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Human resource development is an essential component in the development of the individual employee as well as for the organization that they work for. In the first part of the paper will discuss key components within McLagan’s human resource wheel specifically; training, development, organizational development and career development. In the second part of the paper will discuss Kirkpatrick’s four level taxonomy of reactions, learning, transfer and results as the human resource program is evaluated.
A job in the health care field tends to be a very rewarding occupation and is very true when it comes to being a surgical technologist (ST). They go by many names; scrub tech, operating room technician, and surgical tech, but regardless of what title you give them they play an integral role in the operating room team. With, the baby boomers’ generation growing there is an increased need from the healthcare professions and certainly an uptick with surgical procedures. The expected job opportunity growth of surgical technologist is expected to be an average rate of 12 percent (6 Reasons for Becoming a Surgical Tech in 2019 and Beyond. (n.d.). With, the ever changing and improvements to technology it is key to keep the surgical technologist’s trained in the advancement of surgical procedures.
Training and Development
As employees enter the work force following training they being to lose the skills that they had just learned and can become a weaker employee hurting the overall company. Elangovan and Karakowsky (1999) argue that organizations gain from training programs through the improved performance and increased productivity that accompany employee development, while employees enjoy extrinsic and intrinsic rewards associated with skill development and performance improvement (McGuire, D. (2014). Therefore a robust employee training and development program must be in place. The initial surgical technician program does an excellent job through both didactic and clinical training in accredited surgical technologist programs that run from 12 to 24 months in length. To keep up their skills, keep up with the ever changing technology, have and efficient surgical technologist and a key component in the successful surgical outcome, we must have a proactive training and development plan in place.
There are three distinct ways that a surgical technologist can improve their skills utilizing training and development and those are, hands-on training, continuing education, effective surgical service rotations, and attending state assemblies and/or national conferences. Hands-on training is by far the most important and effective way to train and develop the surgical technologist. The hands-on training provides the opportunity for the employee to practice their skills in a controlled environment without the risk of causing harm to the patient. When there is a new surgical approach the surgeons practice for many hours in the simulation center to master the skill, the same needs to be true for the surgical technologist. They need to spend time in the simulation center with the surgeons so that they can work together as a team from the start. As their skill become better and time spent together the surgical technologist can anticipate the needs of the surgeon which in turn will decrease the surgery time allowing the patient not to spend un-needed time under anesthesia. Another way to utilize hands-on training is with companies that develop new products. Sometimes the first time the technologist sees or uses the new equipment is during the actual surgery. This is ineffective and can cause problems that could be alleviated if the technologist can practice with the equipment in a controlled setting when the patient is not under anesthesia. Companies take the new products to the doctor’s office so that they can view them and practice using them prior to using them on a patient. The surgical technologist need to have the same opportunity. This can easily be accomplished during product in-services held at the company or even at the hospital. Now that hands-on training has been discussed, let us discuss continuing education (CE).
Now that have a great job health care field as a surgical technologist, this doesn’t mean that your education is complete. If we are to believe Socrates, our educations are merely the kindling of an eternal flame. Continuing education will keep that flame bright and shining. It is important with-in any industry to stay up to date with advances in technology as well as changes in the field. That is especially true in the health care field, they must stay up to date with medical advances and one way to do that is trough continuing education. According to The Institute for Health Care Improvement, “CE is a vehicle for spreading best practices and how to improve patient outcomes.” In short, continuing education is a way to keep health care teams abreast of current research in the fields in which they practice (The Importance of Continuing Education for health care workers. (2018, October 01). Regardless if it is a requirement by your employer or by the governing body for your certification, use the continuing education to stay up to date on current advances. As well as advancing your career in the field that you love. The quality of patient care and general public health are enhanced by evidence-based medicine. CE ensures that the best evidence is known, understood and implemented by health care professionals. Participation in your health education benefits you professionally and the health care community you work in.
The third key to a successful training and development program is an effective surgical services rotation. Many times the technologist get stuck in one service, for example orthopedics. They get used to it, they are skilled, and they can anticipate the surgeon’s needs. This is great for operating room team as well as for the surgical outcome of the patient. However this ends up narrowing their skills since they have only been working in orthopedics. What happens when they are on call and vascular cases comes through the door, they are not going to be as comfortable the flow of the case, nor the supplies and equipment which could cause delays in the operating room and will require the patient to be under anesthesia longer than normally required. The operating room suite needs to have a ration for all the surgical technologist so that they can stay familiar and up to date on all surgical specialties. Now that hands-on training, continuing education, and effective surgical service rotations have been discussed, we will now discuss attending state assemblies and/or national conferences.
