Keeping up with changes in healthcare is a daunting task. Some may say it is impossible to do so. It seems as though we are constantly bombarded with the “new” – new medical discoveries, new treatments, new technology, new rules and regulations, new equipment, new policies and procedures, new expectations, new forms – most of which can require some sort of change on our part.
So how do we stay on top of it all? Let me offer an approach:
Step 1: What do you REALLY need to know?
While it might sound radical, I believe an individual clinician does not need to be on top of it all. Identify the areas of the healthcare sector that are relevant and of interest to you. If you are a clinician, you would want to be on top of changes in your particular field as well as policy, technology and regulatory issues.
Step 2: Who are the experts?
Once the areas are selected, identify authoritative sources of information. Professional associations, foundations, and Federal agencies are generally credible resources as are researchers who investigate your selected areas.
Step 3: Where do the experts share their knowledge?
Explore each authoritative source for the methods and vehicles it uses to disseminate new information. Websites, journals, newsletters, daily electronic feeds, and nursing degree programs are typical formats.
Step 4: How can I access the experts’ knowledge?
Join appropriate professional groups, attend relevant conferences, and subscribe to the information sources you’ve identified as important to you. Most foundations provide their information free of charge as does the Federal government.
Step 5: How do I manage the information influx?
This is the most challenging step of all. I recommend starting by developing a strategy that fits your schedule and lifestyle. One idea is to set aside a certain amount of time each day or determine a certain day of the week where you dedicate yourself to reading and brushing up.
If you commit to the idea that being on top of the latest changes in your selected areas of interest is integral to your practice, and if you follow the first four steps, you’ll develop a mechanism to stay on top of the most important information to you. Also, many nursing degree programs offer training on best-practices and the most current initiatives in their curriculum.