COVID-19 FAQs: Cross-training nurses, nonclinical workers

Sanford Health's upskilling program shifts employees to areas of greater need

A blurred image of a hospital hallway to illustrate a story about upskilling

Sanford Health has positioned itself to rapidly respond to increased demands on its clinical health care workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanford Health has designed an upskill training program that can quickly teach Sanford Health and Good Samaritan Society employees skills that will enable them to help support those providing patient care, even if they’ve had no clinical experience before.

Training programs vary, depending on the role the employee will be stepping into. The program is open to nonclinical employees as well as nurses. This opportunity to cross-train can be an advantage for Sanford Health employees whose work area temporarily has closed or has a disruption in regularly scheduled work.

Here’s more information about the upskill training program.

What is upskill training?

Upskill training is designed to prepare existing Sanford Health and Good Samaritan Society employees to perform work outside of their current role. Opportunities are available to all interested employees regardless of prior experience in clinical support or patient care positions. Upon completion, you will be prepared to serve patients confidently and safely.

What benefits does upskilling provide Sanford Health and its patients?

Upskilling helps create a larger pool of resources that can be called upon to support in critical areas of care. By upskilling to a level that you are comfortable in performing, you are allowing the more clinically qualified team members to deliver more complex care required during this extraordinary time. Patients benefit from having enough people to provide quality care in the areas that need it the most. By upskilling employees before a surge of patients, Sanford Health avoids any gaps in patient care.

Are there specific groups of employees who are being asked to upskill?

Employees who are affected by a facility closure or reduced work needs are encouraged to explore the upskill training options. Also, employees with certain skill sets and work experience may be recommended to upskill to specific areas, such as critical care nursing, long-term care or phlebotomy.

What type of roles could I be trained to work in?

Sanford Health expects an increased need for tasks such as room cleaning, stocking supplies and basic patient care, which may include obtaining vital signs and assisting with bathing and dressing. Prior patient care experience is not required to be upskilled to these roles.

In addition, current RNs and LPNs may be upskilled to perform new tasks or work in new environments. The goal would be to align skills and work experience with the area in need.

How long will upskilling take?

The length of the training depends on the program you select, but it may range from one to seven days.

How will upskill training be delivered?

Training will be done through computer-based training (CBT) and in-person classroom training or on the unit where you will work.

How can I be confident that I am performing my new role correctly?

After the training, you will spend time with a preceptor in the unit for additional competency validation. You will not be asked to perform skills on your own until competency has been validated.

How is my safety being considered during training and reassignment?

Training plans include when and how to use personal protective equipment to keep you safe. During training, class sizes are limited, and strict infection prevention practices are used to clean training equipment. Employees will be screened before entering the classroom to limit the risk for exposure.

I’m interested in upskilling. How do I get started?

Talk to your leader to determine whether upskill training is right for you based on current workload. Then, sign up for training on Inside Sanford.

What will happen after I submit a request for upskill training?

Once you or your supervisor submits the request for your upskill training, someone will reach out to you to coordinate training. You will be paid for your training time.

What happens once my training is complete?

Placements will likely be in departments that are in need of someone to perform the skills covered in your upskill training. If you already know where you will be placed, you will be given a department tour and spend time with a preceptor for additional competency validation. Once that is complete and you can work independently, you will remain on that unit or will be assigned to another unit to fulfill a need.

What types of work environments could I be assigned to?

The greatest need is expected to be in clinical areas such as in-patient hospital care departments, long-term care and home health.

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Posted In Coronavirus, Frequently Asked Questions, People & Culture

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