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Articles, case studies, and success stories to guide and inspire healthcare HR, Organizational Development, and Clinical professionals.


Growing Their Own at East Alabama Medical Center Catalyst Learning
Growing Their Own at East Alabama Medical Center
East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) has a longstanding tradition of growing their own to carry out the organization’s mission of “high quality, compassionate healthcare.” In fact, a V.P. started as an orderly 34 years ago, proof that senior leadership has walked the walk. While several programs were in place to retain professional positions, growth opportunities were needed for entry-level frontline employees to continue growing internal talent. 
 

“There’s a lot of competition in this region for entry-level employees, so we started to look at how to better retain talent at EAMC,” said Karen Gresham, RN, director of education services. “Our frontline employees wanted opportunities for development and promotions, and we realized we had a gap in what we offered at the entry level.”

 

In 2005, EAMC began offering Catalyst Learning’s School at Work (SAW), a career development program for entry-level healthcare associates, to frontline employees to help them advance within the organization through clinical or administrative positions. Today, more than 130 employees have graduated from the program and more than half of those employees have been promoted. Ten percent of SAW students have gone on to earn a college degree.  

 

 In the beginning, Gresham admits, some managers were hesitant to recommend employees for SAW because they didn’t want to see talented employees leave their departments. That way of thinking, however, has shifted as managers experience firsthand the positive effect SAW has on employees as they develop skills in areas like medical terminology, soft skills and math. 
 
“Employees are more confident, more engaged and they are speaking up,” said Gresham. “They are making a difference in their departments.”

 

The focus is now on EAMC’s mission for high quality, compassionate care, and the opportunity for SAW participants to grow into roles where they are providing better care for patients. Many SAW participants move into positions where they are interacting with patients and families, and they are expected to be good examples for compassionate customer service. 

 

SAW graduates also have personal development plans with clear goals for what they want to accomplish. Managers recognize SAW graduates for more than just their job title. They are career-oriented employees who have computer skills, as well as important soft skills such as the ability to handle conflict and difficult situations.

 

EAMC has taken its commitment to entry-level employees a step further with a strong focus on “what’s next?” for SAW graduates. Will the employee go to school on a scholarship or with tuition reimbursement? How will the employee grow in his or her current role? Additionally, all SAW graduates go through EAMC’s internal financial university to learn how to manage their personal finances. 


“It [SAW] has made me a risk-taker and a goalsetter,” said SAW graduate JaQuita Newsome. “I have been able to learn new ideas, make new friends, meet new people, advance my work skills and job performance, and it has made me push further towards job advancement.”

EAMC has delivered 12 SAW classes with a 90 percent completion rate. The success stories speak for themselves. A CNA in EAMC’s long-term care facility who participated in the first SAW class in 2005 is now a SAW coach working in the education services department. Another employee who started as a general cleaner is going to school on a scholarship and will become a nurse in May.

“When I talk to SAW participants, I tell them that they are in charge of their future,” said Gresham. “It’s too important for them to leave it in anyone else’s hands. We give them the tools and knowledge to succeed in what they want to do.”


Building on their success, leadership development programs expand to frontline nurses   


EAMC started as a small, 81-bed hospital. After an acquisition in 2014, the hospital has grown to two main facilities, 340 beds, and many off-site services. EAMC also added a cancer center and is the only hospital in Alabama with a Silver Beacon Award in ICU. The award recognizes caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Units that achieve this three-year designation meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

 

These high standards are the result of carrying out EAMC’s mission to deliver the best possible care, but much like EAMC’s experience with entry-level employees, the organization’s robust leadership development program wasn’t reaching frontline nurses or addressing the development needs of nurse managers and charge nurses. 

Given their success with SAW, EAMC again turned to Catalyst Learning for a solution. Catalyst had recently launched NCharge, an evidence-based curriculum that gives first level supervisory nurses the skills they need to more effectively lead. The program was in line with EAMC’s leadership development and succession planning goals. NCharge is now a part of EAMC’s official succession plan.

 

“I just loved the program [NCharge] right away. It spoke to me as a nurse,” said Rosemary Cummings, director of medical surgical services. “When I started as a labor and delivery nurse, I was put in charge after being on the floor for three months or so. If I’d had some of this info, I could have done more with that position. So, I understood what we were lacking, not having anything for those supervisors.”

 

Recognizing the importance of having experience in a nurse leadership role, EAMC decided to have nurse managers like Cummings deliver the NCharge content. Each nurse manager is paired with an educator who can help deliver the curriculum. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. 

