Candler Hospital’s Training Program on Communication

A Skills Analysis

In order to provide safe, quality, and efficient patient care, healthcare organizations should continuously engage in human resource development. Investing in HR training and development is especially important nowadays as the healthcare environment is constantly changing, and various organizations have to achieve a competitive advantage to operate successfully (Willie, 2019). However, staff training should be based on the training needs existing in a particular organization, and the educational program should be designed according to the organizational needs and objectives. This paper aims to suggest a training program for Candler Hospital in Savannah, GA, directed toward improving provider-patient communication. The analysis will address the training need, the factors influencing the program design and delivery, the evaluation, and the objectives and key messages of the program.

A Common Training Need and the Method of Its Identification

Healthcare organizations may have various training needs that have to be addressed by training programs. These needs may be related to supply chain management, products offered, patient-centeredness and customer care, financial management, and others (Willie, 2019). In Candler Hospital, patient-centered care appears to be an issue, particularly its aspects such as responsiveness, courtesy, and communication (Willie, 2019). The method of identification of the training need is the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) score. The HCAHPS survey is conducted nationwide and is considered a reliable measure of patients’ experience of the provided healthcare (Davis, 2019). As per the Leapfrog Group’s (2021) assessment, which measures patient safety in healthcare organizations and relies on the results of the HCAHPS survey, among others, Candler Hospital was assigned grade D in terms of patient safety. The hospital performs worse than average with regard to communication with doctors and nurses and the responsiveness of the healthcare staff (The Leapfrog Group, 2021). Effective provider-patient communication is essential for improving patient outcomes since it contributes to patients’ acknowledgment of health problems, understanding of treatment options, and adherence to medications (Joseph et al., 2018).

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A Program That Could Meet the Training Need

Based on the identified issue in Candler Hospital, the proposed training program aims to address the training need for effective communication between the members of the healthcare team and patients. The training program focuses on improving the healthcare staff’s communication skills and is based both on research evidence proving the importance of effective communication for improving patient outcomes and Candler Hospital’s poor outcomes in this area. This section will outline the factors considered for program design and delivery, evaluation of its outcomes, and its key aims and messages.

Learning Styles and Considered Factors

When designing a training program, various factors should be considered, including the recipients’ learning styles. Learning styles can be distinguished depending on the perceptual modality and information processing (Joseph, 2019). In terms of perception, three learning styles exist: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (Joseph, 2019). Although learners use all three modalities, one of them is usually dominant and determines their learning style. Regarding information processing, four styles are distinguished: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation (Joseph, 2019). These styles are based on whether an individual prefers to grasp experiences through doing or watching and whether he or she prefers to transfer experiences through thinking or feeling (Joseph, 2019). In order to ensure that every staff member benefits from the training program, it should be delivered in a way that meets all learning preferences.

Apart from learning styles, there are other factors to be considered when designing and delivering a training program. The first factor is the employees’ attitudes toward training, which can either facilitate or hinder learning and the application of new knowledge in practice (Ma et al., 2018). Sometimes, workers perceive training as a mere break from work and, thus, do not digest the information (Ma et al., 2018). Another factor is the training content, which should fit into the work environment and reflect employees’ training needs (Ma et al., 2018). Finally, the workplace environment is an important factor to consider when designing a training program. Organizational culture supporting change and supervisor support in terms of motivation and the provision of learning opportunities is important for training effectiveness (Ma et al., 2018). Therefore, a training program for Candler Hospital aims to include materials suitable for all learning styles and relevant to employees’ working environment. In addition, its purpose is to explain the importance of effective communication to boost the learners’ motivation to gain new knowledge and implement it in practice.

Delivering the Training

The training program includes three content sections delivered in a sequence: the first section explains the importance of provider-patient communication for improving patient outcomes. The second section covers the topic of responsiveness as measured by the HCAHPS survey. The third section includes content on communication about medicines and care transition. The timing of the program is four weeks, with each section being allocated one week. In order to decrease the cost of the training program, the content is delivered during the daily huddle time. For the program to be fit for all learning styles, the content includes visual aids, such as PowerPoint presentations, and audiovisual aids, such as videos with proper and improper provider-patient communication. After the three weeks of theoretical education, there is a week of practical implementation of the new knowledge. It serves to consolidate learning and meet the needs of kinesthetic learners. In addition, once a week, presentations are sent to employees in the hospital’s newsletters to ensure that everyone receives the training.

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Training Evaluation

A training program requires a continuous assessment to identify learners’ grasp of new knowledge and the program’s effectiveness. Assessment is defined as a measurement of learners’ knowledge, understanding, and actions related to the topic of the program, which result from their learning experiences (Trepanier, 2017). The first step of the assessment of the training program for Candler Hospital is a pre-training evaluation. It consists of a self-assessment questionnaire in which healthcare staff members are asked to evaluate their verbal and non-verbal communication skills. During the program, a formative assessment in the form of a simulation of provider-patient communication is performed. Formative assessment allows learners to receive immediate feedback, and a simulation fosters active learning and a better understanding of the instructional material (Trepanier, 2017). At the end of the program, a summative assessment is conducted to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program.

Objectives and Key Messages

The training program has several objectives and key messages conveyed to the healthcare staff. The first objective is to improve the healthcare personnel’s responsiveness and communication with patients, thus increasing Candler Hospital’s HCAHPS score. The second objective is to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction with the provided care. Research shows that open and effective communication with patients leads to better medication adherence, improved in-hospital care, earlier identification of post-discharge complications, and decreased malpractice claims (Joseph et al., 2018). The key message conveyed by the program is that it is the best practice for the healthcare staff to devote time to communicating with patients. Effective communication is performed by responding to patients’ questions, listening actively, treating them with respect and courtesy, and explaining diagnoses and treatments (The Leapfrog Group, 2021). Thus, the training program for Candler Hospital aims to enhance provider-patient communication and, consequently, improve patient outcomes. It considers different learning styles and the hospital’s training needs, as well as provides tools for evaluating the program’s effectiveness.

References

Davis, B. (2019). A formal HCAHPS teaching program targeting communication improves HCAHPS scores (Publication No. 925) [Master’s thesis, University of San Francisco]. Master’s Projects and Capstones.

Joseph, J., Sicoutris, C., & Raper, S. E. (2018). Communication skills training for surgical inpatient advanced practice providers in an academic healthcare system. Journal of Patient Experience, 7(1), 42-48. Web.

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Joseph, R. (2019). Learning styles of learners and their importance in instruction. Journal of Applied Science and Research, 7(1), 67-76.

The Leapfrog Group. (2021). Candler Hospital. Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. Web.

Ma, F., Bai, Y., Bai, Y., Ma, W., Yang, X., & Li, J. (2018). Factors influencing training transfer in the nursing profession: A qualitative study. BMC Medical Education, 18(44), 1-9. Web.

Trepanier, E. (2017). Impact of communication training on nurses’ verbal and nonverbal skills and patient satisfaction (Publication No. 10606592) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Phoenix]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

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Willie, M. M. (2019). Identifying training needs for healthcare organizations. World Medical Journal, 65(2), 24-28.

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