personal care workers and nurse aides.” In addition to poor wages, job dissatisfaction contributes to the high turnover rates in this field. However, one of the top, if not the top reasons direct care paraprofessional workers don’t leave their jobs is due to their relationships that are formed between them and the older adults under their care. Amongst these workers, those who feel that their supervisors appreciate them and take the time to listen to them are more likely to stay in their position, the report shares.
There are numerous other reasons why recruiting and retaining workers into LTC is challenging. One reason, according to the report, is the negative stigma that surrounds nursing homes. Poor human resource practices are also a large complaint made by workers in LTC. Many direct care staff feel their supervisors and managers aren’t adequately communicating with them or listening to their needs. Many feel “powerless to change their work environment.” Furthermore, the report discusses the lack of education and training, saying, “Most direct care paraprofessionals appear to learn what is expected of them and how to do their jobs after they have been hired. As a result, large numbers are unprepared for the demands placed upon them and leave their jobs within the first few months.” The disconnect between the training for the job and the job itself falls on the responsibility of both the employer and the training provider. This isn’t to say that recruitment campaigns must highlight every negative aspect of LTC work in order to set realistic expectations for incoming workers; rather, the onboarding process and subsequent training must realistically reflect the expectations and roles of the job so that new employees feel prepared and competent.
The report also shares an unsettling explanation for why paraprofessionals are more difficult to recruit and retain in the LTC workforce. They say:
The dilemmas peculiar to the recruitment and retention of the paraprofessional workforce are perhaps the most complex and difficult to resolve. Wages are not adequate to support young families with children. The job is often not well-designed, creating inefficiencies, unnecessary job burdens and subjecting occupants to high rates of injury. There are few opportunities for career advancement. Supervision is poor or non-existent. In addition, low unemployment rates for all entry-level personnel, coupled with increasing levels of education among minority populations, provide this labor pool with far more choices than low-income women have had in the past.
There are clearly barriers on nearly every level that are prohibiting job satisfaction. With complex, multi-faceted problems such as this calls for various specialized and innovative solutions. There are many avenues to take in order to attempt to solve the numerous complex issues surrounding the LTC workforce crisis. The LTC workforce commission report suggests a few:
- Modernize the image of the long-term care industry
- Target information on long-term care careers to post-secondary education and professional schools
- Develop effective long-term care leaders and managers
- Invest in information technology to reduce paperwork burdens in long-term care settings
- Promote long-term care employers’ self-assessment of working conditions
- Improve federal fair labor standards/other mandated worker protections for long-term care personnel
- Develop pathways to career advancement in facility-based and home and community care settings
- Establish “Center(s) on long-term care leadership, management and supervisory innovation”
- Make education and training opportunities more accessible, particularly in rural areas
- Improve medical directors’ performance
The solutions suggested in the report are not all listed here due to the large quantity of them. However, it is clear that there are many ways to help solve the LTC workforce crisis. Luckily, many healthcare workforce development initiatives have joined in the effort to implement many of these solutions. Health WorkForce New York is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to healthcare in under-represented and underserved areas across New York State and beyond. If you are interested in advancing your LTC services, contact us today to see how we can help.
During the past decade, organizations have used onboarding programs with the hopes of seamlessly integrating a new employee, all while attempting to improve retention, engagement, and their overall employee experience. Sadly, most companies are completely failing at implementing a successful onboarding program. According to a survey recently completed by Gallup, only 12% of employees agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees. The consequences of this are detrimental – significant turnover within the first year of employment and low engagement among employees who stay.
So what exactly has gone wrong with onboarding? And how do companies fix it?
Socialization is a key component of an employee joining a new team, and arguably crucial to success in any role. However, onboarding always seems to be “someone else’s job,” with leaders, managers, and team members not taking responsibility. If no one is reaching out to help the new employee, it’s no wonder that employees never feel fully engaged and leave the company early. When managers take an active role in onboarding, employees are 3.4 times as likely to strongly agree their onboarding experience was exceptional (Gallup).
Another major problem with onboarding relates to too many details slipping through the cracks. There are many circumstances that can affect the extent to which details are missed during employee onboarding, however, too many missed opportunities can cause stress on the new employee. Not to mention, it doesn’t paint a positive picture for what their experience may be in working with this organization. Some common examples of missed details include:
- Employee’s key card doesn’t function on the first day
- A key piece of equipment did not arrive before the employee did (i.e. laptop, computer mouse, cell phone, etc.)
