You don’t know what you don’t know…Be a lifelong learner!

March 20, 2019 / By Cheryl Manchenton, RN

Happy spring everyone! One of my clients recently made the statement “We don’t know what we don’t know.” I wholeheartedly agree. If only all organizations and team members shared that perspective. How do we promote lifelong learning and how are we lifelong learners in the world of CDI and quality? Several things to consider:

Organizational leaders:

  • Invest in your team’s education.
    Sign up for a bootcamp, schedule an online webinar, etc. And not just as a one-time thing. Knowledge is usually acquired in layers over time. Quality programs, requirements and team members constantly change. How education is provided and how knowledge is shared through various offerings is not the same.  Finally, invite all pertinent staff, not just the team leads. When you staff receives information secondhand, training is less effective. There is no guarantee of knowledge transfer and staff are less invested when they do not attend live. Watching a replay of a webinar, for example, isn’t conducive to the interactive learning process.

Students/team members: 

  • Attend training provided by your organization even if you consider yourself a subject matter expert.
    I recently worked with a client to deliver training on documentation and coding for quality. After we defined the topics and participants,  I was a bit disheartened when the client said certain staff did not need to attend as “they knew quality.”  Really?  Are you 100 percent certain you (or your staff) know “everything” on the subject and that your knowledge is correct?  Congratulations if that is the case, but I find quality can be difficult to understand.  As noted, knowledge gains tend to occur in layers versus a giant data dump.

  • Don’t assume you know it all.                                                                                                        
    When the organization has invested in education, attend the training even if you think you know the topic. You may learn something you didn’t know or learn on a deeper level. I am in awe of the knowledge of others and get very excited when I learn something on a topic I thought I had a handle on.

  • Don’t expect the organization to provide you with all the education you need.
    I subscribe to many websites that offer updates on quality and the healthcare industry. Some articles I skim, others I read and others require me to dig deep. I don’t just read them, however.  I save the articles, including the source for future needs. I also subscribe to CMS and AHRQ updates and 3M HIS Inside Angle, which I contribute to (Have you subscribed to Inside Angle? Look for the subscribe button at the top of this page). I love hearing about official regulatory updates as well as commentary on those updates. I spend time in the maze that is CMS and Quality.Net, finding the answers to most of my questions.  And when I can’t find the answer, I ask for help!

    There is no such thing as a dumb question. Not only will you get the answer to your question, but many times even more.

Join me on the lifelong learning journey!

Cheryl Manchenton is a senior inpatient consultant and project manager for 3M Health Information Systems.