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6 Questions: Online Competency-Based Fundamentals of Healthcare Program at SNHU

Post Date: 08.28.2020

6 Questions: Online Competency-Based Fundamentals of Healthcare Program at SNHU

The DSRIP Statewide Investment Competency-Based Training Program aims to build the competence and confidence of the frontline healthcare workforce in order to improve the capacity of these workers to perform most effectively within team-based care models. MassHealth via Commonwealth Corporation and through a competitive procurement is partnering with Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America to deliver their existing Healthcare Management Fundamentals Certificate program to individuals who work at MassHealth Community Partner Organizations. Completion of the program equates to 30 earned credits, which can be applied to other Associate or Bachelor degree programs at Southern New Hampshire University or transferred to other colleges or universities.

This year, the Coaching Connections newsletter was developed by Mary-Ann Roberts, CommCorp’s Senior Program Manager of Competency-Based Education Coaching Services as an additional resource for students who are participating in program. Here are six questions with Mary-Ann:  

1. Tell us about the Coaching Connections newsletter. What were the goals of starting the newsletter? How did you develop the content for the newsletter each month? Where do you go for resources?

The Coaching Connections newsletter was developed as an additional resource for students who are participating in the DSRIP online, competency-based fundamentals of healthcare management certificate program at SNHU.

2.What were the goals of starting the newsletter? How did you develop the content for the newsletter each month? Where do you go for resources?

The goals of creating a newsletter were three-fold. I chose a newsletter format because I knew that as students who were juggling work, family, and school they were busy. I wanted something that would be organized, consistent and easy for them to access. This format allows me to connect to students via email all at once to give them updates, share news and let students know that even though they are enrolled in an online program and may feel isolated, that they are not alone. The newsletter format also allowed me to provide students with easy to access, useful resources that would help them develop their skills as students.

Each month I choose the content loosely based around an academic theme. I also listen for areas of concern when I am coaching students and try to address those areas with resources I think might be helpful. Working with college students in various capacities for the past 10 years, I have been exposed to a variety of resources and I often draw on that exposure to choose resources to share with these students. I also ask students for their favorite resources, study tips and/or ideas to share.

3. How did the Coaching Connections newsletter change or adapt because of the pandemic to the current needs of the people who receive it?

The main change was sharing out resources around COVID-19 and self-care. The newsletter gave me an opportunity to offer words of encouragement to students during this difficult time, as well as to encourage them to make sure they were taking care of themselves. As frontline healthcare workers the students were not only dealing with all the disruptions and changes everyone else was, but they had the additional stress of being on the frontlines during a pandemic. The newsletter presented an opportunity to allow me to acknowledge their very difficult positions and provide an additional layer of support for them during these unprecedented and challenging times. This was a good tool to get my message across without burdening them with additional meetings, phone calls, etc. when they were already feeling overwhelmed.

4. What are the challenges you faced in making changes to the newsletter? How did garner feedback and adjust what you were doing for maximum impact?

There really were no major challenges to making changes.  The only change I made was to shift some of the content to adapt to the students’ current circumstances. At this point, all my feedback is anecdotal. When I’m coaching or connecting with students I ask them for feedback.

5. What have been the outcomes since making any changes?

I was not setting out to make any changes other than to provide additional resources that students could access. see quotes

6. What advice would you give others that are providing this kind of coaching or assistance to people currently in training programs on how to adapt and innovate their program to best meet the challenges of today?

My advice would be to listen to your students and allow yourself the flexibility to make changes/react/pivot according to their needs.