St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital educators crucial during a pandemic

August 13, 2020

Continuing education at hospitals has been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic and St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital’s Education team has prioritised upskilling and fast tracking to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

Educational Services Manager Peter McCarthy has been leading the training program since March which has included fast tracking orientation for new staff and upskilling nurses for intensive care capacity management.

“More than 6000 e-modules have been completed across the hospital with fast tracking of mandatory training so we’re ready should the need arise,” Peter said.

“During the pandemic, it’s been essential to maintain clinical skills and assessment standards.

“We’ve been keeping up with the ever-changing legislation to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe has been our number one priority during COVID,” he said.

Ensuring training is provided to all staff across the hospital is quite an achievement in a 24/7 setting.

“It has been a huge team effort to pull together the mandatory and voluntary upskilling,” Peter said.

“We’ve been upskilling in PPE sequencing with more than 1100 PPE staff competencies completed, trained nursing staff for ICU capacity management and run countless COVID-19 emergency drills.

“From what we’ve seen across the world and now in Victoria and New South Wales, preparation is more important than ever.

“Whether you’re a nurse, an allied health or non clinical staff member, up to date education keeps everyone one safe,” he said.

Hundreds of staff have participated in ward specific COVID-19 drills.

“If COVID-19 patient presented at the Emergency Centre, we have scenario planned how we would move through the hospital,” Peter said.

“As they move we implement a hospital grade deep cleaning behind them.

“If a patient required x-ray, the area would need to be closed and then cleaned – or if a COVID-19 positive patient required surgery, we looked at the extra precautions required,” he said.

As COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, Peter and his team and are continually planning.

“Our biggest challenges in this pandemic are keeping up with the ever changing moments and what the community affect will be.

“We’re flexible with our training and our five educators have worked tirelessly to support our staff as they care for our patients in the safest way we can,” he said.

St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital is proudly part of UnitingCare.