 

As with SAW, the success of NCharge is dependent on buy-in from managers and their willingness to allow frontline staff time away from their regular duties to complete the program. Once managers learned the objectives and how a leadership program developed specifically for nurses could make a difference, they were on board. This year, EAMC will also offer NCharge to managers to give them a firsthand understanding of what NCharge participants are learning.

 

EAMC is focused on results and a return on their investment. Two groups of 20 nurses have gone through the program and checkpoints are now in place to see if the nurses are using the skills they are learning. 

 

Managers are seeing improved engagement and confidence among nurses and a positive change in communication with physicians and other employees. One participant shared with Cummings that she uses different parts of NCharge every day, for example finance and value-based purchasing skills that are typically learned on the job. Two nurses who have completed the program have been promoted to managers. 

 

EAMC’s long-term goal for its nurse leadership development program is sustainability. Cummings and other instructors are planning lunch-and-learns with the two groups who have gone through NCharge to discuss how they are leveraging their new skills and which tools are most effective. The lunches will also be an opportunity for participants who formed a bond completing the program together to reconnect. 

 

“We are not part of a big organization, but we offer quality healthcare here. We take a lot of pride in how we do things from a quality and cost perspective,” said Cummings. “It helps our frontline supervisors to see we’re investing in them. Development at this organization is an important piece of who we are. I think that’s why people stay.”


 


 

 




Main Line Health Improves Diversity among Leadership Team Starting with Frontline Employees Catalyst Learning


Main Line
 Health in metro Philadelphia has been recognized by the ANCC and U.S. News & World Report as one of the top health care systems in the country. The organization aims to provide the highest quality and most compassionate healthcare possible to patients and their families. To accomplish this, Main Line Health has included strategies for advancing a group that touches patients frequently, but is often overlooked - frontline workers.   

 

 

Frontline employees are the largest group at Main Line Health and are an incredibly diverse population. Main Line Health CEO Jack Lynch has been outspoken and intentional about achieving more diversity at the leadership apex of the health system. According to Lynch, the workforce has been diverse overall, but not in terms of job categories and pay.

 

“There’s a problem in healthcare with the approach we’ve taken in the past to have diverse leadership teams with everyone competing for a small pool of external candidates,” Lynch said. “If we're going to develop more diverse team leaders, we have to grow our own. Top to bottom, employees must see opportunity. We want all employees to know Main Line Health is interested in their growth.”

 

Lynch believes in investing in programs that promote diversity, foster collaboration, participation and respect in the organization, while reducing turnover costs. Under his direction, Main Line Health’s Human Resources and Diversity, Respect & Inclusion Strategy teams took a deliberate step in 2013 to develop leaders within the organization who mirror its patient population, as well as the demographics of Philadelphia. With many Baby Boomers retiring soon, leadership development was also crucial to building a base of engaged workers for the future.  

 

Main Line Health partnered with Catalyst Learning to implement “School At Work” (SAW) and “Expanding Your Career and Healthcare Opportunities (ECHO)”, programs that aid in the career development goals of entry and mid-level healthcare employees. Main Line Health’s goal is to begin building a pipeline for a more inclusive leadership team. 

 

Both SAW and ECHO sharpen key behavioral skills to optimize employee performance and put them on a path for career advancement in healthcare. Modules such as “Principles of Patient Satisfaction and Safety” help employees understand their link to and accountability for the success of the health care system.  

 

Along with SAW and ECHO, Main Line Health instituted a Career Advisor program, giving frontline associates access to an advisor who assists them in pursuing new roles and exploring opportunities for up to one year. Main Line Health’s HR team has found this added layer of support helps employees overcome obstacles they may face when applying for other positions. Career Advisors, for example, help SAW and ECHO participants navigate internal HR systems and bring greater awareness to employee benefits such as tuition reimbursement. 

 

Employee Advancement Programs have Positive Impact

 

Main Line Health’s Talent Management Team tracks employment patterns and measures the impact of employee advancement strategies like SAW, ECHO and Career Advisor. Associate Administrator Jameyshia Franklin says her goal for leadership training programs is for frontline employees to have better visibility of opportunities available in the health care system. She also values seeing employees gain confidence as they develop a better understanding of their strengths. With more self-assurance, Franklin says, employees are more willing to speak up about ways to improve processes and be part of solutions that benefit Main Line Health patients.  

 

“These programs encourage participants to discover new interests, pursue growth and development opportunities, and be more open to new things,” said Franklin.

