Using Competency Pathways to Support Learning


Debra Wingfield, Manager Education & Technology
Hamilton Health Sciences

Romaine Sheriff, Manager Clinical Practice and Education
Hamilton Health Sciences

Debra’s current role is Manager, Education & Technology and she is responsible for the HHS Staff Libraries, the Learning Management System, tuition funding opportunities for staff and acts as educational liaison for various corporate-wide initiatives.

Her experience as a manager, an educator, an instructional designer, a library advocate, an organization development specialist and an accountant have given her a unique outlook on working in the hospital environment. Her first love is education, and she completed her master’s thesis in education in 2007. Her work was centred on the implementation of online learning at HHS. Since then she has presented on the topic of online learning at several conferences and has even published a book about her experiences.

Session Description:

In response to a budget cut, a team that delivered specialized services, the Vascular Access team, was downsized. As a result, nursing staff were expected to perform the skills of starting and maintaining intravenous lines, as well as drawing blood samples without expert guidance and support. Because the team had been in place for a number of years, 2,000+ nursing staff had not maintained these skills or attended one of the team’s workshops and they needed to be supported in their practice. The skills to be taught were complex and required a combination of theory and hands-on practice.

In 2012, a learning pathway that provided a blended education approach was developed and has been in place for 4 years. The 4 step learning pathway is tracked in the corporate learning management system. It consists of completion of an e-learning module, a 6 hour hands-on classroom session, demonstration of skills in the hospital environment with a preceptor and a final exam (administered in the LMS). There were significant challenges along the way, including continual updating of content and user demand.

The positive support for this learning pathway was so great that other pathways were added, including a physical assessment pathway, a skin and wound pathway, a central venous access device pathway and a soon to be implemented bedside medication verification pathway. Each pathway added has challenged us in new ways. Lessons learned will be presented, along with recommendations for success.

In this session you will learn:

  • what one large organization did to address a complex learning need that occurred
  • some of the issues you will need to consider in moving to a blended learning approach
  • how to gain support for such a large-scale learning change
  • how to select learning that should be delivered in competency pathway format

Audience Level:

Novice, Intermediate

Technology Discussed:

learning management systems; video; low-fidelity simulation