Frontline Workers and the Health of Your Community

We introduced you to WeThink through the lens of frontline worker development. We discussed scenarios in which organizations could help grow this employee segment, which is a win-win for all those involved! Today we are going to continue the conversation and dive into frontline worker development and how it not only benefits the worker and organization, but also the communities in which we live and thrive.

As politics in our country become more and more heated, we’ll continue to hear conversation about Obama-era priorities—like healthcare. While we know it is easy to become frustrated with the political grid-lock we’re facing over this issue, regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on, as learning pros, this gives us an interesting topic to consider, too. While we know healthcare reform is something that will deeply impact everyone across all communities and cultures, the question for us is can well executed frontline healthcare worker develop have a positive impact on our treasured communities? The shorter answer is YES! Let’s keep going…

Consider this: healthcare systems, no matter how large or small, often play two important roles in any given community. First, they are often a leading employer since healthcare systems involve such a vast number of industries and second, they are responsible for providing care to their residents and ultimately allowing them to continue to lead healthy, happy lives.

Now let’s think about this: how does the first impact the second? For any health system (whether they have 50 employees or 5,000), turnover is expensive. Sure—all RNs you hire have the same technical body of knowledge having received their certification, but do they know your specific system’s standard operating procedures? Do they adhere to the same standard of patient care? Working to retain your frontline team by investing in them through professional development and therefore, good for you bottom line.

Now let’s look at the second piece: patient care. Not only does turnover get pricy, but it also starts to impact patient care. Continuity—whether it’s in patient care from physicians, nurses or administrative staff—is an important part of providing good care and getting patients healthier faster! And at the end of the day, good patient care is more cost effective for all. It means less return visits, less unpaid bills, fewer wasted hours revisiting treatable conditions. Whether a health system is for-profit or non-profit, they all have a bottom line. Keeping employees around is one of the easiest ways to save money on professional development and one of the best ways to retain employees is to give them a way to grow (read: frontline worker development)!

As you can see, frontline workers play a vital role in keeping our communities healthy. Here’s one last example for you. Nationally, we’ve been experiencing a paramedic shortage. Why is there a paramedic shortage? Of course, you could look to things like city, county, private funding, pay scale inadequacies, but you could also look to the lack of frontline worker development tactics such as program reimbursement, scholarship help and EMT to paramedic training programs. Paramedics are healthcare first responders and often their care can mean the matter of life or death for our communities.

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