We are proud to offer this guest blog from our partner, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, by Stella Hatcliffe, RN, MSc, CPHQ – Director of Professional Education
As healthcare providers in senior living communities we owe it to ourselves and our residents to be engaged in our own professional development and lifelong learning so we can continue to be knowledgeable about evidence-based care and new strategies to enhance our resident’s experiences. Some of the topics we are focusing on in senior living are reducing resident falls, pressure ulcers, pain, and readmissions to a hospital setting. As care providers in senior living we need to be able to understand the complexity of caring for older adults by mastering critical thinking, promoting wellness, chronic care management, and cultural competency. Thus, our ongoing professional development is very important. Through embracing professional development we become empowered and confident as we apply our new skills to real-life scenarios and make a difference in our resident’s lives.
Challenges in promoting professional development, such as time and financial resources for training, can act as barriers to workforce development. Therefore it is important that we measure benefits and outcomes of our investment in achieving our organizations' strategic goals. Some of these goals may include:
Within the nursing field it has become common to hear about workforce hostility and the concept of “older nurses eating their young.” Organizations that embrace peer mentoring programs to enhance new employee professional development can reverse this concept. As more experienced nurses mentor new staff and help them to develop skills and confidence, they too become more satisfied and ultimately increase the person-centered service within their organization. I have also seen a positive impact of professional development sessions and learning circles which embrace different professional groups; by learning together we gain additional insights and appreciation into each other’s roles and learn to work more collaboratively. In summary, professional development opportunities reinforce the concept that leaders care about staff through investing in education to promote best practices.
About the Author
Stella Hatcliffe is responsible for professional education programs, certification programs, and educational products that create ways for older adults to Age Well, as well as for development of curriculum to support stimulating learning environments. Stella Hatcliffe is an experienced health care leader with progressive clinical and administrative experience in improving healthcare operations, quality indicators and evidence-based person centered care to residents and their families. She has extensive experience in hospitals and elder care settings in the United States and England. She has served as chief nursing officer, vice president of patient care, and clinical nurse specialist in Geriatrics. Her areas of expertise include staff development, enhancing resident experience, falls and pressure ulcer prevention, reducing hospital readmissions, and palliative and hospice care. She also collaborates with Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging researchers to support creation and evaluation of new educational programs. She is master’s-prepared in research and evaluation of health care services, and a certified professional in health care quality and nurse leadership.
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