Learning and Professional Development


The mission of the Human Resource Department in Galway University Hospitals (GUH) is to create a quality working and learning environment enabling all staff to reach their full potential and to participate in the planning and delivery of quality patient-focused services. It is the goal of the Learning and Development (LD) function to encourage, enable, assist and promote professional self-enhancement of all staff at GUH to the ultimate benefit of the patients we serve. One of our core values is for our staff to take responsibility for their personal and professional development.


Effective learning and development, leading to ongoing improvements in service delivery, is the means through which we can achieve quality patient and family care. The LD function is committed to providing an informed and efficient resource to the staff at GUH, which will facilitate improvements in the delivery of inter-personal, administrative and professional services to our client group (i.e. patients and their relatives).


LD is approached in a strategic fashion to produce synergies and economies across the hospital’s workforce. An analysis of the training needs of staff is conducted each year. This exercise promotes the linking of training needs to the core business needs and places an emphasis on self-help. It is our policy to elicit training needs, promote on-the-job solutions to skills deficits and to direct staff to seek systems-based solutions to operational and service blockages.


The LD function supports the use of in-house expertise in peer education through its annual Internal Learning and Development programme, and endorses the use of Performance Management as a means to identify individual and team training deficits and solutions.


The LD function evaluates and revises programmes on an ongoing basis, so that relevance and appropriateness of content inform the quality of programmes delivered.



Annual Report for Learning and Development for 2009


2009 was another very busy year for the provision of staff training in Galway University Hospitals and this report summarises the essential data (figures in brackets refer to corresponding 2008 data).


The targets were raised for three of the key performance indicators in 2008 and remained at these levels for 2009:


·        Increase the numbers of staff attending over the targeted numbers for 2007 by 50%.

·        Increase the hours of training to be delivered over the targeted number for 2007 by 50%

·        Decrease the differential between scheduled and ad hoc training over same for 2007



In-House Training


A total of 2,188.5 hours (2,666.5) of in-house training was delivered during the year, exceeding the revised increased projected level by 21.58%.


10,294 (10,666) staff attendances were recorded for in-house training (- 3.49% on 2008 attendances), but exceeding the revised increased projected level by 42.97%.


The level of delivery of scheduled events was only 88% (91.34%) of that planned, a deficiency mainly due to cancellations arising as a result of staffing shortages.


However, when ad hoc (non-scheduled) events are included, the level of delivery of training exceeds that scheduled by 31.4% per month (+ 65.97%) indicating that efforts to improve the level of scheduling each year are bearing fruit.


The target overall satisfaction rating (Level 1 measure) for events was set at a challenging 92% and 95.09% (93.75%)was achieved.


764 (734) internal training events were delivered in Galway University Hospitals in 2009.


The production of a more comprehensive planned and reactive training programme, improved coordination and continuing improvement in centralizing data from the various training stakeholders continue to contribute to the development of staff in GUH.


There was significant input from the Resuscitation Training section, the Medical Manpower department, Risk Management, Technical Services (Fire Prevention), Corporate Affairs, the Nursing and Midwifery Practice Development Unit, the Waste Management Coordinator, Health Promotion, the Clinical Audit Manager and the Clinical Nurse Specialists in Pain Management.


Approximately 61% of the events delivered were broadly or specifically Clinical in content and 39% Non-Clinical.



 AcademicTraining Courses


43 staff (50) received support for academic courses in 2009, a reduction of 14% over 2008. 36 of the staff supported were Nurses and 33 of these were doing Clinical courses while 3 availed of a free Lean Management diploma in the University of Limerick.


The trend in fewer staff requesting/receiving support for attending academic training programmes will probably continue during 2010 (there was a 12.75% reduction in 2007 and a 43.8% reduction in 2008).


A total of 2,437.8 hours (5,419.05) special leave with pay (a decrease of 55.02% over 2008) was approved for the above. This decrease reflects not just the 14% reduction in the number of staff availing of support for academic courses but also the staffing challenges that are rendering support for learning and development more difficult.


The cost of registration for these courses was €171,254.50 (€284,027), a reduction of 39.7%. Over 94.89% of this was incurred in supporting Nurse/Midwifery training (substantially covered by the Free Fees Initiative), and the remaining 5.11% (13.78%) was used to support four Allied Health Professionals, one Medical Laboratory Scientist and two Clerical/ Administration staff members.



Seminars, Conferences and other Off-Site Training


422 staff (540) attended such events in 2009, a decrease of 21.85% on the 2008 figure. There continues to be a very significant reduction in the extent of support for staff attendance at external training events (2008 – 540 staff attended; 2007 - 1,193; 2006 - 1,536).


Registration fees totalling €13,777.50 and £8,707.50 sterling (€27,380 and £6,915 sterling) were paid in 2009 (a reduction of 49.68% (euro figure) and an increase of 25.92% (sterling).


Staff attending these events received a total of 506.96 days special leave with pay (890.77 in 2008). This represents 383.81 fewer staff days.


The accommodation, subsistence and travel costs for 2009 are €11,502.27 and £1,635.00  (€23,604.50 and £1,889sterling), effecting a reduction in spending of 51.23% (euro) and 13.45% (sterling).



Conclusion and Challenges for 2010


When you consider that the monetary savings made for these external events in 2008 (see attached 2008 Annual Report) totalled €261,168.38 and £9,532.79 sterling (excluding staff salary costs), the further significant reductions evidenced by the above measures of training in 2009 indicate that there is a real risk to the continuing professional development of staff in Galway University Hospitals necessitated by the current financial exigencies. Maintaining staff skill levels and associated morale in a climate of such pronounced retraction will prove increasingly difficult.


It will also continue to be difficult to maintain the level of in-house training in 2010 as the demand for training space remains an ongoing challenge.


On a more positive note, the ongoing continuous quality improvements involving all the training stakeholders in the Hospital will lead to a more comprehensive planned training programme and improved coordination.