Training in small HCFs

Awareness and training within small HCFs has the same overall aim than what is sought after in larger institutions: 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.

Training in small, often remote, HCFs can't easily be carried out on the job but will have to be organised at a regional level, during monthly or quarterly regional meetings. These gatherings offer good opportunities to learn new techniques but also share personal experiences in the most appropriate ways of managing healthcare wastes.

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

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.