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Training And Development: A Choice Or A Necessity?

Dr Bidhan Das

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Delivering consistent and quality healthcare services are ways to ensure customer satisfaction in the fast-expanding and highly-competitive healthcare industry. Factors like recruitment, retention, training and development of the workforce are gaining more significance as the need for quality and accreditation is being recognised. This is true, irrespective of the fact whether the worker is permanent, contractual or outsourced. While information technology, new diagnostic tools and intervention techniques have made things simpler, the need to appoint specialised manpower and train and update the existing staff at various levels of patient care have grown manifold. Hence, arises the need for a skilled and trained workforce in this human-intensive sector.

Good human resource management is a pre-requisite not just to select right people, but also to maintain subsequent high levels of performance. This is certainly not easy considering the fact that hospital workforce is a mix of people ranging from the highly-technical and specialised surgeons to the ground-level workers such as the housekeeping staff, F&B staff etc. Training is no longer an option that one can take or leave because within the changing world of healthcare learning is an absolute necessity for everyone! The meeting of learning needs is a joint responsibility of the individual, the manager and the organisation. It promotes not just attitude change, capacity and perspective building but also develops organisational competence. The process involves keeping abreast of current affairs; developing ones’ ability to communicate and relate to others; monitoring and learning new/improved methods in the fields of expertise; keeping the professional qualifications current and up-to-date; and adapting to and adopting new organisational and business approach.

About Training

Training helps people do something they cannot do now but need to do. It is a systematic and structured process that needs strategic appreciation to accelerate learning and development. Effective training must be based on:

  1. Clear description of performance problem.
  2. Knowledge as well as practical exposure to allow mastery of skills/practice.
  3. Guidance, facilitation to ensure the usage of correct practices/skills learned.
  4. Frequent feedback to measure the progress of learners/participants.
  5. Testing and evaluating the training and demonstrating improvement in organisational functioning.
  6. Retraining if required. Training and development have to be a qualitative and quantitative activity, especially for those who are employed as junior doctors; nurses; technicians; front office, ward and F&B staff; housekeeping/ward attendants etc.

Since these are the people who come in contact with the patient or his attendant first. Similarly, nurses are the frontiers in a hospital, who need continuous upgradation. They have to be constantly reminded of bedside manners. The working knowledge of computers is a pre-requisite that all nurses need to have in order to make online entries at all levels and departments in the modern HIS software. On the other hand, the middle-level managers need to be exposed to training programmes on themes like leadership skills, managerial skills, effective communication, body language, team building, motivation etc.

Although, it is imperative for everyone to accept the concept of personal development as part of his or her career and life approach, hospitals need to be committed to creating an environment where the staff is informed, valued and involved. Employee development should aim to provide a range of opportunities for horizontal as well as vertical growth of human capital. These interventions may include work-based learning, coaching, mentoring, personal development courses, open learning, comprehensive induction programme, BCC, NVQs, shadowing, job-swap, secondments, sabbaticals, career structures etc. However, not all development needs can be met in this way and where this is the case, needs may be met through the provision of internal and external courses, conferences and longer courses of study including e-learning and distance learning, leading to a qualification.

Hospital Administrator based in New Delhi

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