 

Employee satisfaction has also improved among SAW and ECHO participants. Chris Robinson, a recent SAW graduate who reports to Franklin, worked in Environmental Services but had a goal to move up within Main Line Health. Robinson wanted to be more involved with patients and their families. Robinson’s initiative led him into a position at the reception desk, where positive interactions with patients and families are vital. Robertson credits SAW for giving him confidence in a new role.

 

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. It was a struggle, but it was worth it. SAW helped me think about what I really wanted to do,” said Robinson.

 

Robinson’s success was acknowledged with the Genuine Excellence Moment (GEM) award, which recognizes employees who exhibit the excellence, innovation, integrity and communication values of the organization. 

 

Dominic Kayatta, Manager of Education and Development, has also seen the benefits of Main Line Health’s career development efforts for frontline workers. More employees, for example, are interviewing for jobs, job shadowing and making time for informational interviews. Frontline employees are being recognized more for going above and beyond with patients as well as their co-workers, and hospital volunteers are noticing a difference in morale and customer service.

 

“These programs keep participants from feeling stuck in one role,” said Kayatta. “I’m seeing engagement at a different level, and people have renewed hope in their careers—both in their present jobs and as they think about the future.”




Eight Catalyst Learning customers nationally recognized for investments in frontline healthcare employees. Catalyst Learning
Do you wonder what the best healthcare companies do to invest in the skills and career development of their frontline workers?

 

If so, CareerSTAT is where you should inquire. CareerSTAT is a network of almost 200 healthcare and workforce leaders. CareerSTAT promotes investment in the skills and careers of frontline healthcare workers by supporting organizations with workforce development programs. CareerSTAT’s goal is to increase business impact, improve health outcomes, and support good jobs in America’s health companies.

 

Catalyst Learning is honored to announce four of our customers which received 2017 CareerSTAT Frontline Health Care Worker Champions or Emerging Champions recognition in 2017. Catalyst Learning also wants to showcase our four customer winners from 2015. See how these best practice healthcare organizations used School at Work (SAW) and other Catalyst Learning products as an integral component of their workforce development strategy.

 

 

2017 Frontline Healthcare Worker Champions and Emerging Champions

 

Mercy Health (Missouri) - Frontline employee development and improving compensation of employees is at the core of Mercy's business strategy. Mercy uses its Lowest Paid Worker Committee and senior leader involvement to develop strategies that improve wages and career opportunity. Mercy uses School at Work® (SAW) to give frontline workers the opportunity to brush up on basic skills and more advanced healthcare knowledge, with intent to move its lowest paid workers into more advanced clinical and support roles. Mercy offers tuition advancement programs, affordable transportation, medical premium assistance, affordable child care, on-site clinic, and other financial incentives.

 

University Health System (Texas) - Celebrating 100 years of service to the community in 2017, University Health System has been regularly named best hospital in the San Antonio region and the sixth best in Texas by U.S. News & World Report. It believes in growing its own employees and preparing them for larger roles. University Health System implements an inclusive hiring policy and is committed to equitable talent development. It offers trainings to its frontline staff, including ECHO (Expanding your Career and Health Opportunity) and SAW by Catalyst Learning. At University Health System, the CEO even hosts a party celebrating the graduates of SAW and posts success stories on the intranet and in the company
newsletter.

 

Yale New Haven Hospital (Connecticut) - Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) offers a wide range of career development services to its frontline workers. Some of these services include one-on-one career counseling, resume assistance, a direct tuition payment program (known as the Tuition Loan Forgiveness program), college fairs and access to internet based online, career-development tools. YNHH offers SAW, which gives frontline workers the chance to learn, or relearn, a variety of skills that prepare them for new roles. The majority of SAW graduates at YNHH have continued their education to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree. The business impact to YNHH’s efforts is shown in improved patient experience and achieving quality and safety goals.

 

U.C. Davis Health (California) - UC Davis Health is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best hospitals, chosen for Consumer Choice Awards, and is a top community employer. UC Davis Health is proud of its sustained investment in its frontline workers, and was the first SAW customer on the West Coast! In addition to its nine SAW cohorts, UC-Davis Health has implemented CAPS (Accelerated Performance Series) for its Administrative Assistants Academy since 2014.

 

2015 Frontline Healthcare Worker Champions and Emerging Champions

 

TriHealth (Ohio) - TriHealth partners with the Health Careers Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati (HCC) to provide greater access to learning and foster advancement for entry-level employees. HCC is a partnership of local healthcare employers, community-based organizations, and educators. HCC programs include School at Work, CareerCare, and tuition cost for Patient Care Assistant Training. TriHealth did a large ROI study which showed how retention costs and job satisfaction were greatly improved by SAW and by being an HCC cohort participant.

