Behind the Scenes | Friday, March 8, 2019
Train the Trainer Celebrates 15 Years
About 15 years ago, SGNA was about to embark on a journey to change the way people thought about endoscopy reprocessing.
It started as an idea for an Annual Course session. Medical companies came to SGNA asking whether they wanted to partner on a reprocessing course. SGNA Associate Executive Director of Clinical Affairs Cindy Friis, Med BSN RN BC, says we thought it would be a good opportunity to teach people about proper reprocessing methods, and jumped at the opportunity.
A task force was created in 2002. Friis wrote the original outline along with other SGNA members, including Jim Collins, BS RN CNOR. They began to talk about reprocessing, proper training and infection prevention. It dawned on them this shouldn’t just be a one-and-done event.
“At the time, there were a lot of questions regarding endoscopy reprocessing,” Collins said. “We wanted to be the front runner of this education to provide a safe environment for nurse managers and educators.”
The first Train the Trainer took place in Westmont, Illinois, in February 2004 and had 22 attendees. The excitement was palpable.
“Everyone was so excited to be there,” Friis remembers. “Honestly, the attendees were so enthusiastic and so happy to be one of the firsts.”
The Evolution of Endoscopy Reprocessing
Infection prevention has always been important to GI nurses. But as technology changed—and as concerns over high-profile infections grew—it became an increasing worry to those in the field.
Collins says in the 1990s, there wasn’t enough understanding among facility managers and the general population just how important infection prevention was. Inside the GI unit, the urgency of infection prevention was there, but there was no standardized way for staff to learn proper endoscopy reprocessing.
While some courses were available through vendors, new regulations and standards started making those increasingly unavailable.
“This course was developed because there was not any sort of course like it available—easily available—to staff at this time that wasn’t vendor-related in some terms,” Collins says. “We know that our vendors provide valuable education within the workplace, but accreditation agencies moved toward institutions having trainers on site and competency performances by the facility staff—not by the vendors.”
Taming Train the Trainer
Friis says the first Train the Trainer was designed to be a full-day course aimed at nurse managers only. They wanted to take a holistic approach away from the ways vendors taught it—instead of focusing on the product, they wanted to focus on the processes.
It started out relatively simple. The course had a few main focus areas that kept close to SGNA’s core standards. Over the years, though, it became a popular event. Friis recalls it going from something focused on just nurse managers to including many walks of life from the GI unit. At one point, they had so many people interested in it, they had to close off registration early. This led to the course not only being offered during Annual Course, but independently as well.
“It might be a little different now, but we’re always using the SGNA guidelines and best practices,” Friis says.
Back in 2008, Ann Herrin, BSN RN CGRN, was attending Annual Course when she went to the training. Herrin—who is now an instructor for the course—says the information was on point with what she needed as a charge nurse at a specialty procedure.
Ten years later, Herrin says she’s seen the program grow leaps and bounds.
“Train the Trainer has evolved with changes to ensure GI nurses and techs are aware of specifics, and refer them to device-specific instructions by the manufacturer,” she says. “I remember being so amazed at what I didn’t know, and at the passion of the trainers. I remember being able to ask my questions at the hands-on portion without any fear of sounding stupid or naïve.”
The Future of Train the Trainer
Train the Trainer has a lasting legacy for many reasons. Not only is it one of SGNA’s most popular events, it has raised awareness across the country on how important infection prevention is.
“It’s so important and it’s still relevant,” Collins says. “Four years ago, papers started coming out about multidrug resistant infections. That’s what keeps me going – it’s not a dead subject that is dormant. Individuals still have to ensure their practice is in line with the best standards.”
Herrin agrees, saying as equipment and technology continue to change—and new infections pop up—it makes this course even more valuable. She says proper training and continuous overview of practices are essential in the GI field.
“SGNA and Train the Trainer looks at process, at steps, and can guide our members through our standards, expertise and love of GI to excite them,” she says. “We keep it fresh with the best up-to-date information.”
Friis agrees. She and other SGNA members hope to expand the scope of Train the Trainer in the future, but as of right now, she says the course speaks for itself.
“Programs come and go when they live out their usefulness. While people are still coming, we’ll still continue to offer it,” she says. “It’s probably one of the most rewarding things we can do as an organization—knowing something you helped get off the ground has the sustainability to continue and help people across the country.”
Join your GI/endoscopy colleagues for an upcoming Fall Train the Trainer Course on October 12, 2019 at Elmhurst Hospital in Elmhurst, Illinois. For more info and to register, click here.