By Elizabeth George

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to overlook the training required when purchasing a new system.

The costs of neglecting training can be high: an investment that fails to achieve the organization’s business goals, efficiency and productivity gains that never materialize, and employee frustrations in having to operate a new system they don’t buy into and don’t know how to use.

In other words, a wasted investment.

RCare, a global provider of wireless nurse call systems and personal emergency response systems and a Senior Living Foresight partner, understands these risks well and considers training on their nurse call systems to be a vital part of the customer experience.

Says Nick Garofoli, RCare’s Director of Operations and Technology, “Our commitment to the customer only grows after the sale. We take great care to help them maximize the value of the investment they’ve made right after purchase.”

RCare has been offering training for its customers for several years. For nurse call systems, it’s not just a matter of realizing efficiencies, it’s about ensuring resident safety.

“Resident safety and self-advocacy are the main benefits of our nurse call systems,” says RCare’s trainer, Daphne Karpan, RN. “When staff know how to use the system thoroughly, they are able to reduce their response times to resident calls and utilize the system’s reporting capabilities to deliver care proactively, even adjusting levels of care before a problem arises.”

Having refined their training experience over the years, RCare has insights into what works. They suggest the following tips to help communities get the most out of their staff training when implementing a new system:

1. Explain the “Why” to Staff.

When introducing and training staff on a new system, it’s important to share the benefits the new system will bring. “Learning new skills and changing routines can be hard for anyone. Part of facilitating a change mindset comes from helping people understand and embrace a future work scenario in which doing their jobs is made easier. While learning and operating a new system can be bumpy at first, painting that positive picture can help staff get through the early stages of implementation with greater engagement.”

2. Make Sure Your Trainer Knows the System and Your Community’s Particular Needs.

You’ve invested in a new system to improve your operations and resident experience, not just to have the latest technology. Training your staff on how to use your new system in the context of your care standards is essential to optimizing it. “We customize our training to a community’s specific goals and processes and understand operating details like escalation trees and desired response times,” says Karpan. “The system serves care operations rather than the other way around.”

Another important factor in success? A qualified trainer. RCare’s lead trainer is a registered nurse with a background in senior care. “She’s qualified to teach staff on all aspects of our nurse call systems and understands the needs of the people who will be working directly with them,” says Garofoli.

3. Offer Training in Multiple Flexible Formats

Training has certainly evolved over the years and even more recently with COVID-19, which has accelerated a shift to more online training. Working with a provider who can offer quality training in a variety of formats and on-demand is essential in today’s times.

“We’ve created multiple training experiences that meet the different needs of our customers” says Garofoli. “That includes onsite training that’s customized for each community and every user group, a full suite of e-learning modules, and live, monthly, virtual training sessions that give participants a deep dive into specific topics, such as best practices and getting the most out of reporting.”

For those needing assistance outside of scheduled training events, there’s another option. “Embedded in our nurse call systems are “How To” videos that explain every aspect of the system and can be accessed at any moment.”

4. Create “Superusers” Who Can Make Training Sustainable as New Staff Join the Team.

One challenge in ensuring a fully trained team is employee turnover. As staff move in and out of organizations, a community needs a sustainable training model, so new team members can hit the ground running.

RCare provides all necessary training materials to be leveraged by the communities it serves as a resource for experienced staff to coach incoming co-workers. “Designating engaged team members as superusers or system ambassadors can be an effective way to recognize performance, expand a team member’s skill set, and provide a way for new staff to get the skills they need from a co-worker who knows the ropes.”

Bottom line: an investment in training is the smartest way to get the most out of your investment in technology.

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