 

Norton Healthcare (Kentucky) - Norton has built a culture of continual, lifelong learning. Norton Healthcare’s Office of Workforce Development serves as the primary career and financial support mechanism for frontline employees. In 2013, the office supported 550 frontline employees working toward degrees and certifications in health-related fields. SAW is one of the many programs Norton uses to advance frontline employees. Norton boasts high marks in ROI for frontline employees who earn higher certificates, diplomas, or degrees.

 

LifeBridge Health (Maryland) - LifeBridge Health has won acclaim as a Baltimore Regional Employer for its Workforce Development program. Its Workforce Development program was also a factor in winning the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Baltimore Best Place to Work Awards and making Fortune’s 100 “Best Companies to Work For” list in 2010. SAW is a part of LifeBridge Health’s workforce development program.

 

UnityPoint Health (Iowa) - UnityPoint Health has created a culture of advancement and development while providing quality care to their patients for more than 100 years. It has on-site and employee-centered training, such as SAW. UnityPoint Health has mentoring, diverse training programs, and success in growing their workforce’s wages. Working with the National Fund collaborative, Central Iowa Works, UnityPoint provides training for key industry certificates through its Workforce Training Academy, managerial development through its Breakthrough to Leadership program, and career coaching through its in-house Retention Specialist.

 

 

 




Mercy Health Youngstown - Helps Employees See Their Value and Achieve Their Potential Catalyst Learning

 

 

 

With inpatient, outpatient, home health and palliative care services, Mercy Health Youngstown is the largest employer in the Mahoning Valley region of Ohio.  Investments in employee development, therefore, have a positive impact on both the health system and on the community at large, making this a top priority for senior leadership. 

Mercy Health Youngstown has expanded access to skills and leadership training for entry-level workers with education programs, college tuition reimbursement and opportunities for career advancement. Entry-level employees with leadership potential, for example, are encouraged to enroll in School At Work (SAW), a training and career development program created by Catalyst Learning Company.

SAW participants complete a series of modules led by a Learning Coach in the Culture and Learning Department at Mercy Health Youngstown. The Principles of Patient Satisfaction and Safety module has proved to be especially valuable.

“We found the Patient Satisfaction course very useful because entry-level employees didn’t realize how the little things they do affect patients and patient satisfaction. Sometimes patients arrive at the hospital frustrated and hard to please, so this particular course made a big difference,” said Learning Coach Georgette Peters. “This course also showed entry-level employees the importance of their work and its impact on HCAHPS reimbursements.”

To demonstrate program value and return on investment, Mercy Health measures impact and tracks aggregate success among SAW participants. Of the 35 students who graduated from SAW last year (20 from Mercy Health Youngstown and 15 from Mercy Health Cincinnati), nine are now enrolled in higher education and pursuing further training to move up within the organization.  

SAW graduate Janet Johnson found similar success. She started in an entry-level position at a Mercy affiliate hospital in 2009. With a grant from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, she trained to be an entry-level healthcare associate. This resulted in a promotion to Environmental Services, where managers recognized her leadership potential and recommended Janet for SAW. She completed SAW and is now enrolled at Penn State, pursuing a career as an occupational medicine assistant at Mercy Health Youngstown.

Mercy Health is proud to see employees like Janet advance.

“When speaking with our employees who complete the SAW program, I always thank them for bringing me along on their journey. I hope to assist in lighting the flame, and I hope the students keep it burning,” said Peters.

Mercy Health Youngstown plans to continue offering SAW courses and hopes to expand the curriculum to smaller regional partner facilities. Additionally, senior leaders hope that by offering upfront college tuition reimbursement, they can help employees overcome barriers to advancing their education, particularly those who earn the lowest wages.

The health system aims to enroll up to 45 percent of their employees in skills training programs and help more employees pursue advanced educational opportunities. As employees succeed and move up within the organization, senior leaders are seeing morale and retention rates improve, resulting in better patient care. Mercy Health Youngstown believes that employees are their most valuable resource, and by investing in them they hope to make lives better and the community stronger.




'Talent Garden' at University Health System of San Antonio chardyadmin

University Health System’s (UHS) focus on its front line employees is delivering outstanding outcomes that it’s Talent Development strategy has been designed to deliver.  With an 81% student/employee job advancement rate for a group of its frontline employees, UHS has created an environment that is supportive of employee growth and organizational success.   Appropriately termed their “Talent Garden”, UHS has created an environment where everyone can thrive.

