Patient Flow Software Blog

Tips for Training New Staff on Software

Posted by Jo Anne Leonard on Fri, May 20, 2016 @ 04:41 PM


As a Manager, do you feel that you and your staff have been properly trained on software that your department uses on a daily basis? Ask yourself – if your initial training was done by the person being replaced, by a co-worker,  or by reading a user manual in your spare time, do you feel ready to jump in and use the software? How about new staff coming into the department? Do you feel there is a system or training program in place that thoroughly teaches them how to use this vital software?                                                  

Learning a new job can be extremely stressful and trying to learn new software in a timely manner adds to that stress. This often leads to learning the basics of the software and then thinking you will learn the rest as you go. As much as experiential learning is a popular option, there are also some different types of training methods:

  • The New Job: Aside from any company training that is required, the rest of this training can usually be done by observing what goes on in the department.
  • Software Used On the Job: This may be management- or logistical-type software where you probably need to start using it immediately and learn everything you can as quickly as you can.

At PFS, we have often found that there is a new Transport or EVS Manager, supervisor, or even a newly appointed System Administrator of the software (this may include IT) and that these new staff members do not receive the in-depth training necessary to fully understand the software. This person may have been promoted to the position or hired from the outside. Their training relating to our software seems to have been basic at best. The major barrier seems to be finding the time for the training. However, this person may soon become very frustrated and feel that the training only covered the features of the software – not the benefits.   

What is the best means to learn the system?

It is a good idea to use a combination of approaches to achieve the best results: 

  • Training by co-workers or the person being replaced is a good place to start. Take notes and write down your questions as you watch carefully how this person uses the system. Questions to ask yourself: Did this person use the system in the best way possible? How were they trained? Are they giving you a quick overview so they can say they did what they were asked to do, or are they taking their time to go through every aspect of the software as though they were a professional trainer? 
  • Having a user manual on hand is helpful to have to review and make notes on, or to use in a pinch, but unless you get some hands-on time with the software and understand why the software was designed as it was, none of the information may make much sense. 
  • Scheduling time with the software vendor is extremely important, whether it is done prior to or after your being ‘trained’ by your co-workers, or the person you replaced, or anyone else. Once you are settled into your new position, a training session with the software vendor should be set up immediately.

Why Training Sessions With the Software Vendor Are Vital

The vendor has developed the software for a specific purpose and can explain why and whether certain portions of the system will benefit your specific needs or not. They have professional trainers who know the best way to teach. Whether they were former users or have been taught every nuance of the software, they know how to train you.

They also have other users & clients who have helped to design the software to be the best it can be. The vendor, and possibly these other clients/users, are often open to new suggestions to improve the software. The vendor’s trainers are also helpful in getting you in contact with the best users so that you can talk with them and get other pointers from them.

Vendors also emphasize scheduling a convenient time and place where you won’t be disturbed. This is extremely important if you want to be able to focus adequately on the training. Also, (and this is important!) vendors have ‘heard it all’ by those they’ve trained. So don’t be afraid to ask questions!

We highly recommend that if training is covered in your vendor support agreement, that you schedule on-line or in person training for your staff, or suggest this to your manager so that others can benefit from knowing how best to use the system. This is especially important when new versions are released

In summary, keep these key tips in mind for learning software:

  • If possible, don’t allow yourself to only be trained by co-workers or by reading a manual.
  • Make sure you schedule and allow sufficient time(s) to be trained based on the vendor’s suggestions.
  • Make sure you will not be disturbed.
  • Ask questions and take notes.
  • Don’t take your training for granted. Take advantage of the Vendor’s training services!

At PFS, we believe in order for our clients to get the most benefit from our software, a thorough training program is an absolute. We offer several different opportunities for training management and other users of our software applications:Patient Transport System (PTS)and Bed Management (ABC). We offer FREE annual on-site training and/or consulting sessions, as well as FREE live web training throughout the year.  

The training sessions are geared to the type of user involved, and can be for one to several attendees. These sessions can also be broken up into multiple sessions.  Whatever is best for the users - whether they are new to the application or have been using it for a while, they will benefit. We also solicit feedback on issues and potential enhancements. Lastly, we will work with a client to help them prepare critiques for their staff to ensure that they are using the software as they should be.

Topics: patient flow, bed management, patient placement, patient transport, patient tracking, training