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Urgent Healthcare Staffing Needs of the COVID-19 Pandemic Led to Changed and Expanded Roles

This blog bost is the second in a series excerpting our article, “Pandemic Crisis Reveals Need for ‘New Normal’ When It Comes to Cross-Training: An Interview with Trisha Coady, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Clinical Solutions, HealthStream.”

“When elective surgeries stopped, people who were furloughed at ambulatory surgery centers for example were brought into hospitals,” she says. “These were people that may have never worked in a medical-surgical or critical care unit. At the same time, we also heard that unit secretaries and nursing students were being trained to provide basic care coordination, similar to unlicensed personnel. In essence, we had to think about how we could cross-train or upskill healthcare workers to effectively care for patients at a higher level of acuity than what they were accustomed to.”

The curricula HealthStream quickly curated were therefore bundled to address the cascading needs of healthcare organizations across many settings:

  • COVID-Related: All employees that needed a refresher on hand hygiene, PPE, and transmission precautions, as well as evolving information about COVID-19.
  • Unlicensed: Employees who normally play a supportive role in patient or resident care needed additional training in areas such as vital signs and specimen collection.
  • Basic Licensed: Employees who normally provide basic patient care, such as LPNs, or RNs not as familiar with a hospital sub-acute setting needed additional training in areas such as respiratory emergencies and more advanced assessment.
  • Advanced Licensed: Current medical-surgical or sub-acute clinical staff who could most quickly transition to critical care units and needed additional training on ventilators and ARDS.
  • Self-Care: All employees to help mitigate burnout and as a reminder of the importance of self-care—diet, rest, quiet time.

“All of this had to be done within days to weeks,” Coady recalls. “Leaders had to quickly assess who had the necessary competencies to move from sub-acute to critical care, and determine how to backfill their sub-acute departments, as well as how to staff testing sites. The effort was monumental.”

“The team at HealthStream, along with a number of generous, thought-leading firms, showed such a tremendous commitment to getting these 170+ free resources quickly launched across the country. EBSCO Health, nThrive, American Academy of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), Sigma, echelon, and Skillsoft all provided their time and expertise to our community of healthcare organizations.”

The uptake was widespread. In just over a month, HealthStream recorded over 1,500,000 enrollments of its cross-training bundles and COVID-specific, customer-authored courses across more than 4,000 facilities.

The article also includes:

  • Helping to prepare healthcare organizations for pandemic-related urgencies
  • Cross-training, individualized coursework likely the ‘new normal’
  • Shifting employee development in healthcare
  • Resuscitation training as an ideal candidate for the COVID-19 aware environment
  • Proven benefits of learning and professional development should spur continued engagement
  • Diversified learning strategies to support healthcare readiness
  • The Effect of COVID-19 on the Opioid Crisis

Download the full article, “Pandemic Crisis Reveals Need for ‘New Normal’ When It Comes to Cross-Training: An Interview with Trisha Coady, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Clinical Solutions, HealthStream.”

As our flagship nursing workforce development solution, HealthStream’s jane™ is The World’s First Digital Mentor for Nurses. JaneTM harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create a system that personalizes competency development at scale, quickly identifies risk and opportunity, and improves quality outcomes by focusing on critical thinking. Leveraging decades of research and with over 4 million assessments completed, JaneTM was designed to power lifelong, professional growth of clinical professionals. JaneTM is an important component of HealthStream’s suite of clinical development solutions.


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