“We considered the main reasons why we needed to train our clinicians, submitted the grant application, and we got approved. Now, we want to be sure to deliver. How do we ensure that we choose the right training,” articulated Deline, the CFO at the HOPE Care Center. Rodis, the consultant, responded, “Well, first of all, congratulations to you all, well deserved. Secondly, you are posing the right question. There are lots of trainings and training providers out there, and the challenge and the question is which is the right one for your agency. There are also several ways to address this challenge and answer this question. First, let us start with identifying how you can tell what the wrong training for your staff could be.”
Yes, lecture-based teaching helped us pass several tests; and yes, it is easier to prepare a lecture-based curriculum than formulate an innovative approach that really makes a difference. But, when it comes to clinicians and delivering what is really needed, a lecture-based training design will just not do it. Our clinicians care for patients and clients with complex lives and complicated mental health needs, and knowing basic conceptual models are necessary. Yet, they are rarely found just through information sharing or lecture-based training. Lecture-based teaching is effective when it comes to passing on information, information your clinicians could simply read from a book, a research paper, Google, Wikipedia, or view on YouTube. However, by the time our clinicians come to us, it is no longer just about sharing knowledge but the translation and application of that knowledge. Information sharing and lecture-based training fail to impart this type of knowledge translation and application.
Absence of a dialogic approach
The dialogic approach or dialogic learning or dialogic teaching is related to the Socratic dialogues, and this emphasizes discussion and dialogue as a powerful learning tool. It is based upon the discovery that learning processes depend largely on the interactions and activities that take place in the learner’s life. Training that uses a dialogic approach takes this into consideration and helps provide tools for your clinicians to continue learning beyond the training experience. If this sounds confusing, you are not alone, and it simply means you need to experience it in order to fully appreciate the unparalleled significance of a dialogic approach. You will then see how any training that does not include the dialogic approach is both the wrong training and also may be a waste of resources for your agency and your clinicians.
Limited time to process
As I mentioned earlier, more than information, our clinicians are in need of translatable knowledge, and much of this depends on adequate information processing. The best way to ensure adequacy in information processing is to allow your clinicians time to process right at the moment, during the training. This all involves a combination of art and science in delivery. Since it is so essential, it is almost impossible to fully benefit from trainings or seminars, unless allowance has been made for adequate time to process the building blocks.
Consider the trainer who either has not practiced clinical care in years, has not treated a patient or client for quite some time, or is relying solely on written content easily available to anyone, or one depending simply on his or her own isolated, non-translatable, esoteric research. If any of this is the case, you have a trainer that is removed, a trainer who, regardless of how much he or she knows or tries, is unable to identify with the audience, your clinicians, because, frankly, he or she just cannot identify.
About a decade ago, I told one of my mentors, “I don’t see myself doing clinical work for much longer time. I will just teach, write, conduct research, train others, supervise and manage other physicians,” to which my mentor responded, “You will remain the most effective and the most efficient by finding a way to stay in both worlds. You will be most effective with your staff, with your co-administrator, and you will be able to identify with the clinicians of your organization.” For over a decade now, these words have been ringing true both in my ears and in my practice, and it has been one of the most important lessons I have learned in mentorship. Next time you have training for your clinicians, ask the potential trainer if he or she still practices. Unless you are “on the ground,” your experience will be limited. I personally can attest to this, as I have lived in both worlds for several years now.
Failure to empower
In a previous article entitled, Training Your Clinicians: 5 Reasons Why, I mentioned empowerment as one of five reasons why it is crucial for us to make training available to our clinicians. I explained also that empowerment encompasses many of the other reasons. When clinicians feel empowered, job satisfaction and career gratification increase, and they are able to think better “on their feet” and make difficult decisions and they continue to grow.
A deep understanding is required for empowerment and such can rarely be accomplished through a lecture-based, traditional teaching seminar, with an absence of a dialogic approach, with limited time to process and with a removed facilitator. Empowerment also encompasses many other characteristics of a great training, and its absence is a good sign that a particular training seminar is the wrong one for your clinicians.
“We considered the main reasons why we needed to train our clinicians, submitted the grant application, and we got approved. Now, we want to be sure to deliver. How do we ensure that we choose the right training,” articulated Deline, the CFO at the HOPE Care Center. Rodis, the consultant, responded, “Well, first of all, congratulations to you all, well deserved. Secondly, you are posing the right question. There are lots of trainings and training providers out there, and the challenge and the question is which is the right one for your agency. There are also several ways to address this challenge and answer this question. First, let us start with identifying how you could tell what the wrong training for your staff could be.”
Rodis started to explore with Deline, the CFO and the rest of the executive team, at the HOPE Care Center, five ways they can tell if a particular training is the wrong one for staff:
(2) Absence of a dialogic approach
(3) Limited time to process
(4) Removed trainer
(5) Failure to empower
Which of these five have been present in your different trainings for staff?
Contact us and let us know how we can help.
Thank you for reading and we look forward to next time.
For more in this series of articles, check below!
Dr. Sidor is quadruple board certified in psychiatry, with board certification in General adult, Child and adolescent, Addiction, and Forensic, psychiatry. He also has additional training in public psychiatry, in several treatment modalities, in addition to his teaching, supervision, mentorship, coaching, and management, experience. Some of his passions are public speaking, leadership, entrepreneurship, and research, in addition to program development and project management. His overall goal is to empower all health care professionals throughout the United States and globally, towards ensuring the continuity of excellent patient care, while balancing the need to take care of themselves. Dr. Sidor is the main instructor for the SWEET Institute, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is also the past-Medical Director for CASES (Center for Alternative Sentencing and employment Services), and he speaks and writes fluently in six (4) languages—French, English, Spanish, Creole, and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese and Italian.
Singer, S. R., Nielsen, N. R. & Schweingruber, H. A. (eds). Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (National Academies Press, 2012).
McKeachie, W. J., & Svinicki, M. (2014). Teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (14th ed.)
Gose, Michael (2009). "When Socratic Dialogue Is Flagging; Questions and Strategies for Engaging Students". College Teaching. 57