- New hire arrives before supervisor on the first day
- Email address isn’t set up by IT in time
- Employee uniform was not ordered before the new hire arrived
- A benefits enrollment meeting was forgotten (Exacthire.com)
Not only does the disregard of these details leave your team scrambling at the last minute, it also makes a negative first impression on your brand-new employee. Think about what these new hires may be saying to friends and family about their first few days of work. In addition, think about how this might be amplified on social media. Great onboarding = great PR for your business.
Gallup discusses how company culture can also play into great PR for your business, and this begins with onboarding. A PowerPoint slide with your core values listed is not enough to truly convey what makes your organization an extraordinary place to work. New employees want to know if they belong with you. Furthermore, they want to know what you believe, and how that makes a difference in the way work gets done. Organizations need to provide immersive experiences that let employees feel your values, not just be able to name them.
An example of this might be focusing on safety. If safety is essential to your culture, consider bringing in managers who can explain a story about tough calls they made in the name of safety. Introduce and celebrate safety award winners in front of new employees. You could even create immersive role-playing scenarios where the real managers evaluate teams on their safety thinking. The purpose of onboarding is to get new hires acquainted and inform them about the company’s values, mission, vision, and history. New employees should leave work those first few days feeling excited about their new journey and engaged in their work.
Engaged, talented people want to work with you because they see opportunities and possibilities. Ben Wigert, Director of Research and Strategy at Gallup explains, “Onboarding can often feel like a bait-and-switch operation, where many of the opportunities promised during the job interview are shown to be illusory. It may not be time to talk promotions, but managers should have conversations about an employee’s dreams and desires early on.” All of this can be built into the onboarding process. Employees should also be introduced to learning and development opportunities that extend training beyond formal onboarding. Again, something that can be built into the process. Employees who strongly agree they have a clear plan for their professional development are 3.5 times more likely to strongly agree that their onboarding process was exceptional.
Compared with employees who rate their onboarding experience at a “4” or below on a 5-point scale, employees who give their onboarding a “5” are twice as likely to strongly agree they feel fully supported and prepared in their new role. In fact, if your employees aren’t consistently scoring your onboarding process a “5 out of 5,” the majority of people going through your program would not strongly agree they feel fully prepared and supported in their new position. “In other words, if your onboarding is not exceptional, it’s broken. To make onboarding work, HR leaders need to design a consistent, creative and deeply engaging experience that wows new employees,” says Ryan Pendall, writer at Gallup.
Depending on the size of your organization, allowing for flexibility may also be necessary within your onboarding process. Jessica Stephenson, Vice President of Marketing and Talent at ExactHire claims, “Failing to customize the onboarding experience can be just as detrimental as not having much of an onboarding process, too.” It’s important to determine the core elements of your process – those activities that must be introduced to all new hires, and then flex the experience to cater to different new hire requirements that may be based on:
- Employee geographic location
- Department and/or division
- Employee role/level in organization
- Special accommodations for employee
- Assessment results (ExactHire.com)
The definition of employee onboarding encompasses so much more today than it did in the past, so it’s no surprise that numerous potential problems now exist. Today, there are many things to track, and many people to involve. Some growing organizations are utilizing independent systems to mitigate some of the administrative burden. Emails are manually sent to different stakeholders to remind them to complete things, such as ordering new business cards, creating schedules and timesheets, and coordinating department members’ agendas for a new hire lunch. Excel spreadsheets are used to keep track of which employees have signed off to acknowledge the latest policy update.
This gradual approach to systems is a step in the right direction; however, it pales in comparison to the efficiency and productivity that can be achieved with web-based onboarding technology. By having a single system to integrate all onboarding-related forms, tasks, activities and assignments can help alleviate (and even avoid) many of the problems often associated with onboarding. At the very least, it can help free up time to address more intricate aspects of the onboarding process. “Robust employee onboarding software can handle your tasks, notifications, employee signatures and HR countersignatures, form updates, prompts for benefits enrollment, equipment provisioning, training curriculum and more. Plus, moving cumbersome paperwork into the cloud means no more illegal handwriting and incomplete fields on statutory forms,” Stephenson says.
