U. Kotonen, U. Tuominen, A.N. Maksimainen

Lahti University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
This paper describes the first experiences from a new healthcare logistician educaton (HLE). HLE is a new type of demand-driven and outcome-oriented adult education for logistics positions in healthcare organisations (HOs). It aims to meet the expectations of HOs which have implemented or are planning to implement healthcare logistics (HL) services and of individuals’ working in healthcare logistics. The essential idea the profession of healthcare logistician is to free traditional healthcare personnel from the need to conduct logistics operations, enabling them to have more time for patients and nursing care. Working in the demanding healthcare environment and supporting healthcare professionals in their work requires a new type of combination of logistics and healthcare competencies, skills and knowledge, which can be acquired through specialised training. HLE has been developed in cooperation with private and public organisations and carried out by Lahti University of Applied Sciences. This education is bachelor’s degree level further education consisting of six modules of social and healthcare issues, logistics, team and interpersonal skills development, project work and practical training.

The paper analyses the experiences from a pilot study group. The first study group, 14 students, began their studies at the end of 2013 and graduated in November 2014. At the beginning of the training, they completed a competence assessment survey based on the competence map of a healthcare logistician. The competence assessment survey was repeated at the end of the training to analyse the development of students’ competencies and to develop HLE in the future. At group level, the surveys indicated an increase in competencies in all of the analysed competence areas. The best and the weakest task-based competence areas were the same both at the beginning and at the end of the education period. The interpersonal and personal skills also indicated an increase in competencies but clearly less than in most of the task-based competence areas. At individual student level, there were huge differences in the competence levels both at the beginning and at the end of the training but also in the development of competence areas. In most cases, the competence levels were higher. The differences in development can be explained by the heterogeneity in student backgrounds and their competence level at the beginning of the training. The lower competence levels can be explained by growth of understanding in measured competence areas.

The feedback both from students and healthcare organisations showed that there is a need for this kind of further education. In addition to substance issues, students highlighted the importance of networking, benchmarking, sharing of best practices and peer learning as a part of HLE. Also development assignments and study visits to healthcare organisations were mentioned as good practices. The healthcare organisations were satisfied with the first results from HLE.

The pilot training showed how challenging it is to educate multiple-skilled persons. It is fundamentally important that HLE is carried out in cooperation with trainers from healthcare logistics, but also in deep close cooperation with healthcare organisations. HLE will be developed based on the experiences learned from the pilot training before the next study group starts in March 2015.