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Change is Difficult; Chocolate Helps (Thoughts from an SLS Trainer)

By Melissa Singer January 28, 2019
Great instructors add value!

Ohhhh! No one likes to see the trainer coming! Ugh! It means change, time away from patients, new software, new processes…! It’s all so overwhelming!

As a trainer, I know where I stand when I walk into a classroom. I know the doctors, nurses, techs, chaplains, and other care team members with whom I have the pleasure of working do not want to be there. So, my first challenge is to find a way to reach them with the message of a new system.  I must put them at ease and bring them to a place where they can hear the lessons and learn how this newest system (whether EPIC, Cerner, Meditech or another EHR system) will enhance the patient care experience that they so value. It is what is important to them, and so it is my goal…and my passion!

To help my class participants get to this sweet spot, I ensure that I meet with hospital staff and prepare my lessons ahead of training. Prior to the first training class, I hold a dress rehearsal with any willing participants. All of this ensures that I am ready to go. On the day of training, it is all about the participants. I arrive early so that when the participants walk through the door, the room is set up and I am there with a smile to personally greet them. Some grumble; some comment on the background music (Mozart). Some look at the greeting on the screen in the front of the room to make sure that they are in the right place.  Some seek out the best seats in relation to the screen; some look at the chocolates and other treats at the workstations to decide which computer will work best.

Chocolates? What? Why? – It is part of helping the participants to feel comfortable and sets the stage for the fun experience that I like to make of training.

When all students have arrived and are seated, the class begins with a PowerPoint presentation that introduces the class structure, the topics to be discussed, the ways in which the software will benefit the participants and (always) a statement indicating that I understand that my participants are the experts in their fields, and I am here to help with the change process. I affirm their concerns and share some sage knowledge: change is difficult; chocolate helps! (Yes, there are nuts, raisins, and sugar-free gum for those who may not enjoy sweets.)

Throughout the exploration of the software, I work to share the appointed topics and processes and affirm their successes as we go. I keep it light and fun – I incorporate some silly stories and music (pop and fun songs, think Taylor Swift) to help to keep the class engaged. I watch carefully to ensure that all are following along and understanding the flow. I encourage questions, and I put those I cannot answer on a posted parking lot for follow-up. I assess, reorganize, and redirect as needed to ensure that the participants and I are moving through the material and processes all through the class.

When participants have the ah-ha moment, the moment when they see they both see the value of the software to their missions and are confident in their ability to use the software, I am thrilled!  I am reminded how lucky I am to have my dream job and excited to do it again tomorrow!