by Tracey Humphrey, Clinical Training Manager for Caring Homes Group
Caring Homes Group understands the critical role that nurses play within social care and recognises the importance of providing training and development opportunities that support our nursing colleagues in delivering high-quality person-centred care as well as in achieving their own personal career aspirations.
That’s why we are delighted to be working in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to promote and support lifelong learning for our nurses. Our learning agreement, signed at the end of July 2019, represents a framework for us to work together to provide ongoing training and development for RCN members and other colleagues working through Caring Homes Group, including both employed and agency staff.
The national agreement is the second of its kind for the RCN and sets out how we will pool our resources and expertise to provide our colleagues with effective and lifelong learning. It includes a 12-month learning plan, RCN learning representatives, a learning committee and learning resources.
As the Clinical Training Lead for Caring Homes Group, I have been responsible for spearheading the partnership because having gained experience as a learning representative within a previous company, I understood the benefits it would bring for our nursing colleagues, the people we support and care for within our homes and services and our organisation as a whole.
With over 400,000 members, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world, promoting the interests of nurses and pioneering professional standards for their education, practice and working conditions. Our partnership provides a stamp of quality for our nursing colleagues and highlights our commitment and investment as an organisation in the learning and development of our people.
Providing facilitated access to RCN resources and opportunities
Our colleagues will be able to access a wide range of RCN learning resources and opportunities including having access to free publications, events and conferences. This will enable them to keep up to date with the latest best practice approaches, supporting them to keep their skills current, evidence their continued professional development and bring new innovations in practice into our services for the benefit of those we care for.
On-the-ground Learning Reps
We will now have employees who are specially trained as RCN learning representatives within our homes and services to facilitate learning opportunities. This will provide our nursing colleagues with a dedicated point of contact who can sign post training, organise learning opportunities; provide advice on learning pathways and support them with any personal obstacles to learning. At the end of July, we had 14 learning reps already in place and we will continue to expand their presence throughout our services.
As an organisation, learning reps will help us to gain a better understanding of the training and development needs of our colleagues, helping us to identify what training will be of the most benefit while also shaping and influencing the courses we provide, based on their identified needs. Learning reps will also play an important role in supporting continuous improvement by taking part in best practice groups and sharing learnings that help guide our policies and processes.
Raising the profile of a nursing career within social care
As an organisation we are already part of a Community of Excellence made up of over 100 employers recognised through the Princess Royal Training Awards for creating lasting impact by successfully linking skills development needs to business performance. Through our partnership with the RCN we aim to highlight our commitment to ensuring our nursing colleagues have training and development opportunities that enable them to have a rewarding and fulfilling career within social care.