 

The Talent Garden’s recently graduated its first ECHO skill development cohort for mid-level associates who are now well on their way to achieving big career dreams and goals.  And, while turnover costs make retention an obvious organizational priority, UHS’ efforts are still at the cutting edge of frontline engagement trends.

 

Studies show that highly engaged employees report that they experience ALL of these and more:

·         an opportunity to learn and grow,

·         are encouraged to seek development,

·         have a manager that cares about them

·         they view their job as important

·         and someone talks about their progress

 

The Executive Director of the Center for Learning Excellence, Jacque Burandt, provided all of these when she chose to offer the ECHO program. “We have lots of programs, not just for directors and managers, but also for the front line,” says Jacque. “We are always working on two paths, better skill development in whatever your job is, then secondly, where do you want to go in the big vision of the health system.”

 

According to Jacque Burandt, Executive Director of UHS’s Center for Learning Excellence, “the ECHO program supports their philosophy of promoting from within.  ECHO offers a unique opportunity for the organization to fill a gap that often prevents non clinical employees from having the tools and educational foundation necessary to successfully transition to more advanced roles within the system, should they so choose.”  ECHO’s delivery format is designed for the adult learner, incorporating multiple learning modalities while at the same time providing a foundation for increased confidence, academic discipline, and formal career planning.

 

The quotes below show some of the successes thus far and just how well participants used and appreciated the opportunity:

 

"I hope that UHS can continue with programs like this one, to show their employees this company cares about continuing education." - Irma Beltran, ECHO graduate.

 

"I currently work in the Patient Business Services Department. The ECHO program has inspired me to go back to school.  I plan to go to St. Phillips for nursing. I appreciate all you do for us."

 

"The ECHO Program...was an opportunity I could not pass up.  It has helped me in getting motivated to go back to school.  I am enrolled with Concordia University and pursuing my Bachelors in Healthcare Administration."

 

"I am attending Southern Careers Institute and am working towards receiving my Medical Coding Certification.  The ECHO program gave me the opportunity to see that I am not too old to go back to school and pursue my dreams."



Looks like UHS certainly has some future leaders on their hands!  Fifteen total employees were chosen to participate in ECHO, 12 of those completed the program - an 80% completion rate.  ECHO was facilitated by a former School at Work program graduate, Laura Hernandez.  She found her passion for helping others through that experience and has since earned a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration which she puts to good use at UHS.

 

Certainly outcomes are very important and the Talent Garden continues to track them for this first class.  Be on the lookout for the continuation of this story as results come in!

 

 




School at Work Packs RoI Punch Catalyst Learning

TriHealth is a long-time customer and a top integrated health system in Cincinnati boasting over 10,000 employees.  We'd like to share with our readers the most extensive Return on Investment study of School at Work that we've seen in our 11 years of focus on healthcare workforce development! 

 

Three programs were evaluated by TriHealth:  Patient Care Assistants; School at Work (SAW) participants; and Health Career Cohorts participants.  If you're looking for outcomes, look no further.

 

The study begins by stating its purpose: "The goals of TriHealth's Health Careers Collaborative (HCC) programs are to increase access to healthcare careers by underutilized labor pools, alleviate regional workforce shortages, and increase the diversity of health care workforces in Greater Cincinnati."

 

The SAW evaluation consisted of 3 classes held from 2009-2012.  Employees were divided into two groups:  36 employees enrolled in SAW ("Treatment group) and 930 employees in similar job codes who did not participate ("Control" group). 

 

SAW Conclusions and Outcomes 

  • Turnover Rate - 16.67%.  That's 40% lower
  • Employee Satisfaction  -  higher participation and 78.9% positive survey results
  • Diversity  - higher in Asian, Black/African American and Hispanic populations. 
  • Employee Performance Scores - participants showed a lower presence of performance counseling
  • Change in Pay Rate - the number of employees receiving an increase was 6% higher among SAW graduates.

 

Impressive numbers, if you ask us; and if you ask TriHealth, too.  From the data above, it sure looks like School at Work helped them to achieve their goals!  

 

"With such positive results, we can further encourage organizations and employees to take part in such programs. These programs will assist employees in furthering their work potential and knowledge and decrease costs associated with turnovers and new hires.

- TriHealth Study

 

Here are some dollars and cents to back up this claim; how does saving $45,000 per year on turnover sound?  Three years going, that's a total of $135,000 the organization saved itself - and that's just the SAW grads!

 

With RoI data like this, entry level employee development no longer sounds like just a nice thing to do - it sounds like a smart business plan.

Click here to download the full study