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HPOG Promising Practice: Cook Inlet Tribal Council - Partnership; Education, Training, and Support Services

Published: July 9, 2020
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Promising Practices

Anchorage, AK

Soft skills training is the key to healthcare employment in Alaska.

Healthcare employers in Anchorage, AK, look beyond test scores when hiring entry-level employees. The demand for new hires with interpersonal and soft skills is on the rise. Employer partners of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council Health Profession Opportunity Grants (CITC HPOG) program in Alaska stated a clear need for entry-level employees to demonstrate such skills. Initiative and a strong work ethic are highly sought-after traits, yet they are often hard to find in the incoming local healthcare workforce.

In 2019, CITC HPOG hosted a stakeholder outreach meeting to bring together education and training, employer, and third-party partners. The goal was to align the curriculum taught by CITC HPOG’s education and training partners and the needs of local healthcare employers.

The meeting had a range of participants from the chief executives of large hospitals to the nurses and certified nursing assistant (CNA) leads who work with and mentor the new employees. In addition to curriculum revisions, employer partners of CITC HPOG expressed a greater need for entry-level employees to demonstrate stronger interpersonal and soft skills.

After the meeting, CITC HPOG and its contractor, South Central Area Health Education Center (SCAHEC), debriefed about the best way to address employer concerns. Together, they created training objectives for a new course called Professionalism in Healthcare
(PIH) training. The CITC HPOG team tested the program with their own staff before rolling it out to participants. Employers, trainers, and third-party partners joined the test program, allowing CITC HPOG to further tailor the curriculum based on their feedback.

The first series of PIH trainings rolled out in March 2019 as part of the already-running HPOG PATH Academy. PIH training happens over the first two days of the PATH Academy, which allows participants to explore different training programs offered by CITC HPOG to find one that best fits their needs. This gives participants the chance to grow their skills throughout the week. The PIH curriculum is broken into modules covering topics such as work ethic, teamwork, communication, expectations, and accountability. PIH also addresses how time management, finances, mental and physical health, and self-care can affect participants at work.

Teresa Novakovich, South Central Area Health Education Center (SCAHEC) Health Education Coordinator and Program Assistant, was instrumental in the development of the PIH curriculum.

PIH teaches participants why work ethic and acting in a professional manner is critical in the healthcare workforce. It demonstrates what professionalism looks like in accordance to their dress, language, communication, and behavior. Participants learn soft skills and get the opportunity to practice through role play activities.

–  Teresa Novakovich, South Central Area Health Education Center (SCAHEC) Health Education Coordinator and Program Assistant

This Promising Practice was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

Last Reviewed: July 9, 2020