Thirty employees from Good Samaritan Hospital recently departed from their normal routine to attend an all-day Patient-Centered Care (PCC) training in Suffern, New York, the last in a series of 33 sessions. They were instructed by two of their own: Care Partner Cheryl White and Dionne Parker-Peterkin, a registered nurse. Both women were at ease as they delivered the curriculum in a room filled with their peers. Their confidence was impressive considering that they had learned the material just three months earlier, in a PCC train-the-trainer class conducted by the Labor Management Project (LMP).
In 2011, the LMP secured funding through the New York State Department of Health’s Health Care Reform Act grant to start the PCC training program. With help from the Registered Nurse Labor Management Initiatives (RNLMI) and from external trainers, the LMP has since provided full-day comprehensive PCC classes to over 6,000 healthcare workers in hospitals and ambulatory clinics throughout New York City, Long Island and the north metro counties.
By all accounts, Good Samaritan Hospital’s participation in the PCC program has been a great success. From the start, the labor and management sponsors, 1199SEIU Administrative Organizer Elba Gonzalez and Good Samaritan Senior VP Patient Services/Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Phyllis Yezzo, were optimistic that the engaging and innovative training would help enhance the patient experience and increase patient satisfaction scores. The training is rooted in evidence-based adult learning principles. The sponsors’ decision to train all hospital employees highlighted their significant commitment to the initiative. From Environmental Service workers to senior-level management, staff attended the weekday sessions during paid hospital time.
Further demonstrating their dedication, the sponsors went a step beyond many stakeholders. Choosing to build sustainability from within, they jointly selected and gave time off to three union and five management staff to attend an LMP-facilitated PCC train-the-trainer session, of which Cheryl and Dionne were a part. For three days the peer trainers learned and practiced the curriculum so they could train their colleagues the following month. “Rodney Brown and Francois Philippe from the LMP provided clear direction, excellent advice and solid support so we were ready to do the training,” said one of the trainees. Their schedules were adjusted during the training, to accommodate the mental and physical rigor of the eight-hour sessions.
In the six months since the March launch of the PCC Program at Good Samaritan, more than 750 employees have participated in the on-site trainings. Most participants reported an increased understanding of the importance of the patient experience, as measured through HCAHPS. As one noted, on a training evaluation: “HCAHPS is a very important survey that determines the patient satisfaction and how we get reimbursed.”
The training has also resonated on a personal level, as participants absorbed its messages about self-care and the role each staff member plays in improving the patient experience. As one participant put it: “I am responsible for taking steps to improve patient satisfaction. Change can start with one person.”