eLearning: Cost effective training for geographically diverse staff

Training thousands of health professionals across a diverse geography like Newfoundland and Labrador is no small challenge. Health care providers such as nursing and allied health staff, and personal care attendants require ongoing education and training to ensure they are providing care based on the latest best practices. The complexities of providing affordable and accessible education and training are increased as health care providers work in many different environments, including hospitals, long term care, and home and community settings. Eastern Health, the largest integrated health authority in the province, has had to address these issues on a regular basis.

Saint Elizabeth and Eastern Health partnered to assess the value of eLearning to support the education and training needs of the Eastern Health staff.  Founded in 1908, Saint Elizabeth is a leader in responding to client, family and system needs. As an award-winning not-for-profit and charitable organization, Saint Elizabeth is known for its track record of social innovation, applied research and breakthrough clinical practices in home and community care. With a team of 7,000 nurses, rehab therapists and personal support workers, Saint Elizabeth delivers more than six million health care visits annually across Canada.

Since 1999, Saint Elizabeth has adopted eLearning as a primary method to educate and motivate staff and health care providers across the country. Saint Elizabeth’s web-based eLearning solution, @YourSide Colleague©, includes competency-based programs and courses to support ongoing professional development, all of which can be completed at the learner’s own pace and convenience. “Fifteen years ago, we needed a flexible, virtual learning strategy to reach our staff in the far corners of Ontario”, says Nancy Lefebre, Senior Vice President, Knowledge and Practice at Saint Elizabeth.  “We were the first home care provider in Canada to develop our own eLearning products and have since perfected our delivery process,” she adds.

Katherine Chubbs, VP and Chief Nursing Office at Eastern Health felt confident that Saint Elizabeth had the right combination of health care delivery and eLearning experience, content and expertise. According to Katherine, “Working with Saint Elizabeth on this project is allowing us to evaluate if e- learning is a viable method of service delivery for clinical staff in a variety of service areas. We anticipate working with a health care delivery company that also has an eLearning team will be effective for us to achieve our learning goals.”

Eastern Health selected diabetes for its chronic disease management focus, as Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest prevalence of diabetes in Canada and future projections for the province are concerning. Michael Cloutier, President and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association, says “By 2020, 32 per cent of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will be living either with diabetes or pre-diabetes.”  Eastern Health is demonstrating proactive leadership by taking action now to provide staff with a resource that can assist them in the care and support they provide to clients and families who are living with diabetes.

The Saint Elizabeth web-based diabetes education program provides interactive learning about pathophysiology, prevention, nutrition, exercise, medication management, monitoring and long term complications. All content is based on current Clinical Practice Guidelines from the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The education is designed to increase knowledge, skill and confidence for the provision of holistic, evidence-informed and quality care. The virtual delivery method provides an enhanced interactive learning experience while also reducing costs to the health care system by cutting down on travel and in-class time.

Saint Elizabeth has been providing education and training to their own staff and to thousands of others including health care professionals in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities, correctional facilities, long term care homes, hospitals and other health care institutions – always with a dedication to increase the quality of care provided to the client. For more information about education and training solutions, please contact Kim Miller at Saint Elizabeth Education Services at educationservices@saintelizabeth.com or by calling 1-855-400-7337.