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Professional Development

Professional Development

During 2011, 61 employees have enrolled in higher education programs through the Lifelong Learning Initiative offered through the Office of Workforce Development and the Norton Healthcare Institute for Nursing:

  • DNP (11)
    • MSN (10)
    • R.N. to MSN (4)
    • R.N. to BSN collaboration (36)

Patient Care Associates retention program
Of the 98 PCAs hired during the first 10 months of 2010, 84 (86 percent) left their positions. They ranged in experience from none to some experience. Orientation usually consisted of three days spent in system nursing orientation followed by one to two weeks’ orientation on the assigned clinical unit.

One of the institute’s goals was to address retention and training problems by implementing a PCA orientation program. Under the direction of Carol Goss, R.N., and Sharon Conway, R.N., Spalding University School of Nursing provides Norton Healthcare PCAs with classes approved by the Kentucky Medicaid Nurse Aid curriculum. The institute is working with Spalding to develop a program that meets the state requirements and will allow PCAs to be registered as nursing assistants for acute care. Spalding has a large clinical laboratory that offers hands-on experience in a supervised environment.

The institute launched the PCA orientation program in July 2011. The PCA core nursing orientation is now separate from nursing core orientation and is conducted once a month. All PCAs must attend the system core orientation. Each PCA’s knowledge level, experience and skills are assessed as part of orientation. Based on the results of that assessment, PCAs are placed into one of five groups:

  1. PCAs experienced in acute care attend the system nursing core orientation and their facility’s orientation.
  2. Those PCAs experienced only in long-term care attend two additional supervised clinical orientation days and their facility’s orientation. It also is desired that they attend the Spalding program if they do not pass the skills test.
  3. Nursing students who have had their fundamentals course and first clinical course attend the system nursing core orientation and their facility’s orientation. If they have not had these fundamentals and clinical courses, they also attend Spalding’s program.
  4. CNAs who have not worked as a PCA within the past three months are required to attend the PCA orientation followed by the Spalding course.
  5. Inexperienced PCAs attend the core PCA orientation followed by the two-week course at Spalding.

The goal of the PCA orientation program is twofold: to have well-trained PCAs caring for patients and to improve the retention rate of PCAs. In the long term, the PCA orientation program will help to reduce the cost of replacing and retraining PCAs. It also will help to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes by having better trained PCAs caring for patients.

Perioperative nursing
The institute offers a certificate in perioperative nursing, which prepares registered nurses for basic entry into operating room practice. Taught by Michele Harbin, R.N., system educator, Medical/Surgical Services, this program requires a commitment of four classroom hours and four clinical hours per week for eight weeks. Classes are held at the Institute for Nursing at Norton Audubon Hospital, and clinical hours are worked at Louisville-area hospitals. Candidates earn 65.6 contact hours.

The Institute for Nursing sponsored a CNOR Certification Preparation Workshop in October 2010. Sixteen nurses attended the workshop, and all successfully passed the exam.Seven OR registered nurses who are Norton Scholars attended OR class in July and August 2011. All except one have been hired into positions. Nine registered nurses from Kentucky/Indiana completed the institute’s first Perioperative Nurse Course for the Bellarmine University School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The course was held from September to November 2011. Four of the nine nurses are interviewing/interested in interviewing for positions in Norton Healthcare facilities.

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