Mercy Medical Center implemented HeartCode BLS, resulting in saved training time and costs, more efficient use of training resources, and positive staff evaluations
By Mary Kay Egan, RN, BSN, House-wide Instructor; Mercy Medical Center (Dubuque, Iowa)
Mercy Medical Center consists of two facilities, Mercy Medical Center Dubuque and Mercy Medical Center Dyersville, a small critical access hospital 25 miles west of Dubuque. We have been a Magnet-designated hospital for four years, testifying to our commitment to be a leader in providing healthcare excellence. Of our 1,350 staff members, 800 need BLS certification renewal on a biannual basis. Prior to adopting HeartCode BLS, we had the typical problems that are associated with live BLS classes: significant no-shows for scheduled sessions, regardless of reminders; room reservations that had to be made for every class; never enough classes or instructors to meet training needs, especially last minute; and lots of background work was always required—Schedules, CTC requirements, reminders, supplies, etc.
We transitioned to HeartCode BLS Training and chose to kick off the change by creating some excitement. The implementation was key to the success of the program, and that meant building up interest, setting a positive tone, and showing as many staff as possible how user-friendly the system would be. Several rounds of e-mail reminders were sent reminding staff of our open house, with prizes and refreshments. Not only did we have information in employee newsletters, but we also sponsored a contest to name the adult and infant manikins. As a result, we had a huge turnout for the new program’s launch.
Despite a space issue until this program got a permanent home, we developed a plan of action to meet our certification needs. For Year 1, we started certifying people primarily by departments, with those due first assigned first. During the first six months, we had coaching sessions available almost every day. After that we felt safe in cutting coaching sessions down to only a half day per week. We started the current year assigning people month by month. In addition, anybody due later in the year wanting to certify early was invited. By mid-year we added the assignments for everybody who was due before the end of the year. Next year we plan to create an automatic repeating assignment and put a stop date on the old BLS assignment. Some people just couldn’t make the computer happy with their performance. Our decision was that if the person would have passed a live class, he/she would receive an Instructor Pass with HeartCode. Fortunately, the new software released last year was even more user-friendly, and we have fewer and fewer people who have trouble passing.
Saved considerable amounts of time, cutting training time in half for BLS certification. Where live training averaged 2.5 hours per person; HeartCode took approximately an hour and fifteen minutes
- Received positive evaluations from trainees for the HeartCode BLS training experience
- Gained an easier system for tracking certifications and assigning training, gaining efficiencies in terms of administration time and scheduling, as well as tracking for accreditation purposes
- Reduced its cost for BLS training, to approximately half what was spent previously on coach hours
By January 1, 2009, we have had more than 755 HeartCode BLS completions, and already the time savings are impressive. Now, most students average 45 minutes for Part 1 and need no more than 30 minutes for Part 2. This should decrease even further as people recertify on the system. The time commitment for administration is significantly lower; there are no more schedules to anguish over, no more searching for replacement instructors, and minimal necessity of reminding people either to instruct or attend. As further savings, our instructor hours paid have dropped to about half of what they were previously. Participant evaluations of Part 1 tallied via HealthStream are very positive. Verbal surveys of participants about Part 2 also show that people generally find it to be a very good experience. While a few miss the old means of instruction, most agree they learn more with HeartCode. In terms of performance, we have found that some first timers need a little extra coaching to learn techniques, but most have zipped right through it. In our Peri-Op area, once a few people completed the process, these staff who were "veterans" helped other staff very successfully—they were able to certify 102 people in less than a month. Many actually have done much better than ever before. Our vice president of Patient Care Services did a thumbs up/thumbs down survey when she met with each of her departments at staff meetings earlier this year. Overwhelmingly, the staff gave the program a thumbs up, with the only exception being the first department certified during some initial problems, when our coaches were still in the midst of a learning curve.
“Our vice president of Patient Care Services did a thumbs up/thumbs down survey when she met with each of her departments at staff meetings earlier this year. Overwhelmingly, the staff gave the program a thumbs up.”
- Mary Kay Egan, RN, BSN, House-wide Instructor; Mercy Medical Center (Dubuque, Iowa)