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In my organization, I make sure that our educators understand that their focus is to ensure the success of the organization, rather than trying to meet the individual contributors/employees. The education budget needs to be absolutely cemented to organizational goals & objectives... this can prevent periodic educational budget-slashing and resource chopping that traditionally characterizes education services in healthcare. Instead, we have adopted a strategic, business-oriented approach.
I have advised our educators to abandon the traditional "wish list" approach to a needs assessment. Instead, they are asked to aggregate and analyze data from organizational sources to develop a strategic plan each year. Sources of information are: Compliance, Safety, HR, Quality & Performance Improvement, Risk Management, Department Directors, Information Systems & the 'strategic planning' folks. They are asked to:
1. review the existing list & validate the need to continue those items for the coming year
2. identify any new concerns/issues that have emerged over the last year
3. identify any projected needs - to support organizational initiatives
Then, we sort everything out into 'needs' categories: 1. Defined 2. Demonstrated (perforance gaps) 3. Projected & 4 Desired. Categories 1 & 2 are absolute must-dos, #3 is negotiable - funding should be incorporated into project budgets... #4 is extra, do if time & resources are available. Managers usually do some sort of mini-assessment to get info for their contribution to category 4.
It works for us. Managers & supervisors are responsible for meeting the developmental needs of their employes.. this frequently involves education also. For instance, if the ICU managers tell us that they are planning to hire 30 new grads, we will work with them to develop mechanisms to meet the needs of this group. If the admitting department is planning to implement a new career ladder, we can consult with them to ensure it is done appropriately. We have a seat at the table for new IT projects - to ensure that employee training is included in the project funding.
On the flip side, we have to produce 'business quality' reports that measure our success, including appropriate metrics that support continued funding. We track & measure everything, including educator productivity. I want to make sure that everyone in the "C-suite" has a very clear idea of what educators are doing, and the value that they add to the organization.