Each year in the fall, LVMC hosts an interactive session known as “skills week” for its nurses, a requirement to ensure they are competent with the many tasks they must perform. In two conference rooms within the hospitals, nurses go from station-to-station to complete each required task.
Nurse managers are on hand to check off and approve the ability of each nurse. Among the skills tested include glucometer competency; safe patient lifting; body ergonomics; mechanical lift competencies; blood transfusions and reactions; use of restraints; infection control; wearing of personal protective equipment and more. These are just a sampling of the skills that need to be validated for LVMC’s nursing staff this year.
In addition to the regulatory topics, skills week also allows for education regarding specific topics that may be in need for all staff on the nursing units. These are topics that may not occur with great regularity at LVMC, and are considered “low in volume.” Because of that, annual refreshers are encouraged.
Safe Patient Handling education is key to ensuring safety for both nursing staff and patients, so demonstrating competence with the mechanical lift equipment is a required part of training every year.
Blood transfusions and reactions is also an important topic of education as staff must be aware of how to identify and treat a possible reaction. Additionally, Pharmacist Chad Signorelli regularly participates in Skills Week. This year, his station will include an IV admixing/compounding competency for nursing staff to complete.
Some stations will have games, and others will have questions to answer. This will ensure understanding, it also allows for employees to ask questions to the experts on the topics.
“I learn something different every year,” Registered Nurse Sarah Gunter said during skills week this year. Registered Nurse Teri Silva went through the stations on Tuesday.
“There are some things we don’t use that often, like the patient lift and some of the protection equipment,” she says. “I always learn something new every time I go through.”
At Clinical Lab Scientist Bev Imano’s station this year, she wanted nurses to understand the jobs of workers they may never see. She calls it the “Faces of the Lab.” The display board showed photographs of the laboratory staff. Nurses were tasked with attaching names to the faces.
“These are all the people in the back and you never see their faces,” Bev said to a nurse.
Prior to participating in Skills Week, the nursing staff got a copy of the resource guide that contains important information about what is required. It also serves as a guide for nurses on their units. As a final element of Skills Week, nurses must complete an online portion validating their understanding on the various topics. Education is important at LVMC. We want everyone to be fully equipped with the knowledge and competence to serve our community with safety.
Melinda DeHoyos is the director of Perinatal Services. Most recently, DeHoyos was the hospital’s Nurse Educator. She has a Master’s of Science in Nursing with an emphasis on leadership and management. She also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in biological sciences. She has six years experience in the OB department as a registered nurse.