A broken onboarding process not only loses exceptional talent, it loses your organization money. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employee turnover can be as high as 50% in the first four months for hourly workers, and 50% in the first 18 months for senior outside hires. The cost of recruiting, hiring, and training are exceptionally high. Conservative estimates indicate that it will cost a company one-half to two times an employee’s annual salary to find and onboard a replacement. The average cost of turnover for a bedside RN is estimated at $49,500, but costs can range from $38,000 to $61,000 depending on hospital and location. And some reports estimate that replacing a physician is at least $200,000, but can reach as high as $1 million per exiting doctor (Businessdailypay.com). In a competitive talent marketplace, a broken onboarding process causes you a lot of wasted time and wasted money. It’s time to make employee onboarding a priority in your organization.
Contact us to discuss how to improve your onboarding experience. We are here to help!
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 80% of the landmass in the United States is considered rural or frontier and is home to approximately 50 million people, making up roughly 15% of the nation’s population in 2012 (World Bank). Rural residents experience a variety of disparities, including those in economic growth, income, and the poverty gap compared to urban or metropolitan communities. In addition to these disparities, healthcare providers are few and far between, leaving both patients and providers to travel long distances to get to an office, clinic, home, or a hospital. In addition to the distance barrier, many rural residents do not have access to transportation, and seeing as public transport is not common in rural regions, many simply lack the means and resources to access the healthcare they need (NIH; RHIhub).
A large contributing factor to the lack of healthcare access in rural United States is the shortage of healthcare workers in those regions. In metropolitan regions, there are 33.3 physicians for every 10,000 people. In nonmetropolitan, or rural regions, there are 12.7 physicians for every 10,000 people (RHIhub). Additionally, there are 92.4 registered nurses for every 10,000 people in metropolitan areas compared to 64 per 10,000 people in nonmetropolitan areas.
In 2015, 95.1 out of 100,000 people in nonmetropolitan areas died from cancer in New York State, compared to 71 per 100,000 people in metropolitan New York. There is also data that shows that death due to heart disease in New York State is much more prevalent in nonmetropolitan areas than in metropolitan.
According to peoplescout.com, of all the rural counties in the United States, 77% of them are suffering from a primary care physician shortage. In addition, they also share that 60% of the nursing shortage is occurring in rural regions.
There is clearly a high need for more healthcare providers in rural areas. Unfortunately, successful recruitment and retention initiatives are lacking. There are a number of reasons many healthcare providers choose not to practice in rural settings but there are just as many, if not more, misconceptions about rural work and lifestyle. It is clear that recruitment strategies need to address both the true concerns and misconceptions in order to successfully bring an adequate number of healthcare providers into rural communities. Recruitment efforts need to be multi-tiered; peoplescout.com says, “Economic, educational, professional and cultural dynamics affect the clinical talent shortages in rural areas.” All of these areas, and others not listed, also need to be addressed.
There are a number of recruitment strategies organizations implement now. Some of them include:
- Loan-repayment assistance for recent graduates
- Having rural healthcare representatives present at conferences, networking events, and trade shows
- Promoting rural communities and rural lifestyles
- Boosting benefits and incentives packages
- Promoting rural college healthcare programs (this includes bringing in students as well as staff)
This is a very small sampling of current recruitment strategies, however, there are many more out there and more are being developed and implemented today. In a survey conducted by Jackson Physician Search, “Community Culture” was the top reason physicians participating in the survey chose to work in a rural setting. “Compensation” came in as the second highest reason. It is clear that studies like this one are invaluable to actualizing recruitment strategies. Emphasizing the enhanced quality of work in rural healthcare settings due to their unique culture should not be overlooked as a useful strategy. Compensation as a player in recruitment is clearly an obvious shoo-in with great potential for success.
Loan-repayment assistance for recent graduates can be an incredibly successful recruitment strategy. Many students, particularly with medical or healthcare degrees, graduate in a lot of debt. Money can be a great incentive and the possibility of alleviating loan-repayment stress can be a deciding factor. Peoplescout.com shares three well-known loan-repayment assistance programs:
Representing rural healthcare at various events can be a great way to educate others who may not be aware of the high need for rural healthcare providers. It is entirely possible that many healthcare workers haven’t even considered employment in rural communities. More directly, rural representatives can, in person, promote their own organization and community. Building connections and expanding networks can also be beneficial in the long run for bettering rural funding, favorable policy changes, and addressing misconceptions through word-of-mouth. Representatives can also meet medical students and build a good rapport, putting rural on their radars. There are a lot of studies that support the claim that face-to-face interactions are far more successful than any other interaction (e.g. email, social media, etc.) This Washington Post article says, “Organizational behavior experts argue that face-to-face meetings are the best way to capture a person’s full attention, cutting through the multi-task tendency that focuses on too many things at once.” Having rural healthcare representatives at these networking events and conferences can be highly successful because it’s more direct and engaging, and thus, more memorable.
