Training in medium-sized HCFs

A policy for the management of healthcare waste cannot be effective unless it is applied carefully, consistently, and universally. Training both medical and administrative healthcare staff in implementing the policy is thus critical if a waste management programme is to be successful.

Objectives and strategy

The overall aim of training is both to create a competent workforce and develop awareness of the health, safety and environmental issues relating to HCW, and how these can affect employees in their daily work. In this respect, highlighting the roles and responsibilities of each category of staff is an important element of success [read more…]

Medium-sized HCFs usually have both a limited staff and a relatively low turn over of personnel. Training should therefore be easier to organize than in large teaching hospitals. In these HCFs, the risks arise essentialy from the lack of follow-up and updating of knowledge (see below).

To facilitate better communication between all categories of health workers, it is recommended that an important part of the training be multidisciplinary. Most health workers need the same basic sets of skills, information and attitudes towards good waste management. Nurses, general assistants and doctors as well as other medical staff can all be trained together in their wards and departments. If training is conducted on the job, it should help reinforce good practice and team work.

Follow-up and refresher courses

Periodic repetition of courses will provide refreshment training as well as orientation for new employees and for existing employees with new responsibilities; it will also update knowledge in line with policy changes. Follow-up training is also instructive for trainers, indicating how much information has been retained by course participants and the likely need for future refresher courses.

Identifying training needs

For HCWM to happen effectively, it is essential to plan that all categories of workers receive the training they need. The training programme at any health facility must target the following staff members: [read more…]

  • hospital management (administration and medical services);
  • health facility occupational health and safety committees and representatives;
  • all categories of medical staff;
  • all categories of non-medical staff with specific attention to general assistants;
  • students who are on placement in the HCF.

Training needs are generally at the level of:

  • Knowledge training is about what health workers need to know such as «knowing» that healthcare risk waste is taken for burying, incineration or autoclaving.
  • Skills are defined as something health workers «do» such as seal a sharps container when 3/4 full. Skills gaps are often related to use of equipment and protective clothing.
  • Attitudes are linked to people’s behaviour. If a person holds a positive attitude to the care of the environment and the protection of health and safety in the workplace then they are more likely to be conscientious about waste disposal.

Collectively, knowledge, skills and attitudes contribute to the type of behaviour that is necessary to sustain the healthcare waste management system.

Interviewing and observing health workers usually enable to pinpoint the knowledge, attitudes and skills gaps quite easily.