Why is staff training important in health and social care?
Staff training is crucial in health and social care organisations. Employee training helps to uphold high-quality care standards while ensuring the safety of health and social care workers and service users.
In this article, Dr Richard Dune discusses the importance of staff training in the health and social care sectors. He will also explore the impact of well-designed training programmes on the overall performance of health and social care services.
Importance of staff training in health and social care
Staff training is critical in health and social care. It helps ensure the safety of both providers and recipients, maintaining a high standard of care quality. Adequate training helps instil the essential attitudes, behaviours, skills, and knowledge required to deliver safe, person-centred care. It equips caregivers to take appropriate measures to prevent potential risks and respond appropriately should they arise during care.
Insufficient training can increase the likelihood of minor and major errors, putting individuals at significant risk of harm. Well-designed and delivered training programmes enhance care quality by enabling staff to communicate more effectively, manage behavioural challenges, and work towards achieving the desired outcomes for each individual.
Benefits of health and social care staff training
Effective staff training has a ripple effect, positively impacting regulatory compliance and staffing levels within care services, as explained in the subsequent sections.
The following are some of the benefits of staff training in health and social care settings:
- Meeting legislative and regulatory requirements
- Developing staff knowledge and skills
- Ensuring a safe working environment for staff
- Ensuring the delivery of safe and effective care
- Supporting staff to meet professional standards
- Creating a positive workplace culture.
Meeting legislative and regulatory requirements
In addition to its impact on care quality, staff training is a regulatory requirement for registered health and social care providers. Prior to commencing work, all staff must undergo a comprehensive induction process and receive a basic level of appropriate training. In England, most providers utilise the Care Certificate as part of their induction process and mandate that staff complete the relevant statutory and mandatory training.
Additionally, regulations stipulate that staff receive specialised training for specific activities or to provide care to individuals with particular needs, such as using specialised equipment. Beyond the Care Certificate and mandatory training, regulators expect all care staff to possess fundamental core skills.
Developing staff knowledge and skills
Staff training plays a vital role in addressing the significant challenge of staff retention in the health and social care sector, which often needs help attracting and retaining qualified personnel. In addition to offering recognition and clear career paths, staff training can be a critical tool for retaining top-performing staff.
Furthermore, staff training can help create a sense of professionalism that sometimes needs to be improved in the health and social care sectors. It can equip staff with the skills and knowledge required to perform their job effectively, reducing stress and boosting job satisfaction. It is well-known that staff training can help attract new applicants, highlighting the importance of investing in staff development and progression as part of recruitment and retention.
Maintaining a safe working environment for staff
Regardless of the business type, accidents or health issues can occur. Maintaining a safe working environment for staff is crucial. Health and safety regulations and guidance mandate that staff has a secure working environment. Everyone must be accountable for their actions.
Statutory and mandatory training helps individuals acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their duties safely, minimising the risk to themselves and others. The training may also pertain to specific equipment or devices used in particular roles.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 mandates employers to safeguard their employees' health, safety, and well-being. The legislation also requires employers to evaluate the risk of violence towards their employees and implement measures to mitigate the risks, including relevant training and development. Health and social care workers often face the risk of work-related conflict, aggression, and violence while performing their duties.
Many healthcare professionals experience physical or verbal abuse from the individuals they care for, as well as from their relatives or members of the public. Employers must implement measures to prevent conflicts and violence in the workplace, including offering training on complaints handling and conflict resolution.
Delivering safe and effective care
Delivering safe and effective care requires organisations to establish processes and guidelines tailored to their specific services. Some guidance may apply to all staff members, such as infection prevention and control and hand hygiene. In contrast, others may be specific to certain roles or the people receiving services, such as child protection or people moving and handling.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the regulatory body responsible for workplace health and safety in England, Scotland, and Wales. The HSE investigates instances where organisations fail to meet their legal obligations. For example, investigations into accidents in care homes have revealed that severe injuries are frequently caused by improper use of equipment, often due to inadequate policies, procedures, and training.
The Francis Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Enquiry (2013) recommends that every NHS organisation provide training on speaking up and raising concerns about safety and clinical care. Consequently, whistleblowing has become mandatory training for all health and social care organisations.
Supporting staff to meet professional standards
Supporting staff to meet professional standards is another crucial aspect of statutory and mandatory training. Many areas covered in such training assist staff in meeting professional standards set by various organisations, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), General Medical Council (GMC), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), General Dental Council (GDC) and the Skills for Care Code of Conduct.
All the professional and regulatory bodies place duties on health and social care professionals to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) in their practice areas as a condition for registration.
Creating a positive workplace culture
Creating a positive workplace culture is another crucial aspect of training health and social care staff. Some organisations include courses in their required training to develop their staff's skills in building good working relationships, such as equality and diversity, human rights, dignity, privacy, and agreed working methods. These courses promote a fair and respectful working environment where staff feel supported and safe voicing concerns.
Staff and managers can have a sense of job security and satisfaction that comes with access to high-quality training, including feeling confident that their skills are up-to-date. While there is no data on the effects of statutory and mandatory training on staff morale, studies by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) indicate a clear connection between confidence and training.
Surveys revealed that those working in high-morale workplaces had more positive things to say about training than those in low-morale environments. In most cases, health and social care managers are enthusiastic about promoting training to enhance standards and boost morale.
