173835 Crossing organization boundaries: Innovative strategies to develop career paths for frontline health care workers

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 12:30 PM

Roger Bounds, PhD, CHES , Health Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
R. Cruz Begay, DrPH , Health Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
Nancy Williams, PhD, MPH, RN , Health Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
Mark A. Veazie, DrPH , Native American Cardiology Program, Indian Health Service, Flagstaff, AZ
Current efforts to advance the skills and careers of entry level or front line health employees are hampered by two problems. First, employees experience difficulty leaving jobs and families to gain required education. Second, employers lose work productivity when employees must miss work to gain additional education. A promising approach to address these challenges is Accredited Work-Based Learning (AWBL) which involves partnerships between health care employer organizations and educational institutions. The approach uses creative work-based learning strategies to achieve standardized and individual learning objectives that meet both employer needs and academic requirements of the educational institution. The process requires and facilitates system changes in both the employer and educational settings resulting in improved career skills and increase retention in frontline health care workers. Systems changes include offering college credit for work-based learning and working with employers to reward employees for improving both workplace and academic competencies. More specifically, we will describe how common organizational practice can be modified to allow non-traditional approaches to career advancement. Additionally, we will describe a new AWBL program that is one of the first to be implemented in rural areas of the United States and signals a promising new direction for health care as well as for educational programs serving health care organizations. We present a new form of administering health organizations that enables entry-level workers to grow within and for the organization and addresses a common health administration challenge.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this session participants will be able to: 1. identify and discuss Accredited Work-Based Learning (AWBL) 2. describe and discuss the organizational change required to implement Accredited Work-Based Learning (AWBL) 3. describe and discuss Accredited Work-Based Learning (AWBL) as a career development tool for entry-level health care workers 4. discuss lessons being learned as Accredited Work-Based Learning (AWBL) is being implemented in two Native American health care facilities.

Keywords: Health Care Workers, Distance Education Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-principle investigator on the project to be described and discussed.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.