There are a number of ways to promote rural lifestyle. Many recruiters know that in order to successfully promote a job (in this case, rural healthcare), the community and lifestyle also need to be addressed. There are a lot of negative associations with rural America. High poverty rates, high obesity rates and other health concerns, “brain-drain” (skilled professionals moving out of rural areas and into urban centers en masse), lack of public transportation, fewer local amenities, and small-town social dynamics. While all of these elements should be seriously considered, there are so many positive characteristics of rural life. Some include having a closer relationship to nature and outdoor activities (running, swimming, hiking, camping, horseback riding, etc.), raising a family in a home with a yard, benefits of local farms (farmer’s markets, fresh food, farm-to-table restaurants, and harvest events such as pumpkin patches and apple picking), and tight-knit communities where impact is more easily seen. Some studies, like the one referenced in this article say that while high school graduates may leave their rural towns and go into cities, many return in their later years. The article says that in one Minnesota study, many “newcomers” moving into rural areas were professionals, “who were moving to smaller towns to improve their quality of life.” For those looking to live a quieter, and in some ways slower, lifestyle, rural is a good match. Promoting rural lifestyle strategies can range from boots-on-the-ground classroom visits at schools, digital and social media efforts, college programs highlighting rural opportunities, face-to-face discussions at networking events, and partnering with tourism agencies and Chambers of Commerce.
Similar to the loan-repayment assistance strategy, there are other benefits and incentives packages that could be promoted in strategic ways. This includes rural healthcare employers promoting various sign-on bonuses, relocation assistance, insurance benefits, assisting in paying for continuing education, retirement packages, sick leave, and low-interest home loans to name a few. Many rural hospitals and healthcare facilities are providing benefits and incentives like these. However, it is important to note that this strategy alone will not solve the rural healthcare shortage (medicaleconomics.com).
Promoting healthcare programs in rural colleges is another great recruitment strategy. Students who train in rural settings are more likely to stay rural. This is due to the fact that rural practices tend to differ from urban practices. Professionals who train in rural settings know what to expect and how to navigate the rural healthcare field with less of a learning curve than their urban counterparts. Similarly, healthcare professionals who grew up rurally and went to school in an urban setting are more likely to return to their hometown or another rural community (medicaleconomics.com). Another approach to increasing students in rural healthcare programs is to shift admissions focus, which tends to lean toward accepting the elite, or “best of the best” into medical programs, to accepting students with rural backgrounds and others who possess characteristics that would fit well in a rural healthcare setting (RHIhub; medicaleconomics.com). Some of these characteristics include: adaptability, resilience, reflective practice, and collaboration. With the combination of expanding who “fits” into a medical program and promoting rural programs, this will bring more rural students into these programs, which will then lead to a higher likelihood of those students returning to rural communities for work.
Rural health recruitment strategies not discussed in this article are still worth considering. Any efforts made to recruit healthcare providers into rural communities are extremely important. The need for healthcare workers in rural America is dire and only expected to get worse. A good approach for combating this shortage is to implement more than one strategy at once. Health WorkForce New York specializes in recruitment and retention initiatives. Our mission is to improve the quality of healthcare in underserved and under-represented communities. Our strategies are multi-pronged, combining boots-on-the-ground strategies with digital media, pipeline programs, regional campaigns, and rural immersion programs. If you’re interested in rural recruitment solutions and strategies, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
With the projected increases in the need for medical laboratory professionals, and the current high vacancy rates, the profession is suffering from a workforce shortage that is approaching crisis levels.
(The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science)
Workforce crises are not new to the healthcare industry. Many vital professions are suffering an employee shortage, including all levels of nursing, physicians, home health aides, and medical lab professionals. Medical laboratory professionals (henceforth MLPs) have suffered a workforce shortage for many years. With retirement rates on the rise and an increase in access to health insurance, more people are seeking healthcare services. Make no mistake, this is a good thing. Unfortunately, there are not enough workers coming into these crucial fields and filling the vacancies.
