The ability to think clearly and solve problems is a vital skill for healthcare employees, regardless of position or title. The decisions that frontline employees make can have an immediate impact on the efficiency of the unit, the quality of care received by patients and their families, and the reputation of the healthcare organization… and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Employees with strong critical thinking skills are well-informed and more flexible in their approach to daily work. They understand how to gather relevant information and when to change direction, which is essential in an on-your-toes healthcare setting. Strong thinkers and problem solvers also know how to identify issues and proactively implement solutions to avoid costly mistakes.
When HCAHPS surveys show opportunities for improvement, leaders turn to several places for insight before taking action. By looking at specific questions and targeting the roles responsible for them, improvement teams can target role-specific employee engagement survey results. When conferring with floor and team managers, individual performance reviews may produce some candidates for learning and skill development.
In any case, healthcare employers never fail to draft improvement plans – these usually include learning seminars which address topics such as:
- Understanding the steps in the problem solving process
- Determining the root causes of problems
- Using critical thinking skills to improve decision making
- Practicing the key skills of analyzing, evaluating and reasoning
With a healthcare-specific curriculum, frontline employees can learn to think more independently and be open to new perspectives. Most importantly, they develop a deeper understanding of their potential impact on patient satisfaction. And a well-informed, independent frontline workforce means more time for managers and directors to spend on taking other areas of performance to the next level!