We recently posted a tweet linking to a McKnight’s article about a CNA and his mother-in-law being charged with stealing from a resident (see @straightawayhc Also in the News for Wednesday, Feb. 7).
It’s always upsetting to see this type of article. Some of us wonder how anyone could prey on some of the most vulnerable members of society. Others may wonder how the organization could let something like that happen. We at Straightaway wonder if there is anything we can do to keep this sort of thing from happening again.
Can integrity be taught?
A typical approach an organization might take to address an incident like this is to throw training at it. One of Straightaway’s core concentrations is training, but when we look at this particular issue, one question we should ask is, “can integrity even be taught?”
It’s not uncommon for e-learning courses to include an integrity module as part of training, particularly in healthcare education. The notion that some caregivers may have the capacity to steal from their residents begs the question if this is always effective. According to Roger Schank, an e-learning developer, “It’s not possible to teach or train individuals to do things that are not in line with their personalities.”
Schank states the need to hire people to do jobs that align with their personalities. If one believes that integrity is a key personality trait of a CNA, recruiting should be geared toward assessing for that trait. This is something we focus on at Straightaway— ensuring that people going into these professions match the job requirements, not just from a knowledge perspective, but from an emotional perspective as well.
Effectively teaching integrity is a team effort
In contrast to Schank’s beliefs, Hamlin Tallent, President of Dumaresq Enterprises, Inc. once stated that he believes character and integrity can be changed and that, “people can be taught not to act better but to be better.” He believes that helping people change their behavior is the responsibility of an organization’s leadership and that one solution is what he refers to as, “leveraging the power of the group.” What we can extract from that belief is that CNAs within the organization and as a professional group would be intolerant of their peers who do not display integrity.
This aligns with our mission at Straightaway as well: to help organizations support their CNAs to better the level of care that residents receive.
There’s a method to the madness
James Brown, CEO of Experiential Simulations, further supports this idea via his belief that digital simulations can be very successful in teaching integrity. Importantly, simulations are most effective when taught in a group setting. This is so that all those present may observe how their peers act and therefore are expected to act in various ethical situations. To be effective, simulations must be experienced in a group setting so that all those present can learn how their peers act, and therefore are expected to act, in certain ethical situations.
Straightaway is committed to implementing your organization’s values
So, what are our takeaways here? Our initial question was can we at Straightaway do anything to prevent crimes against long-term care residents. The answer is yes. Integrity requires specific tools and methodology to be effectively taught, but it is possible. It’s certainly must easier to train those whose natural personality traits are aligned to integrity, meaning that talent acquisition is key. Once you hire and train the right people, your entire staff must be supportive of this appropriate behavior. Preventing these types of events from happening requires a thoughtful solution that encompasses three key elements: recruiting the right people, training them properly, and providing them with the support they need to embody the behaviors your organization values.
To learn more about our comprehensive staff training and retention solution, CNA Edge, click here to schedule a demo.