MLPs provide vital services to healthcare. MLPs include medical laboratory technicians (MLT), medical technologists (MT), medical laboratory scientists (MLS), clinical laboratory technicians (CLT), and clinical laboratory scientists (CLS). MLPs, in general, take blood and other bodily specimens and analyze them to locate the presence or absence of diseases. In addition, they analyze specimens to discern the efficacy of medication. Some MLPs are involved in the treatment process and will typically aid physicians. MLPs can work in hospitals and clinics that have laboratories and proper equipment. MLPs also help reduce diagnostic errors through more accurate test interpretations and test selections (ASCLS).
Research done by the Taskforce Chair of ASCLS, Susie Zanto, shows that by 2026, the need for MLTs in healthcare will rise by 13% (from 2016). This equates to about 43,600 additional jobs. Zanto claims that contributing factors of the shortage include: the workforce retiring, laboratory services are in higher demand, clinical laboratory science are experiencing a change in practice, high vacancy rates, and not enough graduates. To elaborate, Zanto states that retirement rates have increased as the economy has improved. The increase in demand for services can be attributed to population growth, an increase in the 65+ population, and advances in testing technology has lead to more tests. Changes in practice is a product of technological advances and automation. This means that staffing is reduced and MLTs and MLSs have more time to do other tasks. This also means that the workforce needs to know how to navigate and implement the new technology. High vacancy rates differ from place to place, however it is still a common tune everywhere. The top three contributing factors are competition offering better pay and benefits, increase competition for top-trained MLTs/MLSs, and applicants lacking the education or skills to properly do the work. Other contributing factors, according to Zanto, include the high-stress nature of the profession, little opportunity for career advancement, wages, and educational barriers.
According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), another contributing factor to the MLP workforce crisis is due to education programs declining in incoming students and program closures. AACC says, “The nation’s labs need to fill more than 7,000 jobs annually, but U.S. clinical laboratory education programs are producing only about 6,000 qualified laboratory professionals each year.” In addition, because there isn’t enough staff to train future MLPs, therefore less students are accepted into the programs.
There is a dire need for more accessible training programs that can take in more students. One possible solution is shifting some of the training courses online and streamlining training modules that effectively train a larger number of students. This will make much of the education more accessible and partially overcome the staff shortage barrier.
Unfortunately, due to the staff shortage, many employers are forced to hire applicants who don’t necessarily meet all the requirements- including certifications (ASCLS). One solution is to require that applicants have attained the necessary certifications. This can be solved through online training courses and certification programs, as mentioned above.
Another solution to the workforce shortage is educating middle school and high school students who are looking at career pathways. There are many students not pursuing a career in MLP simply due to lack of awareness. Reaching out to guidance counselors and science teachers may help recruit even one student into an MLP career and have a huge impact. Additionally, bringing clinical laboratory programs to STEM education activities can help boost awareness (ASCLS).
Promoting the profession itself can be successful as well. According to laboratorysciencecareers.com, 90% of newly certified MLPs get job placement. Using online media can greatly increase the number of people who may learn what MLP is and be directed to useful resources or career pathway tools. There are many online resources and websites, and finding a way to drive people to these sites can help boost employment rates down the line.
There are numerous other recruitment and retention strategies that are being implemented across the country; all are important in getting ahead of the workforce crisis. Health WorkForce New York is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving healthcare quality to underserved and under-represented communities. One of our initiatives includes workforce development through recruitment and retention. Contact us if you are interested in our help.
It is not uncommon for organizations to struggle with creating a strong compliance training program. All too often, compliance training is looked at like a box that needs to be checked- something that just has to be done. Not to mention, compliance training is often dreaded by employees everywhere. Do you worry your compliance training has grown mundane? Chances are, you wish you could effectively impact prevailing attitudes and behaviors, but you’re just not sure how.
Compliance training, if done correctly, creates a strategic advantage that minimizes operational and financial risk. Leaders responsible for compliance within an organization need no justification for investing in better compliance training programs (Panopto.com). Success is measured not only by things that happen, but what doesn’t happen – including fines, lawsuits, reputation damage, dangerous incidents, lost business, and more. In some cases, noncompliance with safety procedures can be the difference between life and death.
