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Healthcare professionals know that patient care always comes first and that providing a superior level of care requires top training in the latest techniques and technology. Local hospital systems here in metro Atlanta take the goal of meeting high standards seriously and respond to the challenge by offering education and training programs designed specifically to help their staffers maintain excellence across various departments.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
For Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), Amanda Remillard, Director of Clinical Learning, and Denise Sobieski, Senior Director of Learning, agree that education comes from many places within the organization—from the overall learning strategy to educators embedded in the units and hospitals and in the leadership. The commitment to system-wide continuing education nurtures their entire team as they grow and develop. CHOA offers learning opportunities for all clinical and non-clinical staff through a variety of formats ranging from technical training and leadership development to focused courses fulfilling professional continuing education credits. The methodology within those formats include didactic presentations, conferences and symposia, interactive discussions, case scenarios, computer-based training, cohort learning programs, hands-on activities and simulation labs.
As part of annual strategic planning, CHOA evaluates the educational initiatives needed for staff and then refocus programming to facilitate achievement. From a clinical perspective, they continue to grow clinical offerings by expanding Nurse Residency programs and Advanced Practice Provider residency programs, as well as by increasing nursing certifications. These efforts have garnered accolades on several fronts, including 14 consecutive years on the Fortune list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” and recent Magnet® recognition for both Egleston and Scottish Rite.
The Continuing Medical Education (CME) program at Piedmont Healthcare provides education that focuses on improving patient care and has recently been awarded a six-year accreditation with commendation from the Medical Association of Georgia. Through live events, online courses and materials and other learning opportunities, the Piedmont CME presents quality educational resources to physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers located in the region. “This accreditation designation shows that Piedmont has implemented best practices in education, engagement, evaluation and change management and that our program focuses on generating meaningful outcomes,” confirms Dr. Charles Brown, CEO of Piedmont Physician Enterprise.
Last year alone, Piedmont offered more than 1,100 hours of education with more than 17,000 staff educational encounters throughout the Piedmont system. “Our activities are open to any member of the healthcare team and foster collaboration among the different professions. Our goal is to make our activities inter-professional, meaning these providers are on teams and learn with and from one another,” explains Linda Groarke, CME program administrator. “This collaboration between professions and groups enhances the learning for all members of the healthcare team. Within the next three years, we anticipate expanding our ability to certify our educational activities for other members of the healthcare team.”
At Northside Hospital, staff may choose from an array of learning opportunities, conferences and webinars, as well as access to certifications for professional enhancement and career development. Northside Hospital offers a Leadership Academy, Frontline Supervisor Academy and Nurse Manager Institute, in addition to various clinical internships and clinical residencies. “There is a spirit of camaraderie amongst the participants,” relays Gwen McPherson, Manager of Learning and Organizational Development. “From an employee engagement and satisfaction perspective, these learning opportunities have created a synergetic learning culture that encourages a great place to learn and work. We anticipate expanding our emerging leader initiatives and clinical programs.”
Many program participants also collaborate and serve on various interdisciplinary committees from across the organization. These programs allow career development and growth, therefore creating additional avenues for engagement and professional advancement.
WellStar Health System
WellStar Health System recognizes the link between strong healthcare leadership and quality care and strives to reinforce that link by investing in leadership development programs such as the WellStar Leadership Academy, Physician Leadership Academy and Nurse Leader Mentoring. Through a partnership with Kennesaw State University, these academies provide rigorous curriculum and academic career-enhancement opportunities for participating administrators and clinicians who have been selected for their growth potential. For nurses, WellStar honors them as the heart of healthcare, prioritizing their advanced clinical training, specialty training, certifications, fellowships and conversion from RN to BSN.
WellStar believes that professional development triggers an exponential impact; an investment in one employee ultimately invests in an entire team. As team members collaborate, the shared knowledge becomes a catalyst for further discovery. “We encourage all team members to achieve at the highest levels in work and in life,” says Laura Dannels, Vice President and Chief Learning Officer for WellStar Health System. “Our leadership efforts focus on developing leadership skills through experience, exposure and education. We offer instructor-led courses, job rotations, one-on-one coaching and more.” In addition to on-the-job training, the WellStar Development Center, which is a designated learning center, supports education and training efforts. WellStar also offers tuition reimbursement to full-time and part-time employees who wish to further their education and is currently developing additional career counseling resources for employees.