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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: L. Pat Hoidal, RN, MPH (Creighton University)
Description: The book provides a comparison of traditional training programs to using educational efforts in a broader sense focusing on outcomes. It contains a significant number of case studies to demonstrate the broader impact focusing on outcomes can have to the overall success of the organization.
Purpose: It is designed to provide healthcare executives with an overview of staff training and education strategies to help leaders make informed decisions about program priorities. The book addresses the need of leaders to understand the impact education and training can have on achieving the organizations goals. The need for leaders to understand the value of human resource development in a service industry is paramount, but often takes a back seat to capital and new program expenditures. The author presents a strong case for the contribution that can be made by investing in staff development. The book clearly addresses both the high level rationale used by top executives and the measurement of outcomes to justify the "transformational" approach outlined in the book.
Audience: The book is aimed at healthcare executives. In my judgment, it is written for all levels of leadership in an organization from supervisors to top executives. It could be used in graduate level studies effectively. Although a number of the examples are targeted at the operating room, they are presented in such a way as to be applicable to any clinical area. The author is a known and respected writer and educator in the area of staff development for many years. Her books are widely used in practice and in teaching settings.
Features: The book covers the interrelationship of job performance, learning initiatives, and business goals in healthcare. It provides a comparison of traditional training and continuous learning systems and includes a discussion on leveraging technology. One case study demonstrates how continuous learning can realistically evolve the organization into the highly skilled process of think tanks. The book is laid out in sections such that the reader can choose to read about the theory and then move to the case studies. The index allows readers to pick and choose how they wish to move about the book without losing train of thought. The use of diagrams and pictorial models is limited, although the narrative is sufficient to articulate the idea.
Assessment: This is an easy to read book and as an experienced educator, I found the layout valuable as a textbook. It would be an easy read for a top executive to understand the salient points and find easy to understand clinical examples of how staff development could be valuable to the organization. It is one of the few books I have seen that allows the top executive to understand the theory and measure the outcome without getting bogged down in the detail. The book is interesting, timely, and well written. It is an outstanding contribution to the field of outcomes management.