Patients to benefit from soft-skills training being given to healthcare employeesTim Dune
Patients to benefit from soft-skills training being given to healthcare employees
A survey carried out at Mater Dei Hospital, which spans across the board in the healthcare sector, showed the need for healthcare employees to brush up on their soft skills. This training is now being provided by the Ministry for Health, this newsroom has been told.
While identifying the needs for soft skills is not easy, a spokesperson for the Ministry for Health said that a survey showed that 97 per cent of patients were happy with the service provided at the hospital.
When detailed feedback was gathered, however, patients said that while the technical side of the service was fantastic, healthcare professionals did not explain enough or were not tender enough with them.
The spokesperson said that perhaps this was because of the rush and the growing demand, which was one of the points identified in a training needs analysis. The same analysis showed that training in soft skills was also needed for employees from all entities of the Ministry for Health.
Over the next three years, training will be given to over 6,000 employees from Mater Dei Hospital, Mount Carmel Hospital, primary health and even employees forming part of the Pharmacy of Your Choice.
This project, led by the Directorate for Program Implementation, costs €3.4 million and is EU funded. €2.4 million will go to the contractor responsible for the project, and the rest will go to cover administrative and other needs.
The staff will receive 36 hours of training spread over nine different sessions of four hours each. The contractor has been charged with setting up a venue, in Luqa, specifically for this training. Off-site training was purposely done to ensure that the employees leave their place of work, so they could focus on the training for those four hours they are there.
The course is divided into three tranches depending on the level of the employee attending the course. Most employees will be attending a general, soft-skills course, made up of 20 employees, whilst middle management will be given a course tweaked for their job.
Top-tier level of management will attend master classes, with a maximum capacity of ten to allow for more interaction. These courses will be more detailed and elaborate.
The course will involve employees from different streams and different entities to allow for cross-fertilisation of ideas during the sessions. Teamwork, conflict management and communication form the basis of the courses, as identified during the training needs analysis.
The philosophy of the course will target the individual patient but also the interaction with colleagues from the same stream and also those forming part of the interdisciplinary field. While the course will be an all-round soft skills course, the state of the fact is that the more the workforce is engaged in their job, the patient will ultimately gain.
The contractor has provided a list of people who will be giving the course, who are experts in the fields of human resources and psychology. The master classes will also have trainers from abroad.
Training started in February and over the next week or two, the first cohort will conclude the course. The feedback so far has been encouraging but the need to continuously drum in that soft skills are just as important as the hard skills is ongoing. Hard skills will not form part of the training, as this is ongoing.
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