Building an effective compliance training program doesn’t have to be a difficult task. In order to achieve the main goals of reducing risk and expanding employee learning retention, you want your materials to be purposeful and impactful. Know what best practices exist and what to look for before selecting a program to use with your staff.
There are certain elements that if put in place, can help ensure a compliance training program is successful. The first one to examine is retention, which is best understood when looking at the Learning Pyramid. Studies show that varying your study methods and materials will improve retention and recall of information, and enhance the learning experience. The “learning pyramid,” developed by the National Training Laboratory, suggests that most students only remember about 10% of what they read from textbooks, but retain nearly 90% of what they learn through teaching others. The Learning Pyramid model suggests that some methods of study are more effective than others and that varying study methods will lead to deeper learning and long-term retention (educationcorner.com).
One example of an effective method of learning and study is “Practice by Doing.” This method of study encourages students to take what they learn and put it into practice, therefore promoting deeper understanding while moving information from short-term to long-term memory. Practice by doing makes material more personal, and ultimately more meaningful to students. This also leads to more in-depth understanding of material, greater retention, and better recall.
The next element to examine in creating a successful compliance training program is creativity. With each training, you want to be creative with the subject – regardless if the training is in-person or online. An example would be to include relevant case studies within the training, or regulatory actions that best suit the department or group of people you are teaching.
Using creativity helps foster interactivity. It’s imperative to engage your audience and make them feel a part of the training. Exercises that incorporate real-world examples are crucial for employees to partake in.
Another consideration in a solid training plan is to create efficiency (ethinkeducation.com). Here are a couple of things to keep in mind while making efforts efficient:
- Budget. Always ask for more funds than needed. During the year, the training plan will change, and you might be asked to add more initiatives due to regulatory changes, updated policies and procedures, new services offered, new systems, and management mandates.
- Exclusivity. Review all the training entries to determine if there are any overlap of topics between departments. It’s great to train more than one department at a time if there is a workflow that impacts multiple areas. It’s also good for the fostering of relationships between departments.
- Time-saving. The goal is also to save time since you are taking staff members away from their actual work. If you’re able to produce training that covers multiple, related topics, your audience will appreciate it.
- Avoid overtraining. Determine which topics as a percentage of the training plan are included. It’s important to check if there are any concentrations that may lead to overtraining (ethinkeducation.com).
Creating a successful compliance training program is not a difficult task, but it must be done right and with due diligence for it to be effective. When training is done correctly, fines and risks within the workplace are reduced, and employees have a chance to actually be engaged with the material rather than merely talked at. HWNY has a variety of successful online training programs to fit the needs of your organization – contact us today for more information!
ELearning has completely revolutionized the way people learn and teach. Education is no longer confined to take place within the walls of a classroom… because through eLearning, learners have the ability to access information and knowledge any place, any time. And why wouldn’t an organization want to offer eLearning courses? According to eLearning Industry, 77% of US Corporations used online learning in 2017. Not to mention, eLearning is said to increase learning retention rates by 25% to 60% (techjury.net).
But, behind every successful eLearning course is the instructional design/designer. It is the critical job of instructional designers to create content relevant enough to keep the learners engaged and motivated (designingdigitally.com). Organizations looking to incorporate eLearning courses into their training must choose credible companies with solid instructional design. HWNY offers a multitude of services aiding in workforce development, some specifically for online learning.
HWNY currently provides workforce development solutions to more than 50 organizations across New York State, consisting in part of hospitals, long-term care facilities, federally qualified health centers, hospital ambulatory care departments, and private practices. Clients also include numerous mission-aligned organizations and associations, and thirteen of the twenty-five DSRIP Performing Provider Systems (PPSs). Of note, PPS clients utilize HWNY’s solutions to deliver enhanced services to hundreds of partnering healthcare organizations.
HWNY provides a full range of integrated workforce development services, that include: 1) research and analysis of problems, trends and best-practices; 2) education and awareness of high impact topics; 3) development of technology-based workforce development tools; 4) design and implementation of outreach and engagement campaigns; 5) boots-on-the-ground programming, and; 6) community engagement and partner connections.
