Spread the Word: Achieving High Utilization of PLS Courses
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, M.P.H., M.S.N., 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 frontline staff such as Clinical Practice, Quality Research, Clinical Resource Management, and Professional Development.
“I encourage those on the nursing side to leverage a shared governance structure if its 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 connect those dots is helpful.”
Weber attended various council meetings to talk about the hospital’s 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, report to their unit councils about the resources. This allows the information 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 tell them we have over 200 courses that have continuing education attached to them. They are free 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. In many of these cases, a PLS course is available to meet the need and Weber can save hospital time and resources that otherwise would’ve been spent creating new content.
Utilize sharable resources
The ability to share customized materials showing content relevant to them has helped Weber raise staff awareness. She uses 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 ). 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.”
When staff express interest in courses during in-person discussions, Weber typically forwards them these resources and encourages staff to share them with colleagues.
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 liked the Age-Specific Care for Preschoolers course, on the side they’ll see toddlers, infants, school age, adolescents—it gives them prompts for other courses they’re interested in,” Weber said. “I’m excited to see if that helps staff who like to browse.
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.