By Aaron White, InPlace Software
With healthcare workforce shortages growing more critical, policymakers are considering avenues to significantly expand clinical education programs, and academic institutions with health education programs must prepare for more medical, nursing, and allied health students to meet growing hiring demands — some proposals before Congress call for doubling and tripling health training programs.
The imperative for higher education institutions to integrate on-the-job learning extends beyond healthcare studies. Students and parents are demanding a more defined trajectory from education to employment regardless of the learners’ chosen major.
Exemplified by the healthcare education model of clinical rotations, experiential work-integrated learning — defined workplace experiences included in coursework — is becoming increasingly vital for academic institutions to incorporate into their programs.
But — as any health education administrator can attest — managing students’ workplace learning can be cumbersome, particularly when using traditional, manual processes. Software that automates the many moving parts of students’ workplace assignments can be crucial to an institution’s success for several reasons, while simultaneously better meeting the workforce demands of employers. Here’s how.
Smart technology that manages workplace learning assignments like clinical rotations gives institutions many advantages; for example, InPlace Software handles every step of managing students’ clinical learning, from workplace matching and assigning students, to tracking and grading their performance, and collecting feedback from clinical supervisors. That’s a significant time saver.
There’s much more to gain, though. The software institutions use should do more than reduce paperwork and eliminate complicated manual scheduling methods for students’ workplace learning assignments: It should provide real-time feedback on how well students are applying the curriculum taught in classrooms. It should also provide essential data for determining whether the curriculum includes the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in the workplace. Furthermore, it should provide universities with data on how many students are completing their degrees and landing career jobs in their chosen field — a powerful tool for recruiting and funding efforts.
5 Benefits to Expect from a Clinical Rotation Management Software
Lower costs, greater capacity for work-integrated learning: Automating the placement of students in their workplace assignments brings a significant reduction in the number of staff hours required to operate and supervise any work-integrated learning program, whether it is for students in the medical field, education majors, information technology students, or other fields.
Key performance indicators: Under the old system of managing clinical rotations manually, assessments of student performance on the job are rarely uniformly applied, let alone easily compared or tracked. Assessments from supervisors and from students about their workplace learning experience are often conducted through paper forms or digital surveys, which are difficult to quantify or track. With InPlace, these surveys are automated, digital, quantifiable, and comparable.
Roadmaps for classroom instruction: Good clinical rotation management software also enables key feedback from workplace supervisors on the efficacy of students’ classroom learning: Did the students enter their rotation with the classroom knowledge they need to thrive in the modern workplace? Are there new trends, methods, or tools that students haven’t been taught in the classroom? Feedback from supervisors automatically collected and provided to institutions keeps educators informed of the latest industry changes that may need to be better reflected in classroom instruction. Ultimately, that feedback from student supervisors results in better learning outcomes and more students landing career roles in their chosen fields of study.
Burden-free participation for employers: Universities face a hard sell when seeking more employer-partners for workplace learning programs; managing these programs is historically burdensome for employers (and has offered few benefits). Software that automates the program management removes the administrative demands for employers just as it does for institutions — and it enables employers to keep in touch with the students for future recruiting. These are powerful tools for universities seeking to partner with more employers and expand workplace learning opportunities for their students.
Better data on student outcomes: Tracking where graduates land after they’ve completed their degrees is difficult across all sectors. Software that manages students’ clinical rotations and provides employers with recruitment channels to reach new grads continues to provide benefits long after students complete their clinical placements: British University, for example, yields a powerful tool for recruiting and fundraising, with its InPlace data showing that 63% of its students landed a career job with a health system where they completed a rotation.
More than ever before, higher education institutions must carve out clearer connections from classroom to career, and incorporating work-integrated learning into degree programs is far more manageable thanks to advances in software that manages workplace learning — whether it is for medical education programs or other fields of study.
A great solution should include features like those built into InPlace — features that empower institutions to improve student outcomes and document students’ career placements after graduation — all while improving efficiencies, reducing administrative burdens, and generating valuable data for institutions.
The work-integrated learning model that has historically been the backbone of medical education can be a powerful tool for many higher education degree programs — and with technology in place to manage the program, employers are more likely to participate, resulting in better data and new opportunities for students, workforce managers, and academic institutions.