Example projects specific to developing content for health care providers and staff include:
1) Leadership Development Workshops – HWNY uses its expertise in research and curriculum development to consult with health care organizations. HWNY emphasizes the engagement of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and facilitation of targeted focus groups throughout the process to assess professional culture, identify specific priority areas requiring improvement and to design, develop, and deliver exciting, experiential, highly-tailored, in-person leadership trainings. Each workshop provides clients with position-specific performance evaluations and continuous, on-going support.
2) InService Solutions Compliance Training – HWNY works in partnership with Central New York AHEC (CNYAHEC) to deploy a comprehensive compliance training package that includes set-up and implementation of a Learning Management System, as well as customization of 16 mandatory compliance eLearning modules.
3) eLearning Development – Using a variety of eLearning authoring tools, HWNY provides partners and clients with the skills and expertise to: 1) convert static PowerPoints and PDFs into interactive training content; 2) record in-person trainings and convert them into webinars, and; 3) host live webinars and record them asynchronous viewing.
4) Instructional Training Guides – HWNY works with partners and clients to develop detailed documentation, instructional guides, how-to videos, job-aids, and “cheat sheets” for internal staff and end-user to learn and utilize HWNY’s technology-based solutions to its fullest potential.
5) Education and Awareness Video Production – HWNY works with partners and clients to transform comprehensive, information heavy, research-based projects into short, engaging, and informative video content for ease of distribution, increased viewing, and larger impact.
To-date, HWNY solutions have allowed partners to:
- Deliver, track, and report participant data on more than 1,200 continuing education, professional development, and compliance trainings
- Train and advance the careers of more than 160,000 health professionals
- Introduce health careers to over 60,000 students and adult career seekers Mentor, guide, and support more than 500 high-school students as they pursue a health career
- Provide more than 1,600 postsecondary students with hands-on, experiential health professional trainings
- Significantly increase membership rates, including a campaign in 2018 to increase an Association Student Membership by more than 200%
To help your team design, develop, and deliver a highly-effective virtual/online course, HWNY will work with Subject Matter Experts to: 1) design compelling learning experiences that are not only interesting, relevant, and easy to fit into the busy work life of the learner, but most importantly, lead to genuine knowledge transfer and deliver performance improvement results; 2) identify and recommend the best authoring tools for the desired learning experiences; 3) develop interactive online activities, tools, and resources that are visually world-class, provide an excellent user experience, and feel authentic to the learners, and; 4) provide expert training and guidance on instructional design principles, process, best practices, and eLearning authoring tool trainings.
To achieve all of the above, HWNY uses these must-have best practices:
Step 1: Needs Assessment Phase
HWNY will meet in-person with SMEs to conduct an initial needs assessment to identify/refine topic-specific business goals, learning actions (objectives) required to achieve the goal, and knowledge required to successfully perform the action. HWNY will also discuss the learning environment and target audiences’ capabilities.
Step 2: Research and Design Phase
Using research-driven adult learning best-practices, HWNY will identify and recommend the necessary amount and type of training to support the desired learning actions. HWNY will then design instructional activities that are most effective at teaching the desired performance outcome, such as: Scenario-based Learning, or Micro-learning activities. HWNY will then work with SMEs to create scenario scripts, stories, and storyboards.
Step 3: Development Phase
HWNY will work with your organization to discuss the most effective authoring tool(s) for creating the desired instructional activities within the selected hosting environment. HWNY will then use the selected tool(s) to develop each learning activity ensuring it immediately, fully, and favorably seizes the user’s attention. The learning activities will then be bundled into lessons/topics within a single eLearning module/course and branded to your desired look and feel.
Step 4: Pilot and Refine
HWNY will work with your team to pilot each instructional activity in their final module/course format. Advisors and/or partner health care practices will be asked to complete a specific set of pilot instructions and give feedback on their experience. For the pilot, HWNY will develop testing instructions with specific tasks, a feedback survey to collect qualitative and quantitative data, and where possible, use technology to track pass/fail of key functionality. HWNY then will analyze the data, identify necessary changes, and refine the instructional experience to address any issues identified.
Step 5: Implementation and On-going Support
HWNY will work with your team to ensure a successful launch of the online course by creating a launch plan with effective communication and outreach strategies. HWNY will then provide two in-person trainings designed to give your administrator the skills and knowledge to maintain and update the instructional activities/modules created for the specific course(s).
At HWNY, our experts use strong instructional design concepts to create customized learning content to successfully meet your training needs. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can create custom learning solutions for your company.