The role of practice educators within hospices is a crucial one. They are instrumental in developing their own workforce, but they also make a significant contribution to the development of the wider health and social care workforce in their locality. The staff who carry out this role are highly qualified and experienced professionals from various specialisms, nursing, social work, chaplaincy and many others.
One of the challenges of the practice educator is the lack of access to suitable teaching and learning programmes. Over the past 12 months in the East Midlands we have worked on an innovative model of collaborative working, with three hospices (LOROS, Cynthia Spencer and St Barnabas) working together with a training provider to develop a bespoke programme which meets that challenge.
Nine staff have engaged in a combined programme which leads towards a certificate in teaching and learning, an assessor qualification and a quality assurance qualification. The formal face-to-face learning is a five-day programme, delivered over a period of six months, the sessions were hosted at the three different hospices. Each individual staff member was able to identify their own programme outcomes depending on their needs.
A number of staff are working towards all three qualifications, with others opting to achieve just one or two. The flexibility of the programme has meant that the needs of the organisations are being met, by building capacity for assessment and quality assurance, as well as the needs of the individuals to extend their knowledge and understanding of their second profession - teaching and facilitating learning.
The other positive outcome of the programme was the potential to share good practice and the opportunity to network with other professionals from different hospices. The flexible and creative support of staff from Well Training made this approach a positive experience for all.
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