Live events such as state assemblies and national conferences for surgical technologist provides a unique learning environment to learn what is new and to sharpen your skills. There are several benefits to attending these conferences. Being able to get away from work and avoid the interruptions that can come up while at work is very impactful. Conferences can also provide the opportunity to meet the experts in the field in person. It also provides that opportunity to network with others in your field and have face to face discussions for what works for them, what doesn’t work for them and areas of improvement. Good conferences have opportunities for attendees to mix and mingle, form new relationships, and strengthen existing ones. There tends to be lots of exhibits displaying the latest and greatest innovations to look at and at times can practice using. There’s nothing like being in a room of like-minded people. Other people who are willing to take time away from the office to learn something new. Other people who want to “better” themselves. When you sit in a classroom or auditorium, you discover that you’re not alone in wanting to improve your skills and bring something back to your office or organization.
Organizational development (OD) is the theory and practice of planned, systematic change in the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the employees through creation and reinforcement of long-term training programs (What is organizational development (OD)? definition and meaning. (n.d.). The purpose of OD is to enable an organization to better respond and adapt to industry/market changes and technological advances (McGuire, D. (2014). Many companies want to be a highly efficient with increased production for the health care field that means they want to strive to be a high reliable organization. When you achieve that more and more patients will want to come be treated at your office or hospital. So increased production would result in increased patient load. To become a high reliable organization the first thing you want to look at is process improvements. When you break down processes and find the weakness you can make improvements to it making it more patient safe as well as more efficient. As with most organizations the number one complaint is the lack of or the miscommunication up and down the leadership ladder. With increased communication that will align all employees to the mission and vison of the company. With open communication that can lead to an increase of understanding and possibly a change within the organization. Also with good open communication comes feedback from the receivers. To improve on the organizational development the organization must focus on the career development of their employees. This is one of the most important aspects of organizational development, which we will discuss next.
In an ever-changing, fast-paced, globalized world, career development and career planning have become increasingly important aspects of human resource development (McGuire, D. (2014). It is not simple good enough to come to work clock in and clock out, one must strive to achieve more in their career. It has to be a motivation by the employee to progress through their career. But the employer must be engaged with the development of their employees. There are multiple reasons to have an effective career development in your organization. Organizations understand the need to retain their top talent, by providing career development opportunities their employees are more likely to look for upward movement within the organization vice looking elsewhere. Employees who have access to career development processes, resources, and tools feel much more engaged and supported by the organization. In addition, employees who drive their own development are far more likely to be motivated and optimally productive on a consistent basis. Skill and competency gaps, particularly within critical high-level roles, are becoming more and more common as roles become more demanding and the demands of leadership grow increasingly complex. Creating a culture and process that facilitates internal mobility is one of the best ways to fill these gaps from within the organization. An internal mobility framework enables qualified employees to find roles most suited to them, and enables the organization to fill such roles without the extensive costs associated with hiring, training, and onboarding outside hires. Organizations that achieve the most sustainable success are those that attract the best people to develop their strategies and achieve their goals. An effective career development initiative brands your organization as one that truly cares about its employees, helping your organization continuously attract the best people for the roles you need.
There are three phases of progression for a surgical technologist. They are, level I entry-level practitioner, level II proficient practitioner and level III expert practitioner. The level I practitioner is a new employee that has graduated from an accredited program and have been employed for a year or less. During their orientation to the operating room and during their first year of employment they must focus on basic, intermediate and advanced procedures within all surgical specialties. This must be strictly observed and enforced by the preceptor as well as management to ensure they comfortable working with all the procedures in all the surgical specialties that the hospital/surgical clinic provides. They must become certified within their first year of employment and maintain their certification through continuing education. As a level II practitioner, one must take on a greater responsibility in providing patient care. They must also demonstrate higher level critical thinking and problem solving skills as a level I. A level II should also be involved in precepting new hires since they should be extremely proficient in all surgical procedures. And finally as a surgical technologist progress in their career they should be looking at becoming a level III practitioner, this technologist think on a global level and participates in activities in and out of the operating room. Along with this career path of a surgical technologist they should also look at expanding their education through advanced degrees.
