By: Mary Ware for Education, Inc.
In any business or organization, the people that make up the team are vital to its success. Hospital administrators, directors, or those in other positions of leadership are likely well versed in that respect and understand the needs and challenges of managing a team composed of a wide variety of positions and types of service providers. Managing a hospital education team, while based on many of the same principles, is a bit different and can often be a source of uncertainty due to lack of awareness around teacher requirements, and the specifics of working within the K-12 educational environment.
Here are 3 major things to consider when evaluating or planning a people management system for a hospital education program.
- Hiring the Right Teachers
There are many characteristics and aspects to consider when hiring teachers for a hospital education program. First, it is important to understand which certifications are necessary (and desired) to ensure hiring of qualified teachers. Parents, families, and school districts want to know that their students are being instructed by qualified personnel.
In addition to certifications, what other qualifications are helpful when hiring teachers for hospital programs? While the answer may vary from site to site, applicants should demonstrate a strong ability to teach students of various needs and ability levels, and to handle challenging circumstances with patience and flexibility. Successful hospital teachers are a unique set, often share many common characteristics, and are carefully vetted to ensure that they will be a successful member of the hospital team.
- Provide On-going Training and Feedback
It is important to provide the opportunity for teachers to engage in on-going training and personal development. Providing professional development opportunities ensures that staff are well-equipped to do their job—and to do so effectively—while gaining helpful insight from industry leaders to continually improve a program. Strong teachers build strong programs, and therefore the entire facility benefits from teachers are given the opportunity to continue learning and gaining new skills.
Feedback is also a critical component of managing an educational staff. Observations, reviews, and meeting time to discuss needs and concerns will help develop high-quality teachers who make a difference in the lives of the students who enters a program. Feedback should be tailored to the individual situation, and should include aspects related to teaching, curriculum, classroom management, hospital protocol, and as well as other aspects of their role as part of the overall team for student-patients.
- Setting High Expectations
A hospital teacher is a direct reflection of the hospital itself, and may be the only part of the facility that members of the public—such as school district personnel or a child’s home teacher—interact with. Teachers must therefore be held to a high standard of excellence, both in academic instruction, and in behavior and conduct. With access to sensitive and confidential information, it is important that hospital teachers conduct themselves in a responsible and appropriate manner, and that they work together with the student-patient’s team toward common goals. Having a systematic way to observe, review, and ensure that educational staff are meeting the criteria will help ensure the stability and safety of a hospital education program.
The right teacher can make all the difference to a child during their hospitalization, and can leave a strong impression on the families and community members they interact with. As representatives of the program, it is vital to the reputation of a facility that the educational staff is high-quality—something that can be ensured through a strong people management system.