How the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability is using L&D to upskill hospital staff and support vulnerable patients through the pandemic
We recently spoke with Jemella Hanson, Learning Development Manager at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) to understand how they are using Go1 to upskill hospital staff and support vulnerable patients through the pandemic.
After working her way up in various jobs and apprenticeships, Jemella says she was proud to be given the position of Learning Development Manager at the RHN four and a half years ago. Since then, her number one mission has been to help her team, patients, and the wider organisation grow and develop.
“The hospital's mission is about supporting people with complex neuro-disabilities and I feel that I can support in developing the staff and making sure that they have the best knowledge and the best resources and the best education to enable them to provide the care that we need to to our patients and residents,” Jemella said.
“Ultimately, we want to help people. Since working with Go1, I wanted to develop people. How can I help people's performance and growth?”
Since coming on board, Jemella says her team has undergone a lot of change. Most notably, she faced the challenge of bridging the gap between L&D and the wider organisation.
“If I think about the team of 5 that I joined at the time, they had been through a bit of a restructure, so, as you would expect, the team was quite unsettled,” Jemella said.
“It was important to establish myself and that team, but also establish my vision for the team at that time.”
Unfortunately, this was easier said than done. Jemella’s team was in a position where they had been overlooked by the rest of the business. They didn't have a seat at the table, meaning learning, education, and training took place without their knowledge.
“We had the expertise and the knowledge to support learners as the subject matter experts. Taking whatever skills they needed to enhance and deliver learning in a nice, neat learning package. So there was a very big disconnect between L&D and the wider organisation,” Jemella said.
“The first thing that I felt needed to happen was bridging that gap and making sure people knew very clearly who we as the L&D Department were. It was important they knew the skills we had to offer as individuals and as an L&D team.”
After partnering with Go1, Jemella says she has seen a stark difference in the RHN’s L&D output, ranging from the breadth of their involvement to more clearly defined roles.
“Now, we're very much more involved in supporting learners from the CEO and the executive teams, down to healthcare assistants, nurses, doctors, and everything in between. We are very clearly defined in what we offer and how we can support and enhance the development of staff within RHN,” she said.
Because the RHN is a charity hospital and not part of the NHS, and are also small in comparison to other trusts and hospitals (500 staff), Jemella says their patients can be unique in the sense that they have either required or sustained neuro-disabilities.
Given this, the organisation requires a very niche mix of skills among staff, presenting several challenges from an L&D perspective.
“We specialise in things like neuro and the rehab that goes along with that, as well as ventilation service. So we have some patients that have not just one or two needs, but multiple needs that all have a massive impact on everything else as well,” Jemella explained.
“We need specialist learning content, but also depth within the specialism.
“We need to support experts in their field and we work with external healthcare support too, so we need them to understand our patients so that there is more support out in the community for them as well.
“Having content that is responsive to their changing needs, especially in the middle of a pandemic, is vital. Having content that has been put together that talks about the coronavirus and infection control and additional information that needs to be relayed.
“Yes, we could put it together ourselves, but it's all hands on deck at the moment to make sure that we're keeping our patients and residents safe. So, knowing that we've got a content provider that we can pull that information from really quickly is key to be able to ensure that the knowledge that our staff have remains relevant and up-to-date and is really quick and easy to access. It's completely invaluable. We're very privileged to work with Go1.”
As a result, Jemella says her team can be far more responsive when training requests arise.
“The focus of our content so far is mandatory training. We have about 12 mandatory training modules that have to be done either for regulation or legislation and making sure that those are in there and everybody has access to them is vital. As simple as that sounds, having the breadth of content that Go1 offers has been fantastic because every subject matter has a different delivery style or they have slightly different information they want to convey,” she explains.
“And we've been able to go through 100 modules on health and safety, for example, have a look through, see which ones our learners like, see where you want to pick and choose different bite-sized bits.
“I suppose down to that alone, it’s made us more responsive. The subject matter experts in the hospital love it. They love the system. They're able to have a lot more independent learning with the library rather than sitting with us specifically to go through things.
“So, we've almost been able to provide subject matter experts with a lot more autonomy to be able to pick and choose what they want. We’re upskilling ourselves even more on the library because we can very easily show them different resources that will support different learning styles and what’s more worthy for them.”
Autonomous learning is just the tip of the iceberg, with Jemella also excited to start looking at content about how the RHN can develop leaders and managers within the hospital as well as collating all of the different modules that they can use to target different training opportunities.
Thanks to Go1, Jemella says the RHN now find themselves in an exciting position that they’ve never been in before — being able to support everyone’s learning needs, no matter how niche.
“We can support everybody within the organisation which is a position we've never really been in before because everything has been either mandatory or very niche, looking specifically at clinical skills,” she says.
“So, for the first time ever, we've got access to training that can help absolutely everybody excel within their job, but also truly realise their potential and start to develop and enhance themselves and really think differently about where they see their careers going in the future.”
With that crucial box ticked, Jemella hopes that her team can start looking towards loftier, boundary-pushing goals on an organisational level.
“For me, what's most important is being able to almost leave a legacy, not that I'm planning to leave anytime soon before there's any panic from anybody at work that might see this, but just being able to know that I'm leaving a legacy that encourages people to learn in different ways and really enjoy learning rather than seeing it as a bugbear,” Jemella says.
“I hope that I'm able to inspire my team to go on that journey with me and through us as a team be able to inspire the wider organisation to go on that journey and really start to push the boundaries of what we can do as an organisation as well.”
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