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How to use multimedia to provide mandatory training

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The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust worked with production company Mezzo to create the TrainingPOD, a novel way of providing mandatory training, writes Helen Green, hospital matron at Pinderfields

At The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust we have over 6,500 members of staff spread over four sites, who collectively require 30,000 mandatory training interventions each year.

It is vital that our staff are trained in a range of topics to ensure the safety of patients and staff and to accomplish this, every single member of staff at the trust has to complete regular training in essential topics. Considering our staff’s varied working shift patterns, we had a huge logistical problem ensuring staff received training material, attended sessions and our training targets were achieved. We needed a flexible and accountable solution which would leave us in no doubt that our staff receive the essential training they need.

To find the solution we worked with Mezzo to develop the TrainingPOD which provides a new and innovative way to access training that doesn’t require having to attend a taught session.

The TrainingPOD offers an alternative, flexible way of accessing the following mandatory training topics: Fire safety; blood transfusion safety; infection control; moving and handling; medicines management and information governance.

Listening to training through headphones

Looking similar to iPods, Mezzo’s TrainingPODS enable our staff to listen to training modules through headphones or hook up to a computer and watch a series of training films at a time and place which suits them. The films feature trust colleagues and appear as mini-documentaries, many of which were filmed onsite, that back up the listening material. The TrainingPOD is something that demands full commitment from staff, but at a time and place to suit them. The system makes our training accessible to staff who find it very difficult to attend traditional workshop style sessions, for example those who work nights and different shifts.

The TrainingPOD enables staff to securely log on to a central database anytime and update their individual learning. The database recognises each staff member and, more importantly, remembers at what stage in the training they are. In addition, by seeing the status of each staff member’s performance, the trust can also track the amount of training undertaken.

I’m a matron at Pontefract, and while working with Mezzo I found myself working outside my normal role in healthcare: I helped to facilitate the filming onsite, including timing and restricting access to areas of the hospital and took care of patient confidentiality. We used actors for the main parts, but patients were still on the wards, therefore their confidentiality had to be strictly respected.

Budding actors and actresses in the NHS

The filming took about 3 days and I loved working with Mezzo and the film crew. I also helped to facilitate the filming outside the hospital, including going to a local beautician for complementary therapy and working with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service. All the staff were so interested in what we were doing and were all so accommodating. Most staff started off shy and weren’t initially keen to appear on camera, but the minute the camera started rolling they found their acting skills and overcame their shyness. It appears that we have some budding actors and actresses here in the NHS!

Filming for the TrainingPOD was great. I played three roles: nurse going to a patient’s home, matron looking at rotas and a nurse on the ward for infection control and “sharp safety” (needle hygiene safety).

I’ve used the TrainingPOD to keep my training up to date. Initially I was apprehensive as, at the end of the day, it is a very modern gadget. However, it is so easy to use that actually none of the staff are worried about using it at all. Using the TrainingPOD is a definite welcome addition to the range of training methods we had before.

Dramatic increase for training figures

Staff are finding it easier to complete their mandatory training and our training figures have increased dramatically. Using a multi-media approach is obviously very different to using written media, it helps to make the training more attractive to staff and helps to keep interest levels up. The TrainingPOD also helps the team to make sure that we stay on top of our mandatory training requirements. The system logs the training undertaken by staff and allows us to track that everyone in our team has undertaken the training that they need to do.

When other companies and trusts are looking at their training, I would definitely recommend using the TrainingPOD approach. I’d say go for it – your staff can get so involved and really feel like they own the project, making it fun to use as well as being user-friendly and totally accountable.

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