There are a wide range of learning opportunities at Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals.
There is a central Trust Training and Development Team as well as educators out in the wards and departments. Staff are supported through education by a wide range of in-house expertise reflecting the diversity of skills within the modern NHS. As a teaching hospital it not only addresses the educational and skills needs of all staff within the setting of their day to day work, but also the training experience of new doctors, nurses and allied health professionals from several universities and medical colleges in accordance with frameworks established as part of the NHS Plan.
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All staff are expected to attend the Trust Induction on their first working day within the Trust. The induction programme is a comprehensive programme for all staff with specialist days for clinical and non-clinical staff to ensure they have initial training and knowledge to undertake their role. A local induction is then facilitated within the department to ensure that new members of staff are welcomed and given departmental information to make the first weeks as smooth and supported as possible.
▶ Lifelong Learning
The Trust is committed to Lifelong Learning. Staff have the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills to ensure that they are competent and confident to carry out their role effectively within the organisation. Further development is available to ensure staff can reach their potential and be prepared for career development and respond to service requirements. The Trust has flexible learning opportunities such as e-learning and work-based learning which gives equal access to all staff in the pursuit of achieving Trust, departmental and individual goals.
The process of implementing Lifelong Learning, and in particular the NHS framework of ‘Working Together – Learning Together’, necessitates that an emphasis be placed upon appropriate skills development linked to Trust priorities. Agenda for Change and the Knowledge and Skills Framework underpin the Performance Development Review process.
The Trust commitment to ‘Improved Working Lives’ also means that Training and Development are seen as fundamental to the rounded development of the individual and essential for a healthy work-life balance through the realisation of work related and personal skills, aptitudes and potentials.
The Trust is proud of its long standing relationships with a wide range of learning and educational providers; these include local further education colleges, such as Brooklands, as well as higher education institutes such as the University of Surrey. Equally a range of developing partnerships include Unison and other providers addressing both basic skills and assisting support grades to climb the skills ladder and to give a sense of direction in future career development.
With this increasing network of partnership, support and involvement, all staff are encouraged to look to their future growth and, together with their line manager, create a Personal Development Plan via the performance and development review process. The plan will reflect the individual training requirements to enable staff to reach their potential but also to contribute to the overall Trust vision and goals. Of particular importance now is the issue of workforce development in partnership with the Strategic Health Authority, part of which is concerned with supporting the learning and skills enhancement of all staff categories with appropriate funding. Ashford and St Peters are committed to implementing a clear plan of equal access and of realising innovation in learning approaches and methods whether this is focused around an NVQ, work-based learning, e-learning or more academic courses.
The Training Department
The main Training Department sits within the Human Resources directorate and provides for all training outside of profession specific activities and career development funded by individual departments. All the courses provided by the Training Department are open to all employees and an electronic training directory is available through the Trust intranet.
Courses typically include:
- Equality and Diversity
- Fire refreshers
- Customer Care
- Health and safety courses
- Manual Handling
- Resuscitation updates
- Management Training
- Presentation Skills
- Communication Skills
- Stress Management
- Interpersonal communication
- Time management
- Recruitment and Selection
- Dealing with Conflict
- IT Training
- Appraisal Skills
Resources for Staff
▶ Education Centres
There are dedicated education and learning centres on each site – the Education Centre located at the heart of Ashford Hospital and the Oliver Plunkett Postgraduate Education Centre located close by the Duchess of Kent Wing of St. Peter’s Hospital.
Both centres receive support funding from the Postgraduate Deanery of Kent, Sussex and Surrey, with additional funding from charitable trusts and benefactors.
The centres provide multi-disciplinary education facilities for the doctors in training, hospital medical staff, general practitioners, hospital scientists, nurses and rehabilitation professionals.
The postgraduate education programme includes seminars, tutorials and study days covering all medical specialties. In addition we provide Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS), Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and GP Intensive training. The Basic Surgical Skills Training (BST) programme is also run on site on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons.
In addition, Ashford is an examination centre for the Royal College of Physicians MRCP Clinical Part II examination (PACES).
Both centres provide comprehensive library and learning facilities in pleasant and quiet surroundings.
The department teams provide a friendly and helpful support service.
▶ Minerva IT Centres
The ‘Minerva’ learning centres are fully equipped with modern e-learning facilities to develop core IT skills for all staff and of allowing for greater learning flexibility.
▶ Health Sciences Libraries
There are excellent Library facilities on both sites providing a wide range of journals as well as books. The library also has a computer suite and offers training on databases and literature searching.
You can find out more on their website at https://education.asph.nhs.uk/ecKS.php.
▶ Clinical Skills and Nursing Development
The Trust has a Clinical Skills Education Manager and provides on-site clinical skills development specific to all clinical staff including, doctors, nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals and has access to a wide range of specialist equipment.
Nurses and midwives also have access to specialist clinical degrees and diplomas which are co-ordinated by the Lead Nurse Practice Development. There are also Clinical Practice Educators in the clinical areas that support nursing and midwifery staff in their development; this may be by offering advice or working alongside them.
Most departments have educational leads who advise and co-ordinate education within their specialist area / department.
GP Training and Education
The Trust is also a centre for GP training and education:
▶ GP Training
We work closely with the GPKSS Deanery, Educational and Clinical Supervisors, other local Programme Directors and the Hospital Trust to produce patient centred, clinically competent General Practitioners, equipped to face the challenge of independent practice in the 21st century.
▶ GP Education
The purpose of our work at Ashford and St Peter's is to share knowledge from specialist staff to the local healthcare community. We hold regular meetings at both sites in the education centres.