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Where To Start: A Guide To Creating Your Custom Training

So, you’ve committed yourself to the task of setting up and building a repeatable training program that your practice can use every time it hires someone new. That’s great! Set training programs are a wonderful way to streamline the training process while also ensuring that nothing is missed during the training process. So, if it’s so great, why do you look so scared? 

Ok, we get it. It can be overwhelming. After all, you need to organize your existing materials, create new training materials, and search the web for existing training. Once you have done that, you have to figure out how to structure and distribute all of these training materials. 

To avoid hyperventilating, we recommend taking this whole thing one step at a time - 7 steps in fact:

1. Conduct a Training Needs Assessment

Begin by assessing the specific training needs of your veterinary practice. Consider factors such as the size of your team, the complexity of your services, and the roles new hires will fill. Key training areas to evaluate include:

  • Clinic Operations and Policies: Cover basic policies, procedures, and protocols, such as dress codes, work hours, confidentiality agreements, and emergency procedures.

  • Core Veterinary Knowledge: Include essential concepts such as anatomy, physiology, common diseases, and medical terminology.

  • Technical Skills Training: Focus on equipment operation, diagnostic tools, and record-keeping software.

  • Client Interaction and Communication: Address customer service skills, effective communication techniques, and handling difficult situations.

2. Design Comprehensive Training Modules

With your training needs identified, you can design comprehensive modules that cover all necessary topics. Each module should be clear, structured, and interactive to maintain engagement and promote understanding. If you are planning on using an LMS then we recommend using this step to map out what your modules will consist of so that you have a clear picture of what you have and what you need. 

An LMS, like Pyxis Pro, will allow you to combine multiple pdfs to create complete modules, so knowing what documents are already in your possession will speed up the entire process.  

Consider these tips when designing modules:

  • Outline Learning Objectives: Define what each module aims to achieve, providing a clear goal for new hires.

  • Use a Variety of Formats: Incorporate text, images, videos, and hands-on activities to cater to different learning styles.

  • Integrate Real-World Scenarios: Use case studies and role-playing exercises to help new hires apply their knowledge in a practical context.

3. Implement Effective Assessment Tools

Assessment tools, such as quizzes and practical tests, are valuable for gauging the effectiveness of your training program. 

Much like the last step, Pyxis Pro supports skill assessments and quiz creation, so we recommend adding notes to your map that show where you want these assessments to appear and what you want them to cover. 

To ensure your assessments are effective, consider the following:

  • Develop Comprehensive Quizzes: Create quizzes for each module that test a range of knowledge, from basic facts to applied understanding.

  • Provide Detailed Feedback: Offer explanations for correct answers and guidance for areas where improvement is needed.

  • Encourage Self-Assessment: Include reflection questions that encourage new hires to assess their learning progress.

4. Leverage Technology for Training

Technology can play a significant role in organizing and delivering training materials. A Learning Management System (LMS) offers a centralized platform for managing content and tracking employee progress. When selecting an LMS, consider these features:

  • Content Organization: An LMS should allow you to structure training materials into modules, with the flexibility to update content as needed.

  • Automated Assessments: Look for an LMS that supports automated quizzes and grading, saving time on manual assessment.

  • Progress Tracking: The ability to track employee progress through the modules can help you identify gaps in training and adjust accordingly.

  • Collaboration Tools: Some LMS platforms include collaboration features, allowing new hires to interact with trainers and colleagues.

5. Build a Comprehensive Resource Library

In addition to structured training modules, create a resource library where new hires can access supplementary information and reference materials. Some LMS platforms will allow you to upload and store materials outside of the module structure (yes, Pyxis Pro does this). This library can include:

  • Veterinary Literature: Books, journals, and research articles on various veterinary topics.

  • Clinic-Specific Resources: Manuals, checklists, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) relevant to your clinic.

  • Industry Guidelines and Regulations: Links to industry-specific guidelines and government regulations to ensure compliance.

6. Establish a Mentoring Program

A mentoring program can enhance the training experience by providing new hires with a designated point of contact for guidance and support. Here's how to create an effective mentoring program:

  • Assign Experienced Mentors: Select experienced team members who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about mentoring new hires.

  • Set Clear Expectations: Define the role of mentors, including responsibilities for providing guidance and offering feedback.

  • Schedule Regular Meetings: Encourage mentors to meet with their mentees regularly to discuss progress, answer questions, and offer advice.

7. Schedule Regular Training Reviews

Training is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and improvement. Schedule regular reviews of your training program to ensure it remains effective and up to date. Consider these steps when conducting training reviews:

  • Gather Feedback from New Hires: Ask new hires for feedback on their training experience to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Update Training Materials: Make necessary changes to training modules, assessments, and resource materials based on feedback and industry developments.

  • Reinforce Training Through Refresher Courses: Offer refresher courses to all employees to reinforce key concepts and ensure ongoing compliance with clinic policies and regulations.

Not So Bad, Right?

Breathe, you’ve got this! Organizing a comprehensive training program for new veterinary hires involves careful planning and continuous evaluation but it’s nothing you cannot handle. 

By conducting a thorough training needs assessment, designing structured modules, incorporating effective assessments, and leveraging technology, you can create a training program that fosters learning, engagement, and retention. Establishing a resource library, a mentoring program, and regular training reviews further ensures that new hires receive the support and guidance they need to succeed in your veterinary practice.

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