Care Home Staff Development

Following my last blog on the difference between training, learning and competence I thought I would write about staff development.

As a manager, I would want all of my staff to know as much or more than I do.

Why wouldn’t you want all of your staff to be able to perform to a higher level. It builds confidence and increases the quality of any service. It increases feelings of value and therefore retention. Imagine if all your staff could answer correctly and confidently any question posed at a CQC inspection!

I recognise that some staff can be resistant and even not interested in moving beyond their level. That’s OK we all need staff who are experts at their level and do not wish to progress but there is no reason/excuse for them to resist training. Training is mandatory and if resistance continues that is a support then disciplinary matter.

Ask at interview about a candidate’s previous experiences of and interest in training. Make it clear and part of the contract that you are a learning organisation. That sets the expectation from the start. 

Start with the basic essential training including the care certificate and safety training such a moving and handling, but then look at specific training including in the health conditions people live with at your service. Make advanced dementia training an essential course. 

Get staff at all levels familiar with being asked questions about their training/learning, encourage them to ask each other questions. Look for a variety of courses to suit different learning styles. On Line, face to face, peer support and case studies. Look for courses from different providers both paid for a free. Ask specialists such as hospice staff or district nurses what they could offer. 

Set time aside for training both formal and informal. If you can get all staff involved in the whole service, your action or improvement plan and the standards and regulation than they will develop a deeper understanding and want to know more. Invite staff to management meetings one at a time (The word will spread!), to heads of department meetings or safeguarding meetings at the local authority.

Ask your staff for their views about the challenges the service faces and what they see as the solutions. 

If all that is in place you should have some kind of pathway or framework where they can keep/record a log of all of their development steps, what they have learnt and what they want next. Think about breaking down all areas in your service into themes or learning points and work through that. The aim would be to have staff who are constantly curious. Also that staff would be almost ready to step up to the next stage, even if that means they move to another service, if you don’t have promotion opportunities, you have achieved your goal of developing your staff. There is pride in that!