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As remote work and training become more prevalent, employers must offer effective, engaging digital training solutions

Virtually every worker involved in a hospital’s medication circuit is at risk of exposure to a hazardous class of drugs known as antineoplastics. These drugs — also known as chemotherapy drugs — pose serious risks when improperly handled, including reproductive, genetic and carcinogenic effects.

Despite regulations to provide training on safe handling, dangerous skills gaps plague the use of antineoplastic drugs in healthcare

“Not everyone at risk of exposure is getting the training they need,” says Dr. Chun-Yip Hon, associate professor at Ryerson University’s School of Occupational and Public Health (SOPHe). “Because of this, we wanted to develop a free online training module based on all the best practices available, and to provide accurate information for health care workers of different job categories, from shipping and receiving to pharmacy.”

The goal was not just to create a module that covered all the relevant information, but to draw on the technical capabilities available in today’s online landscape to make it interesting and engaging for learners. The future of learning, based on current trends, is digital — as remote work and training become increasingly relevant for employers, innovative digital training tools will be an increasingly crucial part of occupational health and safety.

Filling the training gap with a creative digital learning solution

To accomplish its ambitious training goals, Ryerson’s SOPHe partnered with Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) to develop a series of novel eLearning modules. PSHSA’s approach centres on clearly defining learning objectives and deeply understanding the needs of its target audience. In the case of the Ryerson project, for instance, the information had to target workers at different stages in the medication circuit.

PSHSA specializes in bringing learning content to life through creative training solutions that influence behaviour

One module focused on the correct use of an eye wash station as an emergency measure in case of exposure. “Instead of just asking a question like, ‘How long should you rinse your eyes?’ we developed a virtual interaction where the learner is asked to turn on the tap at a virtual eyewash station and turn it off after the appropriate amount of time,” explains Linda Lorenzetti, PSHSA’s senior eLearning developer, “the thought being that an activity mimicking a real-life situation would be more memorable than a multiple-choice question.”

The highly interactive learning modules resulted in measurably improved learning outcomes and have proven to be a valuable tool in transferring knowledge to the learner. In this instance, the creation of engaging, interactive modules addressed a gap that legislation and traditional learning couldn’t close.

One of PSHSA’s major differentiators is the breadth and depth of knowledge it possesses around health and safety issues, from ergonomics and workplace violence to occupational disease and infection prevention and control. “We have access to a wealth of knowledge that can support the development of virtually any health and safety-related training,” says Glenn Cullen, CEO and COO of PSHSA. “And on the technical and creative side, our learning experts have the skills to bring that to life.”

PSHSA’s range of specialties extends far beyond training in the health care sector to encompass education, government, public safety, small business and other areas. The organization’s pillars — audience analysis and creative and technical expertise — allow it to support clients’ digital learning and development initiatives in workplace health and safety and beyond.

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