New generation team training: creativity in crisis

Published: Tuesday, 07 July 2020
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Glenys Bridges talks about new ways of carrying out professional development on a reduced budget.

Summary

  • With budgets squeezed because of reduced patient flow and increased infection control measures, the budget for team training must be carefully managed to get optimal value for money.
  • This can be easily achieved by up-skilling a team member as the training lead and enabling them to plan and facilitate both formal eCPD learning and training to keep clinical and operational skills up to date.
  • The objective of the team training lead role is to deliver learning programmes for the education and professional development of the dental team, including meeting regulatory requirements, supporting strengths and weaknesses within the team, and carrying out evaluation and improvement.
  • The principles of Bloom's Taxonomy (www.bloomstaxonomy.net) can be used to underpin the learning and reflection process.

The effects of COVID-19 on the daily work of dental teams have been immense. The pandemic has changed attitudes and created challenges that might previously have been considered impossible. In terms of team training, it has brought about nothing less than a COVID-19 revolution.

In unprecedented situations, the usual regiment of experts have less to offer. Yet most practices have triumphed in crisis. Who would have thought it would take an international pandemic to animate the inclusive team rhetoric that has rumbled around the profession for many years? Since we are all in this together, the motivation to contribute towards making practices safe has surfaced.

Although official guidance has been inadequate, practice management teams have used the information available to make things happen within tight timeframes by involving their teams in planning and implementing the required measures. Team input into training requirements has been essential for changing working patterns beyond recognition, and all of this at a time when financial resources are dramatically reduced. In the future, when we look back at this time, we will recognise how the coronavirus training revolution has changed working relationships and energised teams. The question is how we make the best of this experience and reap future benefits.

Team training has numerous facets, reaching beyond the mandatory eCPD requirements to the practical development of good practice for high-quality dental care. The same teaching and learning principles hold true for both mandatory and operational training. In dental education, the principles of Bloom's Taxonomy (www.bloomstaxonomy.net) underpin the learning and reflection process as follows.

  • Knowledge. At this stage, objective information needs to be presented to give the learners somewhere to build understanding so they can develop and apply new skills. Here the learner’s knowledge base can be assessed by asking questions to see what they have understood.
  • Comprehension. The comprehension stage involves measuring understanding to ensure that the reasons and intended outcomes are understood. This might lead to a discussion of methods, where different perspectives are considered, and discussion can add to the understanding of the group as a whole.
  • Application. With a sound base of knowledge and understanding in place, the next stage is the practical action stage, in which the planning from the previous stages is put to the test.
  • Analysis. When a training initiative begins with stated end goals, it is possible to analyse the results in terms of whether the training has been efficient and effective. A quality analysis process scores the effectiveness of the training in terms of whether it has achieved its objectives, and its efficiency in terms of economy, reliability, user friendliness and adaptability. Awarding quality scores for these aspects provides the ability to holistically observe what has worked and where further development is needed.
  • Synthesis. Shewhart’s PDSA cycle (Plan, Do, Study, Act) (see the Toolkit ‘Handout – Training quality standards’) offers a technique for synthesis, which involves using the results from the analysis to form practical steps for improving effectiveness and efficiency as follows:
    • Plan – ways to raise quality scores
    • Do – put the plans into action
    • Study – how the improvement measures influenced the outcomes
    • Act – based on the study results, continue to deliver continuously improving services based on high-quality training and development.
  • Evaluate. Reflective practice is increasingly common as a professional skill. It brings together all of Bloom’s stages. In terms of training, this can be a combination of a happy sheet and more in-depth consideration of how the training event meets its pre-set outcomes.

With budgets squeezed because of reduced patient flow, increased PPE and infection control measures, the budget for team training must be carefully managed to get optimal value for money. This can be easily achieved by up-skilling a team member as the training lead and enabling them to plan and facilitate both formal eCPD learning and training to keep clinical and operational skills up to date.

Skills for team training leads

The objective of the team training lead role is to deliver learning programmes for the education and professional development of the dental team. The team leads need to be able to:

  • Plan and facilitate training to meet the team’s needs. Someone from within the team analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the team and opens development opportunities in line with the practice’s ethos. Induction programmes, mentoring plans, introducing new working practices and formal eCPD are just a few of the initiatives the team training lead can direct effectively by following Bloom’s processes.
  • Meet regulatory requirements. Ongoing dental education is highly regulated; under the GDC guidance on quality standards before, during and after the course, the practice can provide certificated eCPD.

Training is available for this role and covers:

  • ways to identify learning needs
  • structuring a presentation
  • planning training sessions
  • resources and materials needed for quality CPD
  • GDC requirements for eCPD programmes
  • techniques for reflective practice and evaluation.

Conclusion

Is it the end of team training as we know it? Necessity is the mother of invention, and as ever dental teams need to ensure that they have the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours at the right time and in the right place. Only those working in practice will be sufficiently tuned in to make this happen. The dental workforce must develop the skills, values behaviours and capability to provide co-productive care as appropriate and be able to adapt to new ways of working. High-quality, preventively oriented dental care should be delivered by dental teams in a professional manner and involve managed training and development across organisations and systems, underpinned by effective leadership and professionalism locally and nationally.

Toolkit

Use the following items in the Toolkit to put the ideas in the article into practice:

About the author

Glenys Bridges CMIPD RDN is Managing Partner of Glenys Bridges and Partners Practice Pathways and offers a range of leadership and management programmes. She is a twice-published author and contributor to Messages from Dental Masters 2. She has developed and delivers a range of practice management qualifications https://www.glenys-bridges.co.uk/

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