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PT and the City

Training and Development

Published August 30, 2012 2:03 PM by Lisa Mueller

Over the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to become more involved with our training program for new staff within the rehab department. I was put to the test last week when I trained two new staff in the same week.

I wrote a blog last year about the research supporting the 2:1 student-to-instructor model of clinical teaching, and agreed with the model whole heartedly. Using the same principles, I could reason that training two new rehab members would also be a beneficial setup. Since I have to teach them the same things, why not teach them at the same time? Well, it was a little bit harder in practice than I anticipated. While juggling my schedule with patients, the training checklist and finding the opportunity for both employees to have hands-on practice, I felt like the process could have been a little smoother than it was.

A few questions came up that I didn't know how to answer. And there were a few times when we had too much time and could have benefited from a few more patients on the schedule to practice the things I was teaching. But that's probably to be expected. There are going to be glitches along the way, especially in a setting where change is the only constant.

A coworker and I created a list of things to include in the training orientation and prioritized each item into a timeline, with the most critical pieces in week one, the hands-on application in week two, and less-important or common pieces to be instructed in weeks three and four. While this looked perfect on paper, my first chance at using the training schedule proved that some things needed to be rearranged, and there were a handful of things we had completely forgotten. Luckily, both the new employees were extremely patient with the process and offered some beneficial feedback at the end of the week.

Training the new employees was a good experience for me. I learned a lot about myself and how I need to adapt to ensure our new staff have a good first impression of our company and leave the training time feeling confident they are able to work independently, while also having the support they need to do so. I learned how important it is to recognize the individual's learning style -- probably more so than with students, as students are usually conditioned to be malleable to multiple teaching methods. I learned how important it is to stay focused on the topic at hand. It's easy to become tangential when working with a group of other therapists.

What about you? Have you been involved with training new staff? What was your experience like? How is training new staff different from being a clinical instructor for students?

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