Supporting professional standards in practice
Supporting professional standards in practice requires collaboration between HR/compliance departments and line managers to review the mandatory training lists in the workplace. It is essential to consider how mandatory training assists staff in meeting their professional standards.
For instance, the NMC Code sets standards in four domains, namely:
- Prioritise people
- Practice effectively
- Preserve safety
- Promote professionalism and trust.
Similarly, other healthcare and social care professionals must adhere to the standards outlined in their respective codes of conduct, such as the GDC, HCPC, and GMC. Health and social care support workers must follow the Skills for Care code of conduct and local contractual obligations outlined in the Care Certificate.
Promoting a positive culture in practice
Promoting a positive culture in practice requires the HR/compliance departments to work with departmental managers to review the statutory and mandatory training subjects. One way to begin is by selecting a few relevant courses and assessing how each one can help to:
- Create a safer working environment
- Improve service delivery and outcomes
- Promote a better workplace culture.
It is also critical to obtain feedback from employees and managers, including concerns about the quality of content or delivery methods, employees' complaints about having to do "unnecessary" training, and managers who prevent or do not provide their staff with opportunities to complete statutory and mandatory training.
Health and social care workforce development
Workforce training in health and social care is a multifaceted and intricate process that varies depending on the type of care provided, an individual's job responsibilities, and the care setting in which they work. Statutory and mandatory training is a crucial component of workforce development. Staff training helps to meet the necessary statutory requirements and the expectations of regulators such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Care Inspectorates (Wales and Scotland), or Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), as well as local authorities.
Health and social care statutory and mandatory training programmmes cover a range of topics, such as health and safety; fire safety; equality, diversity, and human rights; infection prevention and control; manual handling of objects/people moving and handling; safeguarding adults/safeguarding children; basic life support/first aid at work; food safety/food hygiene; safe handling of medicines; documentation and record keeping; mental capacity and deprivation of liberty (DoLS).
It is important to note that all health and social care staff training links with the CQC’s new single assessment framework. The CQC key questions and quality statements (evidence) highlight the areas that inspectors examine to determine whether the care provider meets the necessary standards.
Health and social care blended learning solutions
We have discussed the key benefits of health and social care staff training. It helps to deliver benefits such as safe and high-quality care, enhanced recruitment and retention, and compliance with laws and regulations. However, traditional face-to-face training is often expensive, time-consuming, difficult to manage, and disruptive, with potential shortcomings in its effectiveness.
Blended learning solutions offer health and social care organisations flexible training options. Such solutions provide face-to-face training for practical course elements, while other components are delivered through online courses, offering greater flexibility and convenience for staff.
eLearning has emerged as a more cost-effective and efficient training method for the health and social care training method. Studies indicate that eLearning requires 60% less employee time and can be started, resumed, and completed anytime and anywhere, minimising disruption to the care service. E-learning software also utilises various training methods, including interactivity and virtual reality, making training more effective and personalised.
Furthermore, eLearning solutions offer better value, as there are no fees for trainers, workshops, travel, or accommodation. The Mandatory Training Group provides learner licenses that can be passed on, enabling the reuse of existing licenses with new recruits and further reducing costs.
Staff training is vital to the success of care provision in the health and social care sector. In today's demanding care environment, nurses, health professionals, and support staff need up-to-date knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality, person-centred care to their patients and service users while maintaining their own safety and well-being.
Click here to see online courses and resources to help your organisation train your health and social care staff.
About the Mandatory Training Group
The Mandatory Training Group is one of the leading UK providers of CPDUK-accredited statutory and mandatory training, continuing professional development (CPD) courses, eLearning software and workforce development solutions for all sectors.
By making things simple and designing interactive e-learning content, we can provide meaningful training programs at all levels and enhance the capacity and resilience of individuals and organisations.
Click here to see our wide range of accredited health and social care courses and training programmes.
About Dr Richard Dune
Dr Richard Dune is a leading health and social care governance expert. Throughout his career, he has worked in various settings across the UK, including NHS Trusts, research and development, academic institutions, and private companies.
His work primarily focuses on developing, deploying and evaluating technologies, such as clinical decision support systems, educational technologies, workforce development and regulatory compliance solutions.
Dr Dune regularly writes about topical issues affecting the UK's health and social care sectors. Additionally, he speaks at conferences, stakeholder workshops, and professional forums. Dr Dune is also a research fellow at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire in the Research, Development and Innovation department. His other passions include content development, education, and coaching. Click here to read more articles by Dr Dune.
Related blog articles
Click on the links below to read more articles from our team:
References and resources
Care Inspectorate Wales (2023) - Care Inspectorate Wales.
Care Inspectorate Scotland (2023) - The Care Inspectorate.
General Dental Council (2023) - GCD.
General Medical Council (2023) - GMC.
Health and Care Professions Council (2023) - HCPC.
Health and Safety Executive (2023) - Why is health and safety training important?
HM Government (1974) - Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
HM Government (2013) - Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry.
National Institute for Health and Care Research (2023) - NIHR.
National Institute for Health and Care Research (2023) - NIHR.
Nursing and Midwifery Council (2023) - The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates.
Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (2023) - RQIA.
Skills for Care (2023) - Code of Conduct.
Complete the form below to find out how we can help your organisation with regulatory compliance and governance, statutory and mandatory training, continuous professional development, learning management systems and educational technologies.