• Article
  • November 22, 2019

Spread the Word: Achieving High Utilization of PLS Courses

Hospital raises awareness of available learning resources with a multi-faceted awareness campaign

By Kaitie Marolf

Helping staff get the most out of the Pediatric Learning Solutions (PLS) libraries their organization purchases begins with raising awareness. In a recent webinar, Michelle Weber, MPH, MSN, RN-BC, CPN, Deployment Leader in Organizational Effectiveness and Transformation, at Akron Children's Hospital, shared strategies for making connections across a diverse staff audience to inform learners of the relevant courses and materials available to them. 

Weber has an advantage that staff at many hospitals may not. She has experience and connections in both the clinical and HR areas of her hospital.  
“I’m able to jump between the worlds,” she said. 

Leverage Shared Governance 

Akron operates under a shared governance structure, with councils for a wide range of staff to connect across the organization. These councils include Advanced Practice Providers, Integrated Inter-Disciplinary Informatics, and many for front line staff such as Clinical Practice, Quality Research, Clinical Resource Management, and Professional Development.

“Those of you on the nursing side, I would encourage you that if you have a shared governance structure available to you, this is a great avenue that I have found to get the word out,” Weber said. “If you are on the organizational development side, being able to phone a friend in nursing to be able to connect those dots is helpful.”

Weber attended various council meetings to talk about the hospitals Learning Management System (LMS) and opportunities available with the PLS courses. Staff who were unaware of the topics, available continuing education (CE) credits, and certification preparation opportunities, are then able to report back to their unit councils about the resources, which allows the word to spread through the organization in an efficient and organic way. 

Talk to Staff

Weber recommends unit rounding to start individual conversations with staff. 

“I’m more focused on talking to them about our LMS, but one of the most frequent comments I get is that they wish their education had continuing education attached to it. At that time, I can say, “well, as a matter of fact, we have over 200 courses that have continuing education attached to them. They are free for you to use, and there are many different topics.”

Staff will also approach Weber with a request for a new “home-grown course,” which would use hospital staff, time, and resources to create.

“I can’t tell you how many times I have someone come to me and say, ‘I really think that it would be great if we develop a course on sickle cell and have our nurses on our hematology/oncology unit complete it,’” Weber said. “I will say, ‘Well, did you know that we have this course already available from Pediatric Learning Solutions?’ Typically they say, ‘no.’ And I’m like ‘Alright, well here’s a direct link to the course. It’s in our learning management system. Why don’t you take it and then let me know if you think this will meet your needs?’ Very frequently, the answer is ‘yes’ and then we are able to deploy that course to the audience that they wanted to reach.”

Utilize Sharable Resources

The ability to share customized materials showing content relevant to them has helped Weber raise staff awareness. She utilizes a report that is generated after downloading PLS courses to create customized lists for courses applicable to smaller audiences such as respiratory therapy (RT) and Child Life. 

In addition to these specialized lists, Weber recommended staff take advantage of the PLS Exam Prep resources and the PLS Marketing Kit (login required). The kit contains email, PowerPoint, and Word templates for marketing each PLS product, with customizable sections for LMS and organization-specific information.

“I’ll modify them based on the audience I’m going to speak to,” Weber said. “When I went to our Child Life Specialists, I made sure that I pulled the Mental Health Library Flyer and I put in courses that I thought they would have a particular interest in. I also modified the bottom to focus on the PDU units and put a picture of that in. It was very much tailored to that audience.”

Connect the Efforts

When staff express interest in courses during in-person discussions, Weber typically forwards them these resources.

Weber tells them “‘These are the courses that you have available to you. Please share, please make sure that your fellow nurses on the units are also aware. Speaking to staff members and making sure that they know about these resources is key.”

Look Forward

Akron planned to release updates to their LMS following the webinar. Included in this was the capability to add icons next to courses and to build “catalogs” by topic. Weber planned to use one icon to designate all PLS courses to create a visual connection for learners. The catalogs allowed her to designate related courses to populate on the side of a page. 

“If they think ‘I really liked that Age-Specific Care for Preschoolers course,’ on the side they’ll see toddlers, infants, school age, adolescents, that way it gives them prompts for other courses that they’re interested in,” Weber said. “I’m excited for that feature to see if that also helps when you have staff that prefer to just go ‘oh that class looks interesting.’ And then to see additional courses or perhaps those courses are part of a curriculum.”

Since Weber began her multi-faceted awareness campaign, Akron has seen an increase in usage of PLS courses. Her ability to bounce between the HR, Organization Development, and clinical viewpoints, as well as using multiple methods, key features, and messaging tactics to reach staff, made this possible.