Strategic Planning for Skills Development at the Nursing Home: Strengthening Staff Skills and Qualifications

This article is written from a Swedish perspective. Hopefully, it can inspire interested parties from other countries.

Do you have a strategic competence development plan at the nursing home? Ensuring continuous competence development for the staff at the nursing home is crucial in order to provide high-quality care and services to the elderly. Through strategic planning, the nursing home can ensure that the staff has the knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of the elderly in the best possible way.

Foto: Mostphotos

Strategic Planning for Skill Development in Elderly Care: Strengthening Staff Skills and Qualifications

Reality is complex today. Many of our elderly are multi-ill with a large need for care and in need of special efforts. There must be staff with sufficient medical knowledge to ensure patient safety. In addition, time is needed for supervision and reflection on ethical issues.

Likewise, special knowledge is needed to be able to investigate incontinence problems, handle disruptive individuals, heal hard-to-heal wounds, or create a pleasant atmosphere in the unit.

Increasingly, digital aids are coming into care. Knowledge about rehabilitation of the elderly is developing. It can be difficult even for occupational therapists and physiotherapists who are supposed to be the experts to keep up with the development.

Skill development can occur in many ways. In addition to going to school, attending conferences and reading books, there is now a wide range of educational opportunities online.

The work itself involves learning and experience development. People often talk about "Single loop learning" which means correcting problems directly and "Double loop learning" which means looking for underlying causes of the error and correcting it. If skill development is to be perceived as valuable, it needs to be structured, planned and followed up in a clear way.

Ensuring continuous skill development for the staff in elderly care is crucial in order to offer high-quality care and service to the elderly. Through strategic planning for skill development, the elderly care can ensure that the staff has the knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of the elderly in the best possible way.

Steps for Strategic Planning:

Needs Assessment

Identify Skills Gap: By carefully evaluating and analyzing the needs of the elderly and the current knowledge and skills of the staff, areas that need to be prioritized for skill development can be determined.

Goal Setting

Clarity and Measurability: Set specific and measurable goals for skill development that are linked to the overall vision and objectives of the elderly care. The goals should be realistic and achievable within a reasonable timeframe.

Development Plans

Individual and Collective Measures: Create individual development plans for each employee based on their needs and goals. In addition, collective measures such as team-based training and workshops can be effective in strengthening cooperation and skills transfer.

Implementation and Follow-up

Effective Execution: Implement skill development activities according to the plan and ensure that the staff is given sufficient support and resources to carry out their development plans. Also follow up and evaluate the results regularly to ensure that the goals are achieved.

Through strategic planning for skill development, the elderly care can strengthen its staff and thereby improve the quality of care and service offered to the elderly.

Reflection questions - skill development:
Care staff:
- Do you have good conditions for skill development in the unit?
- Do you get time for training and are the trainings followed up?
- Are you involved in the planning of training?

Manager, nurse, occupational therapist and physiotherapist:
- Do the employees not get the skill development they need?
- Do you mainly work with single-loop or double-loop learning?
- Are there experienced and confident nursing assistants?
- Is there anyone in the residence with specialist competence, e.g. Silvia sister?
- How about the licensed staff, do they have long experience, further education, etc.?
- Do you have a strategic plan for skill development in the unit?
- How do you follow up the skill development given in the unit?
- Are there employees who are not offered or do not participate in any further training?

Residents and relatives:
- What training needs do you see among the staff in the unit?
- Does the operation invite you and your relatives to dialogue about the planning of further training?

Erland Olsson
Specialist Nurse
Better care every day

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