TECHNOLOGY IN CARE The Plus Points Pamela Bruce, Managing Director of health and nursing care agency Nurse Plus,

discusses the new e-learning system, aimed at improving staff development and retention, which they are trialling throughout their business.

The advancement of technology has transformed the world we live and work in. Keeping up with the speed of these advancements can be challenging, but the benefits they are able to bring to the health and social care sector should not be ignored.

Technology has provided many solutions and it has allowed us to become more efficient and streamlined, whilst also improving the quality of service we provide. From the way we handle administration tasks, client enquiries, recruitment, and even personalised care plans, technology has meant that we can access information faster, more accurately and, most importantly, securely.

Our latest trial of technology, provided by Careshield, will enable us to improve internal training and development, benefiting the whole of our workforce. The Nurseplus training programme is designed to be interactive and encourage good learning. Its use is to not replace the practical training we already provide, but to enhance and complement.

We expect our care workers to refresh their training annually to ensure skills are kept up to date. This programme will allow individuals to access an online training booking system, view mandatory and optional courses, access appraisals and receive notifications updates, all at times that suit them.

It is fully functional on all platforms so will improve access to training for those that like to browse on a smartphone or tablet. For those that don’t have access to a mobile device, or would prefer not to, we have set up a learning hub at their local branch office.

The programme will enable tailored training to be developed quickly, with specific areas of learning covered. This will be extremely useful if a client has certain care support needs, providing reassurance to both the client and care worker that the quality of care will be delivered.

Registered Nurses will also be able to use this tool for revalidation, storing their evidence, keeping track of progress and planning for their revalidation date. At a time when nurses are in such demand, it will provide us with a valuable overview of how many nurses are registered, where they are in the revalidation cycle and if they are on track, all in one simple view.

The e-learning tool, currently in a three-month trial period, will be rolled out nationally this year. As with anything new, e-learning will be a culture shiſt for many, and although feedback has been positive, we will need to ensure all of our workforce understand and make use of the benefits of this technology.

Our business case for implementing this tool has clear and tangible benefits, and with any piece of technology that is developed, this must always be the case. It has to be functional and advantageous for its key users.

We also recognise that it cannot replace other methods of learning. Practical, hands-on sessions and shadowing allows carers to gain more experience, develop best practice, and gain increased confidence in real scenarios. This is something that technology currently cannot provide. With the advancements in virtual reality though, who knows, I may well be taking these words back in a few years time!

Our business direction is important for the future, and we place a high emphasis on the recruitment and retention of our staff. We will continue to evolve as our business grows and the industry around us changes, and we will continue to meet the developmental needs of our workforce, whether that is through new technology, or by maintaining our traditional face-to-face values. - 24 -

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