Few industries face as rigidly regulated standards and as high stakes as healthcare. Of course, regulations are necessary for patient safety. Intense regulation, however, brings the challenge of compliance. To complicate matters, the industry’s regulations overlap with its most important resource —its people. 

As part of regulatory compliance, healthcare leaders need to continuously demonstrate that both new hires and long-time nursing staff possess up-to-date clinical skills. In the past, learning and certification were self-reported or manually reported by supervisors. Learning materials were located across several locations. Without a centralized system, it was easy for nurses and nursing managers to overlook deadlines. This resulted in non-compliance. 

This is where a learning management system (LMS) comes in. An LMS system ensures that clinical skills are met by new hires and long-timers alike. It centralizes learning materials. It tracks progress and nudges nursing staff and managers to meet certification deadlines. An LMS for healthcare centralizes compliance management into one single interface, offering streamlined tools and trackable methods to deliver mandatory learning.

 

Using Observation Checklists

Observational testing and assessment are mandatory for certain positions and certifications. It’s imperative that nursing staff apply clinical skills training. This can include things like applying and disposing of PPE properly, following transfusion protocols precisely, and dispensing medication safely. These things, as well as tasks such as hand-washing, scanning patients’ bar code bracelets, or performing sponge counts correctly, can be observed and managed using an observation checklist. 

Observation checklists are key to capturing and evaluating clinical skills in action. They can confirm task completion, provide feedback, and assess competency levels. Using customized observation checklist allows management to note whether nursing staff are putting theoretical knowledge into practice — and it provides evidence of such for future audits! Clinical skills assessments are key to regulatory compliance. 


Identifying Skill Gaps

When observation skills checklists are used as part of an overall LMS, management is better able to identify employees who need help in specific areas. This allows for very specific intervention to be given to employees who need extra training or additional hands-on learning. Rather than sending out memos or constant how-to reminders, management can focus training resources where they will make the most difference.

If done properly, observation checklists allow for comparison of training with performance and answer questions such as:

  • Which individuals need more training?
  • What areas do they need training in?
  • Which training is not working?
  • Are some trainers more effective than others?

Staying Compliant

It’s not enough for nursing staff to have the right skills to meet compliance. Those skills need to be documented! An organization could have the most qualified nurses, but without evidence, it is meaningless from a regulatory standpoint.

Fortunately, leadership can rely on their LMS to assess employee performance and compliance in real-time. An LMS gathers, manages, and analyzes data on every angle of healthcare compliance. At any moment, they can check in on individual, group or company compliance statuses. Healthcare leadership can rest a little easier, knowing that using their LMS – and it’s observation checklists – means that they are audit-ready at any time.

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