Title: New Knowledge and Virtual Learning –Transitioning To A Digital Future
The ongoing global pandemic has had an enormous impact on the nursing profession, particularly as it relates to nursing education, virtual learning and disseminating the most up-to-date evidence-based best practices in an accelerated timeframe. These substantive and enduring changes have caused a fundamental restructuring in the way we communicate with nurses and staff. As the largest public health system in the United States, New York City Health + Hospitals was among the first and hardest-hit healthcare networks to address the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and created a robust digital strategy to cope with the challenges presented by the pandemic. This presentation will use specific examples established by New York City Health + Hospitals to address the challenges implicit in the crisis, including implementing a new Virtual Deployment Team for recruitment and deployment of additional nurses and specialists; creating a “fast-track” virtual credentialing program; and developing a virtual orientation and educational program for all new staff. The presentation also will address how our system converted existing nursing orientation procedures and materials to online training, as well as developing specialized COVID-19 training materials, based on the updated information provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and using our new virtual capacities to rapidly and efficiently publicize the latest evolving information about the disease to our nurses and staff. As part of these efforts, nursing administration partnered with information services and human resources in developing an external web portal to allow for off-premises access and thereby providing a convenient, centralized and self-paced system allowing nurses and staff to complete required coursework from anywhere, and at any time. Nursing administration also partnered with our Supply Chain team in creating a special COVID-19 PPE Monitoring Tool to ensure that personal protective equipment was actively monitored on each shift, and replenished as needed. The techniques developed in the earliest days of the crisis have been refined and expanded as part of the Test & Trace Corps, helping us reach out to the communities most affected by COVID-19 to help slow the spread of the disease; we also have used robust virtual training to rapidly communicate information and education on the approved COVID-19 vaccines to nurses and staff. Another major effort has involved utilizing technology to support staff wellness and resiliency, through the creation and application of more than three dozen system-wide online training programs. These virtual sessions comprise 17 unique curriculums to enhance the understanding of physical, emotional and psychological factors that come into play during times of stress and trauma, and to improve staff competence in how to manage emotions and support others during crisis situations. The implementation of this sophisticated online learning technology has caused a sea change in how we handle education and training for nurses and staff, and we are continuing to improve and elevate our essential competencies in this area as we move into the digital future.