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How one manager makes mandatory staff training fun

Staff need not respond with groans when you say the word “training,” even if that training is complicated.

Leigh Payne, RN, manager of Good Shepherd Medical Group Pediatrics in Hermiston, OR, has found a way to actually get staff enthusiastic about mandatory training.

Good Shepherd Medical Group operates a family practice and specialties clinic in a growing rural town in northeastern Oregon. Its Rural Health section includes family practice and pediatrics.

“Because we participate with the Oregon Immunization Program VFC (vaccines for children) one requirement is regular or annual staff education regarding immunization practices,” Payne says.

She tells Medical Office Manager that because the vaccine world is ever-changing and can be complicated, keeping up can make staff “groan and moan to try and keep abreast.”

So, during the annual update/refresher a few months ago, Payne decided to make the nurse meeting fun and challenging.

“Staff members were informed there would be a fun quiz at the end of the program with two prizes (notepad/pen sets – nice ones) to the winners,” she says.

Recognizing that staff members could say some clinical staff might have an advantage over others who did not administer vaccines as often (such as the pediatric CMAs and nurses), Payne encouraged everyone to listen carefully and assured staff the quiz would be fair.

After completing the quiz, the correct answers were reviewed and staff were asked to write their names on the quiz and pass them in. But, instead of being graded to find the two highest scores, the quizzes were placed in a large paper sack, mixed up well, and randomly drawn by two different staff members to discover the winners. It was an unexpected way to make it fun and rewarding, and no one had an advantage over another as originally thought, Payne explains.

The quiz made the training session more enjoyable, and the unexpected turn of events should have a future benefit as well. “Next time, I expect staff to look forward to their immunizations update/refresher,” Payne says.

And she also enjoyed it. “I love to inspire staff to learn and become confident with their knowledge and skills,” Payne tells Medical Office Manager. “Learning can be fun!”

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