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Meeting our new staff’s training needs with social distancing

An icon to show our e-Inductions

Before the COVID-19 lockdown, new Berkshire Healthcare staff would attend an induction in Bracknell within their first month. During this event, they’d be informed about various aspects of working for the Trust and complete statutory training.

Due to the need for social distancing, physical attendance is no longer an option, it’s more essential than ever that all staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure personal and patient safety while carrying out their regular duties.

This is why we’ve introduced e-inductions.

We spoke to Laura Bartlett, Induction & Training and OD Business & Compliance Lead, about how inductions have evolved with social distancing in mind.

Here is a screenshot of Julian Emms taken from our eInduction course.

Screenshot of Julian Emms taken from our eInduction course 

Why is it so important that we keep doing inductions?

Inductions aren’t just about letting people know about our leadership and values. We have a legal duty to ensure the health and safety of all our staff, so we must be able to show that they have the necessary knowledge and skills for compliance.

It’s also important that staff know who to go to if they have a problem related to wellbeing, safety or security. During the induction, we make sure they know who they can approach about an issue, whether it concerns them personally, a colleague, or is about a patient.

For example, if they’re feeling discriminated against, we have our three staff networks – BAME, Purple and Pride – who offer support; Alternatively, if they have concerns about working practices, they need to know the options available for them to speak up confidentially. 

Can you explain how an e-induction works?

Everything we usually would’ve done in a hall or meeting room is now done online. Our new staff learn everything they need to know to work safely and securely, all from the comfort of their own home.

Rather than standing in front of their audience, our presenters are holding live broadcasts with Q&A functionality. Instead of holding a fair and giving out printed handouts, details about information governance, learning and development, our staff networks and other aspects of working at Berkshire Healthcare are delivered via email in the form of intranet pages, digital documents and short films.

During their induction, staff must complete training applicable to their role. The theory aspects of training are completed using e-learning modules, while face-to-face follow-ups, with the appropriate social distancing and/or PPE, are arranged with each individual for the parts that require a physical demonstration.

For an individuals’ training record to be updated, showing that they’re compliant in each area, they’ll need to be present for the duration of all applicable broadcasts and complete the necessary e-learning modules. 

You’ve mentioned information governance, learning and development and staff networks (equality and diversity) – what else is covered in the induction?

Every induction starts with an introduction by our CEO, Julian Emms. Before COVID-19, he’d be there on the first morning without fail, and now instead he speaks to our new staff via a live broadcast. On that first morning, we talk about compassionate leadership within the organisation and what that means for everyone.

Within the first two days, everyone must attend sessions to show compliance around equality, diversity and inclusion, manual handling and conflict resolution, while general health and safety, fire safety, counter-terrorism awareness (PREVENT), ‘Level 1’ safeguarding and infection control are all covered via e-learning.

It then depends on their role which training they need to complete. There’s medium and high-risk manual handling, safeguarding children, mental health clustering, prevention and management of violence and aggression (PMVA), clinical risk and understanding of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty (DoLs). 

What do you think of the changes, now that a couple of inductions have been completed in this way?

While it’s unfortunate that new staff will miss out on the opportunity to meet others from across the Trust, the e-induction is just as informative and valuable. It’s brilliant how we’ve been able to use technology to adapt so that we can still be sure our new staff’s training needs are being fulfilled and they can work safely.

So far, we’ve Inducted 258 new starters in this way, with a further 86 due to attend on Monday 6 July, and the feedback has largely been positive. We’re actively encouraging participants and their managers to let us know what they think did or didn’t work well and we’ll be using these insights to improve the induction experience throughout the COVID-19 situation and beyond. 

Find out more

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If you’d like to learn more about how we’re adapting the way we work and changes to our services due to COVID-19, visit the dedicated area on our website.

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