Developing employees to their full potential

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New Zealand’s Southern Cross Hospitals Ltd implements a Learning Management System to deliver consistent education

People are at the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Cross Hospitals Ltd, which is why the private hospital network puts so much focus on developing employees to their full potential. When Southern Cross Hospitals Ltd made the decision to introduce an online learning portal, it was seen as an opportunity to support and actively enhance learning delivery.

Southern Cross Hospitals (SCHL) is the largest network of private surgical hospitals in New Zealand. SCHL offers a wide variety of elective surgical services in 18 facilities (nine wholly-owned and nine joint venture) across New Zealand.

SCHL’s vision is to be New Zealand’s most respected network of private surgical hospitals and employee learning and development is central to this. In order to effectively deliver consistent content to over 1,100 staff spread throughout New Zealand, SCHL decided to introduce online learning by implementing a Learning Management System (LMS).

A LMS is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of e-learning education courses and training programmes. It is used in multiple public and private hospitals through New Zealand.

Paramount to the successful introduction of the LMS was creating buy-in from users.  SCHL focused on ensuring users could easily find and engage with the site by offering new and exciting courses with familiar content. Educators, hospital managers and the SCHL senior management team were all highly visible supporters of the LMS and crucial to introducing the system to staff, which – after a measured introduction in 2011 – was extended to the entire SCHL network.

One of the biggest benefits of implementing the LMS is that the predominantly hospital-based workforce can easily engage in learning when it suits them. A remote log-on means staff can access the site from the location of their choice and the system provides users with course progress and completion reports so they can gauge where they are up to in terms of their learning.

Since moving the presentation of content and assessment activities to an online platform, hospital educators have been freed up to focus on creating and developing strategic learning resources designed to meet the specific needs of each hospital. An example is the development of an online standardised medicines management certification course.

On a broader scale, compatibility between different organisations’ LMSs has enabled private and public collaboration to develop. As a result the sharing of courses is becoming more prevalent. A year on from the initial introduction, SCHL significantly upgraded its e-learning site to integrate and synchronise other learning and development processes and frameworks.

SCHL has found online learning to be very effective in supporting national initiatives, particularly those connected to changes in clinical practice such as infection prevention and control.

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