Penn State Health increasing nurse confidence & compassion through online training
July 1, 2021
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center increased nurse confidence, standardized new hire curriculum, allowed for improved e-learning innovation, ignited employee engagement, simplified performance observation, improved compliance tracking.
Katrina Greer Registered Nurse, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Named one of the “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center places a high priority on the patient experience. According to Glenn Cermak, organizational development specialist, “At Hershey, we recognize there is more to treating a patient than just the medicine.”
To ensure comprehensive care, Hershey also places a priority on the employee experience. “One of our imperatives is to provide the best ongoing professional and personal development,” said Cermak. “This helps employees know they’re valued and ensures they’re comfortable with procedures and thus able to deliver compassionate care.”
Yet for an organization with 9,500 employees, delivering and tracking professional development was challenging. Learning opportunities were advertised via flyers, with sessions conducted in person, proving especially difficult for night shift workers. On-the-job evaluations were tracked on paper, requiring manual data entry.
In 2014, Hershey implemented Cornerstone Learning, part of Cornerstone OnDemand’s unified talent management system. Through Cornerstone, Hershey has transformed course delivery, onsite evaluations and reporting. “Before Cornerstone, managing training was always difficult,” said Cermak. “Hershey is open 24 hours a day. We needed training that was accessible anytime, where a nurse could train before their shift or log onto a computer for five minutes. Cornerstone makes this flexibility a reality.”
With Cornerstone, Hershey has created a “one-stop shop” for all learning opportunities. Employees visit one location for professional development, mandatory training, and even resources on how to use a specific piece of equipment or perform a bedside procedure. “The biggest win for us is that everything is in one place. We have all of our online training and e-learning in Cornerstone,” said Cermak. “Because everything is in one system, Cornerstone saves nurses time. It’s simple: when you’re working in a hospital, quicker is better. Cornerstone reduces the steps it takes to get the information they need.”
Increased nurse confidence. Confidence with procedures not only improves medical care, it also helps nurses bring compassion to their patient interactions. According to Registered Nurse, Katrina Greer, “The training on Cornerstone helps me be more confident. I must feel comfortable walking into a patient’s room or my focus isn’t going to be on caring for that patient. It’s going to be on the procedure. That’s not what nursing’s about.”
Standardized new hire curriculum. Using Cornerstone for new hire orientation has helped standardize onboarding. “Previously, we had five to ten versions of onboarding training because people would keep and distribute old materials. With Cornerstone, we can distribute the latest curriculum to every new hire and track their progress through orientation and beyond,” said Cermak.
Ignited employee engagement. Employees feel more valued because Hershey makes an ongoing investment in their professional and personal development. According to Cermak, “Through Cornerstone, employees have all of the resources they need to do their jobs well. Employees feel like they matter and are more inclined to put in extra effort.”
Simplified on-the-job performance observation. Cornerstone’s Observation Checklist allows Hershey to assess nurse competency directly at the patient’s bedside. Data is automatically entered into Cornerstone and correlated with existing learning records. Observation Checklist has also helped increase transparency in performance evaluations, as employees are reviewed using the same standardized criteria.
Improved compliance and competency tracking. Managers find it easier to track employee training for compliance and annual competency measurement purposes. “We can see who has completed training and who is signed up for future trainings. We can also assign training to address performance issues for a specific employee or an entire department,” said Cermak.