Q: I am a new nurse leader. I just discovered no staff training had been done for 10 months before I arrived, two months ago. I am only one person. How can I do all of this alone?

A: You don’t have to do it all alone!

Think about some of the best training you have received, and try recreating some of it. Skills labs are popular with staff. Set up a room with blood pressure stations, a weigh station and more. and have nurse aides go through the stations.

Set up a room with 10 things that are wrong — maybe a frayed call light, items on the floor, pills on the bedside table — and have staff list the items that should not be there or are dangerous. Or send emails to your consultants, medical director, dietitian and social worker, and give them a month during the year that you would like them to conduct an in-service. 

For instance, perhaps ask the dietitian to talk about proper seating and feeding of the resident. Ask podiatry to speak on care of the feet. A pharmacy consultant can perhaps address flexible medication times. Also involve the social worker, funeral director, local politician and administrator.

Do you have nurses who are certified in wound care or infection prevention? Include them, too. This way, lots of people make your work lighter. 

Activities can get involved, too, talking about activities and how they involve residents and perhaps their family members in selecting appropriate activities for the specific residents. These session can provide new lessons for consultants too, as the staff know their residents well and can make suggestions to improve the quality of life for those under their care.

Make it fun. Serve refreshments when you can, and more will attend! Oh, and don’t make all of the training at 2 p.m. just to make it easy for the consultants. Juggle the times so all shifts have equal opportunities to attend during their waking hours.