With an effective human resource development plan for a surgical technologist through training and development, organizational development and career development we will be able to improve personal and professional growth. This will be a benefit to our patients and our organization as we strive to become a high reliable organization. Without the talent of our employees we cannot become a profitable company.
A company might have the best human resource development plan in place but without the ability to actively assess and evaluate the program it might not be as effective as the company thinks it is. We have developed a human resource development plan for a surgical technologist through training and development, organizational development and career development, we will now develop a plan to evaluate it using Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels taxonomy. Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation Model can help you objectively analyze the effectiveness and impact of your training, so that you can improve it in the future (Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation ModelAnalyzing Training Effectiveness. (n.d.).
The first level on Kirkpatrick’s taxonomy in reactions, at this level we are evaluating the students reaction to training using different forms of evaluations methods such as oral discussion, feedback forms as well as checklists. At this level this is more of focus on the actual training and not the trainer. We us the trainer to provide the areas of focus. There are two reasons why this level is important, one it tells us how the student/employee reacted to the training and two it can help us improve the training for future evolutions. We need the employee to fill out the evaluation/feedback form so that we can understand from their eyes what is missing from the training as well as areas of improvement. The second part of the feedback portion is probably the most important part and that is taking action on what the trainee says is missing or needs improvement. If we only listen and don’t make changes to the training the much needed improvements will not happen.
The second level is learning, at this level the focus is on the actual employee/learner. At this level it is instituted as a formal evaluation of the trainee. We need to measure what the employee has learned during and after the training. This is where we can assess their knowledge, skills and abilities. This is extremely important in the medical field, if the learner is not able to perform the tasks at hand given the training that was given that tells us either we failed in providing the training or they failed to learn the skill. Using evaluation forms is an excellent way to evaluate the learner and the learning process. The evaluation forms are provided to the preceptor to evaluate the surgical technologist during their first year out of school to ensure they are mastering each surgical case within each surgical specialty. This can also be used to determine how they are progress to each level as a surgical technologist as the progress through their career development. One the of the biggest ways to test a surgical technologist learning level is for them to sit and take the Certified Surgical Technologist certifying exam.
At this level we evaluate the effect of the training program on the actions of the trainee within the workplace. There are several items at our disposal to accomplish this. The first one is direct observation of the employee in the workplace. This observation and direct feedback needs to come from management as well as the coworker that work with them each an everyday through peer evaluation. A peer evaluation is one of the most important and accurate evaluations that can be given since they see firsthand the knowledge, skills and abilities of the employee. Management gets paid to manage the department and the people but they don’t get the opportunity to see the employees as often as coworkers. And this type of evaluation can be documented through their yearly departmental evaluation.
The final level of Kirkpatrick’s taxonomy is results. This level might be the hardest to measure since we are evaluating the impact of their training on the organization itself. For a surgical technologist within the organization you would want the ultimate outcome to be a successful surgery, but there are many factors that play into that from the nursing staff and other support staff, to the surgeon and the anesthesiologist. They all have a hand to play in the care of the patient and the successful surgery and recovery of the patient. So for this level we should focus on the ability of the surgical technologist to be comfortable and efficient with any surgical case that comes through the door. This would be good for the patient (customer), good for employees, and good for the organization.
With the ever changing and improvements to technology it is key to keep the surgical technologist’s trained in the advancement of surgical procedures. With a solid training and development, organizational development and career development plan in place with the ability to use Kirkpatrick’s taxonomy as an evaluation tool you can develop successful surgical technologists. With them as the anchor to you surgical team you have the ability to provide safe patient care during surgery with the intent to have a positive surgical outcome.
- 6 Reasons for Becoming a Surgical Tech in 2019 and Beyond. (n.d.). Retrieved from
- All About Surgical Tech Salary and Career Opportunities. (2017, August 30). Retrieved from
- Association of Surgical Technologists. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ast.org/AboutUs/Related_Organizations/
- Brooks, R. (2017, May 11). 12 Reasons You Should Attend Conferences. Retrieved from
- Career Development: The Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.insala.com/career-
- Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Training Evaluation ModelAnalyzing Training Effectiveness. (n.d.).
Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/kirkpatrick.htm
- McGuire, D. (2014). Human Resource Development. London: SAGE Publications.
- The Importance of Continuing Education for health care workers. (2018, October 01). Retrieved from https://www.concorde.edu/blog/continuing-education
- What is organizational development (OD)? definition and meaning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/organizational-development-OD.html
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