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Achieving 21st Century Healthcare Standards through Online Learning

August 13, 2010

Todd A. Rickel from Herzing University Online, a solution provider at the marcus evans National Healthcare CNO Summet Fall 2010 and National Healthcare CNO Summit Spring 2011, discusses how healthcare organizations can make the most out of online training tools.

Interview with: Todd A. Rickel, Vice President eLearning – Herzing Educational System & Campus President, Herzing University Online

An educated workforce and management team is a critical part of achieving and retaining Magnet status, says Todd A. Rickel, Vice President eLearning – Herzing Educational System and Campus President of Herzing University Online. Considering the convenience of the Internet, healthcare organizations can take advantage of online education tools to bring their workforce up to 21st century standards without the complexities of classroom training. From a solution provider at the marcus evans National Healthcare CNO Summit Fall 2010 and National Healthcare CNO Summit Spring 2011, Rickel offers his insight into the benefits of online learning.

How can online education help hospitals achieve Magnet status?

Todd A. Rickel: The online platform provides a convenient and focused learning environment that hospitals can leverage, allowing training and education functions to be independent of the complexities of nursing shifts and work demands. Hospitals seeking Magnet status have a long list of criteria they must fulfil over a span of years, and an educated workforce and management team is a critical part of that.

Why should hospitals consider online education for helping attract, retain and motivate employees?

Todd A. Rickel: Employment is competitive. Hospitals that provide educational benefits will always attract a higher caliber workforce. Talent attracts talent and education builds talents in motivated staff. Educational benefits typically tie into length of employment or employees are required to make repayment to the hospital if they depart. Online learning is convenient, and opens educational pursuit to a greater population. Alongside the academic subject matter, it also teaches technology skills, thus making the general workforce more capable of supporting and engaging with hospital information systems and operational demands.

Staff members who are shown appreciation through educational benefits are more likely to be retained than employees who do not share those same experiences. Online education does what classroom education does with the added benefits of speed and convenience.

Another benefit is increased productivity. Armed with new skills, knowledge and confidence, employees will be more productive in the workplace. The immediate transfer of knowledge and skills in an online course allows people to learn today and apply their learning immediately.

The model is: learn today, apply today, benefit today – both for the student and the employer. What are your projections for the coming few years?

Todd A. Rickel: We will see significant increases in health information management and nurses in particular have a direct role to play in this. Employment is competitive and hospitals are realizing the availability of online learning, management development, and continuing education for bringing the workforce up to 21st century standards.

Healthcare is ripe for change; the discussion needs to be progressive and include building relationships with universities to enhance the training and delivery of education. To meet their ever increasing employment demands, many hospitals are collaborating with online training and education schools. The advantage of online is that it is very nimble as an industry; it is relatively new and therefore can take advantage of the latest innovations in technology.

What long-term strategies would you recommend to Chief Nursing Officers?

Todd A. Rickel: Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) should take into account their own needs; work with the skills and the talent they have to identify what holes need to be filled. This will depend on whether they are targeting Magnet status or trying to retain it. They can partner with a university or universities that suit their needs and examine the online platform from an educational perspective. Continuing education is very important for professions such as nursing.

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