The lifelong learning movement in healthcare provides great benefits. Because people who work in healthcare are focused on caring for people, the changes that they make and the attitudes that they have around lifelong learning can really impact society in general.
A recent HealthStream webinar, “Lifelong Learning: The Gift that keeps on Giving,“ was led by Diane Hansen, Chief Nursing Officer at our partner EBSCO Health and Editor-in-Chief of Dynamic Health. During her presentation, she focused extensively on why lifelong learning is necessary for a clinical environment and suggested ways to promote lifelong learning within an organization.
Why Lifelong Learning is Necessary in Healthcare
Healthcare is an industry and environment that is constantly changing—advances are continuous, constantly altering what is viewed as standard practice. Hansen reminded us that “on the editorial side of evidence-based practice, there’s an enormous amount of research article volume that turns over on a continuous basis.” Ultimately, the industry is working to decrease the gap in the number of years that takes to get that evidence incorporated into the point of care.
New treatment options regularly become available, which means clinicians are dealing with new technology, as well as changing government regulations and the shift to value-based care; everyone in healthcare slowly has been experiencing that transformation. There is a really a focus across treatment models on how we’re delivering care, how we’re measuring outcomes, and how we’re getting reimbursed. There’s much new material on which healthcare professionals have to stay updated as our healthcare system consolidates and changes consistently. Here are some ways Hansen suggests leaders can promote the value of lifelong learning within an organization.
Actions to Take to Promote Lifelong Learning within Your Organization
Start locally by developing a lifelong learning plan for your particular unit or area of work. A worthwhile plan should have specific learning objectives and associated initiatives that can be implemented.
Create awareness of the value of lifelong learning globally. Using your internal communication channels, you can share stories with other organizational leaders about successes that you’re having with lifelong learning concepts and begin building a kind of global awareness of what you’re doing, whether with your team, your unit, or yourself.
Build a case for change. Often, the best change comes when you can build a strong case and demonstrate that there’s a significant, measurable return on investment. Using results data in highlighting your team’s accomplishment and value to the organization, you can build that compelling case for an organizational-wide lifelong learning approach. Then, work towards getting it supported more broadly in your organization with some financial support.
Act by being an advocate. Take on the cause and become an active supporter of lifelong learning within your organization. You can evaluate current state and network with other healthcare professionals nationally and expand awareness of your best practices. You can start a committee and partner with other healthcare leaders and professional development colleagues within your organization.
What’s important here is that as you become an advocate, you can create that global awareness and build the case for a change. Begin by bringing others into an advocate role with you so that you can act collectively. This is where you can get some of your better momentum in healthcare organization to really support and promote lifelong learning.
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