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Upstate AHEC Leverages Blended Learning in Continuing Professional Development

Upstate AHEC is utilizing a blended education model for a portion of its continuing professional development programming to support training for health professionals. The blended/flipped classroom is beneficial because it allows flexibility and ownership in the learning process. Health professionals are able to complete much of the coursework in their own time, at their own pace, without taking time off work to attend a full day or multiple day training. The flipped classroom also encourages participants to be more accountable for the learning process and allows them to move at their own pace as needed. By blending a hands-on lab training with the lecture, participants are able to apply the skills learned in the online lecture under the in-person guidance of their instructor. This reinforces the skills learned and allows the learner to put the new knowledge into practice.

Prisma Health Lila Doyle nursing home, AnMed Health Rehab, and the Greenville County Detention Center in the Upstate have partnered with Upstate AHEC to complete IV certification of their employees via the blended learning approach: the participants complete the online lecture and post-test via AHECU and then attend a 4-hour lab to practice their skills and complete their competency check-off with an Upstate AHEC instructor.

“All of our LPNs must be IV certified to be able to place and maintain IVs in our facility,” explains Callie Urban, BSN, RN, CRRN, hospital educator at AnMed Health Rehabilitation Hospital, “This course provides them with the certification and skills they need to be successful with IVs. The course is also offered to our RN’s who are interested in improving their skills or that have limited experience with IV placement. Our staff that have attended the course come away with more confidence in placing and maintaining IV access. I have noticed a marked improvement in their skills and confidence after I attended the course.” 

Additionally, Greenville County Schools have used the blended learning modality to train their school nurses in tracheostomy care for the children in the school system with tracheostomies. After completing the online coursework and post-test ahead of time, the school nurses completed a hands-on practice and competency check-off during their back-to-school meeting in August. 

Upstate AHEC also works with Bon Secours St. Francis in Greenville to complete their medication administration and vital signs training and assessment of their outpatient staff utilizing the blended learning method. As part of the new-hire orientation week, the employees attend a 4-hour vital signs training and lab check-off at Upstate AHEC after completing the online lecture modules. The new hires then also attend either an eight-hour or four-hour medication administration lab. The length of the lab depends upon the new hire’s previous experience and training in the healthcare field. Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs), LPNs, RNs, PAs, and Nurse Practitioners attend the four-hour training while the radiology technicians, newly certified medical assistants, and unlicensed personnel attend the full eight-hour training day.  

Bon Secours St. Francis nursing professional development coordinator Trudy Ackard, MSN, RN explained the benefits of working with Upstate AHEC for training, “The consortium collaboration provides an avenue between a community-based organization and an area healthcare system, in order to provide an evidence-based blended curriculum and training to the system’s medical group clinical staff. An added benefit is that it introduces the medical group clinical staff to AHEC’s resources and continuing education opportunities to grow both professionally and personally during their healthcare career.”

To learn more about Upstate AHEC continuing professional development opportunities, please visit the Upstate AHEC website.

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