Learning, teaching, coaching, training, rearing, tutoring are all synonyms for educating. Whether it’s teaching our children to ride a bike or read a book, coaching or mentoring a colleague, training new staff or retraining current staff, everyone everyday imparts knowledge to others in some way. My favorite definition of education is:
The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
Certainly, as an educator myself, I hope that with each webinar or seminar I give I am successful in imparting the knowledge I have on the use of disinfectants so that my audience can acquire the ability to reason and stand firm on the decision they have made with respect to their choice of a disinfectant. This is also why I am so passionate about ensuring we develop a training program that ensures our staff have the knowledge and competencies to do their job. If they do not, we all lose. As a manager, we lose because our staff are under performing. Our staff lose because they do not have the resources to effectively do their job. Our clients (students, patients, etc) lose because they are now exposed to potentially dangerous pathogens that can make them sick or worse, kill them.
We CANNOT expect our staff to know how to correctly use the products and tools to do their jobs unless we TEACH them how to use them. Certainly in some aspects of our life, such as learning to walk or talk or in my case learning to swim (my mother quite literally “threw” me in the pool as was the rage for teaching babies when I was 4 months old), the concept of THE SINK OR SWIM SQUAD can be an effective learning process. For driving, practicing medicine, ensuring public safety through public health - and I dare say for using cleaning and disinfecting chemicals - a formal, comprehensive and reproducible education system needs to be in place. Isn’t that the concept behind Young Drivers of Canada or the myriad of Medical or Public Health Schools around the world? Why then is there not a Healthcare Environmental Services School?
If you refer to my I golf; therefore I am a golfer blog from February 2012 you’ll see that I spoke to this exact topic and laid out the foundation for what I think are the crucial areas that all staff using cleaning and disinfectant products need to be taught. This still holds true for me now. In fact I have seen the results myself when this type of training is incorporated. When you have a staff that have been trained to clean with a detailed process and then have them communicate it back to you and demonstrate how to do it, you can save lives. Knowledge is power. Let’s impart our knowledge so our cleaning staff have the power to do their jobs effectively.