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How to smoothly introduce guidelines

July 29, 2014

For people working in the medical healthcare sector, updating employees and making sure they are all aware of the latest guidelines or legislation changes can seem like a logistical nightmare. However, many legal changes, such as the recent EU needlestick legislation, dictate that employers take all necessary measures to ensure that each and every member of staff has the latest information.

This is often achieved by delivering training to members of staff when they enter the organisation, and making sure this initial education is supported and followed by other sessions in appropriate intervals throughout a professional's career.

It's also important to ensure that accurate and up-to-date information is available to all employees working within every department of the hospital. This is especially integral for those members of staff working in environments in which they are deemed to be at a relatively high risk of hazards, whether these are needlestick injuries or other occupational threats.

These methods are the easiest and most efficient ways to make sure each healthcare worker is aware of the appropriate protocol and procedures to follow in certain situations in their own department in order to minimise the risk they are exposed to, as well as to ensure the organisation is complying with the various pieces of health and safety legislation. 

Key to change
Although it can seem difficult and complicated to deliver comprehensive levels of education, training and support to each member of staff, it is important to ensure that an organisation is in line with the latest legislation and guidelines.

This is made substantially easier by making the transition from the old guidelines to new legislation smooth, but how can healthcare organisations help make the process simpler, while still ensuring patient care is delivered at the highest standard?

Identify barriers to change 
For each individual organisation, the key to allowing a smooth transition towards the new best practice is to identify what the barriers to change are. This may vary from each healthcare setting to the next, but widely speaking; altering the behaviours and processes of each staff member is one of the most prominent obstacles to introducing change.

Awareness of what needs to be altered in a practical sense is an important factor when trying to ensure a smooth transition. Motivation is also a major contributor to helping healthcare professionals adopt the latest practices. These all need to be considered before the deadline for any new legislation approaches.

Equip staff with the right skills
During training it is important to ensure that all healthcare workers have the abilities to carry out the new practice. Although this obviously entails various technical skills, and staff need to have the time to practice any changes in a safe environment, it is also important for each employee to have interpersonal skills and coping strategies. These will affect how easy or difficult it will be for individuals to learn new skills and adopt them. 

Take the correct measures 
In order to introduce new legislation smoothly, organisations need to identify what members of staff will be affected and how this will impact each of them as an individual and when working in a team. It's also important to consider whether extra equipment or practical steps are necessary to bring staff in line with the changes. 

This will help ensure a smooth transition from the old standards to the new best practice and helps support staff through the change period, which can be a stressful and chaotic time for healthcare workers, especially experienced staff.

Related Legislation and Guidelines: