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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust revolutionises rapid deployment of online learning along with increased compliance

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STH) is one of the UK’s largest, busiest and most successful NHS foundation trusts employing approximately 16,000 staff and 500 volunteers. It provides a full range of hospital and community services for people in Sheffield, as well as specialist care for patients from further afield. 

The Challenge

In 2011, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was using the NHS centralised ESR/OLM which did not facilitate local recording and centralised reporting of training and neither were volunteers’ or other ‘non-staff’ profiles able to be set up. Where ESR was used, it was insufficiently flexible to maintain different profiles for the same staff groups and job roles with very different training requirements across the various directorates. Consequently there wasn’t a single system in place for getting accurate information on who had completed training reported to managers or the board.

Following deployment in 2012, STH harvested the potential of Totara in managing their mandatory training needs. They had been able to set up individual profiles for both staff and volunteers, unique to their roles. Local areas could set up, record and deliver training which enabled the Trust to raise its centrally reported compliance to over 90% within 18 months of implementation.

In terms of ‘day to day’ learning administration, Totara has enabled STH to set up centralised reporting of any locally planned, managed and recorded training activities. As they can also give access to external users, the volunteer coordinators are able to manage volunteers’ training in the same system. Additionally, staff groups with the same job role who are employed in different directorates can have different training requirements allocated to them, so for example, staff working in a directorate with patients under age 18 can be set up to require a higher level of safeguarding children training.  This fine tuning promotes efficient use of staff time avoiding an imprecise untargeted approach to training.

The next challenge was that STH needed to roll out training solutions for both professional and legislative requirements in many other areas. For example Laboratory Medicine had many specific updates for their staff: midwives needed training in epidurals as well as training required for such conditions as pressure sores and dysphagia. There was also a demand for implementing bespoke training solutions for foundation doctors. Prior to Totara this meant contracting with external e-learning developers or purchasing e-learning which may not have quite met STH’s requirements. This had both a cost and time constraint for it to be implemented. 

The Solution

Harnessing the underlying Moodle functionality of Totara, STH was able implement a 'rapid' online learning solution to meet the demands. Training material was easily added to courses by the subject matter experts. Multiple choice quizzes were quickly set up with the ability to report in great depth. Courses were enhanced with YouTube videos within Totara. Rather than courses becoming a pass/fail 'one visit' affair they were becoming the place for staff to return to for up-to-date information and resources. Some of the courses became more sophisticated with staff uploading assignments, having discussions within forums and getting Institute of Leadership and Management Qualifications.

As one learning coordinator stated, 'Our mentorship update, which is an NMC requirement went live within a week of conception. It involves video, resources, checklists and everything needed to make nurses compliant.'

The final icing on the cake is these courses can also have a feedback module added to it which automates the statistical analysis of any feedback so that trainers can instantly tweak the courses to make them better fit the needs of the staff.

Totara has revolutionised mandatory, statutory and safety training, and along with rapid deployment of online learning at STH, is improving efficiency by saving staff time and providing evidence for the board on how well the directorates maintain compliance. - Alison Hales, Deputy Head of Learning and Development, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Results

Totara enables everyone to quickly access e-learning, their own profile and compliance reports from anywhere in the world on any device.  This has benefited people who want to undertake developmental e-learning, for those wanting to complete e-learning whilst travelling from site to site on the shuttle bus and for staff working away from a Trust site. Totara also makes it easier to provide access before people start their face to face induction.

The ability to flexibly manage who requires which job-specific essential training (JSET) topics supports further efficiencies of staff time. Significant numbers of staff regularly move between wards and roles, and consequently their JSET requirements may change. There is not the capacity or knowledge to manage this centrally in a timely manner however local educators can maintain and supply these changes to the central team in a format that can be regularly and easily managed.

Totara facilitates transparency of information so individual users, educators, subject specialists, managers, directors and the board can all access reports from at a level appropriate to their role. Access to both overview and detailed information has supported educators to plan training and managers to manage the compliance of their staff.