Employee Training and Orientation: the Importance of Organizational Culture

It is interesting that there has been so much focus on educating patients to improve healthcare quality and outcomes, yet when is the last time we’ve looked at how we train and orient our healthcare professionals within the hospital environment? Recourse Resource Consulting posed the following question to healthcare quality professionals across the country: “What do you think is the most important topic to cover in new employee orientation?” Of the following ten items, which do you think received the most responses?

  • Accountability and Autonomy
  • Health and Safety
  • HIPAA/Privacy
  • Organizational Culture
  • Person-Centered Care
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Stress Management
  • Teamwork
  • Value and Contribution to the Organization

Almost one-quarter (24%) of respondents indicated that “organizational culture” was the most important topic to discuss. Nearly tied for second place were the topics of “patient experience” (17%) and “policies and procedures” (16%).

Organizational culture is the collective attitudes and behaviors of people who are part of an organization.  It includes habits that guide action. Establishing a strong culture of safety is the foundation to improve quality and patient safety. What are the characteristics of a strong culture of safety?

  • Acknowledgement of the high-risk nature of healthcare
  • Reporting environment without fear of reprimand or punishment
  • Collaboration across disciplines to seek solutions
  • Organizational commitment of resources to address safety

The importance of establishing a strong culture of safety should be emphasized to new employees as well as staff, throughout all levels of the organization, on a frequent basis.

(Information based on Tisdale ED. Lessons Learned: New Employee Orientation Topics. National Association for Healthcare Quality e-news, August 2013.)

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