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To get the most for your money when offering "Educating Patients: A Skill-Building Seminar" by San Bruno, CA-based Krames Communications as an inservice, tailor the course to your facility, advises Marie Glaser, RN, MSN, consultant in the Learning Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN.
"We asked each person who attended the seminar to share two things they learned with their colleagues," says Glaser. "We also asked them to share the resources they got at the seminar. We thought that if we got them to articulate what they learned once or twice, it would help reinforce the learning."
Each participant receives a binder filled with the information taught in the course and a booklet published by Krames titled A Guide to Educating Patients. (For information on the Krames and other booklets, see p. 140.)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center also had four in-house speakers at the seminar. They included the chief nursing officer, a nurse researcher, a member of a task force created to define the role of the professional nurse at Vanderbilt, and a physician.
"We wanted the seminar to feel more like a Vanderbilt product in collaboration with Krames," says Glaser.
Management at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit took advantage of a course to train in-house facilitators for the skill-building seminar so they could conduct them on an ongoing basis. To ensure their success, they have created a complementary course for physicians on the value of brief interventions where the physician takes a few minutes to speak to the patient about the importance of the education the patient is about to receive from a nurse or other staff member.
"The brief intervention elevates in the patient’s mind the importance of their responsibility in their own health. Then if other members of the care team are able to use the approach they learned in the Krames workshop, to assess, plan, implement, and document every step, we will have a program that works," says Nancy Combs Habel, MA, director of communications at the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Henry Ford.
To help reinforce the teaching in the workshop and get those who didn’t attend to ask questions, Combs Habel gave coffee mugs to all participants. They were inscribed with: "Every encounter is a teachable moment."
"They had a visible reminder to take back to their site," she explains.
To ensure that the seminar continues to have a positive effect on teaching, provide follow-up and support on an ongoing basis, advises Combs Habel. Everyone who participates in the seminar at Henry Ford is placed on the mailing list for a monthly "best practice" newsletter titled Healthy Exchange. The newsletter created by the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention features the best programs and materials within the health system.
Also, they are sent three- and six-month written evaluations so management can determine if the course is helping participants support health education in the departments and clinics where they work. Survey results from the pilot study showed that 81% of participants were able to apply what they had learned in the course. The resource binder had proved useful to 71% of participants.