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Pandemic Changes How Healthcare Approaches Training


Tue Apr 14 2020

Pandemic Changes How Healthcare Approaches Training

It’s Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 9:30 a.m., and COVID-19 is on the horizon. Our training director has just received an email from the chief information officer (CIO) stating, “If you haven’t already, please start thinking about virtualizing as much IT training as possible—away from classroom training. Please collaborate with leaders over new employee onboarding training to stay in lock-step with what HR is doing.”

How Do We Meet Organizational Needs During a Pandemic?

Most of us have never experienced a pandemic of any magnitude, and with the lack of information or miss-information, training at healthcare facilities has had to navigate torrential waters to meet the new expectations of their healthcare organizations.


But as many of you know, in a large organization, changes happen slowly. Typically, large changes must be reviewed by committees and other decision-makers, but with COVID-19, this all changed in an instant.

Many in the TD field are considering what they have to do now?

Fortunately, at our hospital, the training team had been revolutionizing the way we train for more than a year. We had been converting face-to-face classes to virtual instructor-led training (vILT) and recording e-learning options. At the time, our goal was to reduce the number of trainers needed to train a class, but ultimately, it meant that we’ve been able to serve more of the workforce during their time of need.

Within five hours of receiving the email from the CIO, the IT training leadership team had a plan to move all new hire training to an on-demand option that could be assigned through the existing learning management system. With new plans in place, recordings of each application began on March 12, 2020, with the credentialed trainers who were already responsible for training these classes every week.

In less than five days, more than 75 modules within 15 different applications were recorded, and new hire training ran on March 16, 2020, without any problems.


However, the leadership team knew that these deliverables were not enough, so we also developed 50-minute virtual lab sessions through an application called Bookings. This enables us to support newly hired staff with application walkthroughs, questions, and re-training if needed, and it also allows our trainers (now called coaches) to stay connected with those receiving training, the organization, and others on the training team.

The leadership team also reorganized and offered the same approach to our new onboarding clinics and hospitals, which will be joining UCHealth in the next few months. The only differences were:

  • They would complete their on-demand modules one week prior to their scheduled face-to-face training session.

  • On the day that they were pre-scheduled for their face-to-face training, they would be assigned to a virtual 2-, 4-, or 8-hour lab with a trainer or coach to complete a practicum.

We know that this is not the end of the journey but the beginning. New exercises, updated informational, and technology upgrades will continually need to be added to these modules.

Our Call to Action

During this time, the call to action for talent development professionals is to constantly seek out different modalities to offer training. Be proactive about changing the way you work and deliver talent development solutions so you can meet the short-term challenges facing our organizations as well as be prepared to take on long-term needs of the workforce.

By recognizing our value in an ever-changing world, we can improve talent development and training options not only during a pandemic but in all situations.


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