1. Smith, Mary Lou PhD, RN

Article Content

The Team of Teachers is an approach to identifying education resources within the organization and recognizing and retaining talent among all hospital departments.


At Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock, AR, a "Team of Teachers" was formed to identify the education resources within the organization. There already existed a full-time nurse educator for each of the major specialties: medical/surgical, critical care, women's and children's, perioperative, and rehabilitation nursing. However, the size of the facility required that more teachers be available to assist with education-related projects.


Initially, the team was composed of all the educators plus others who had been willing to help in the past. The list included nonnursing and nursing employees. The next step in developing the team was to encourage all members of the Education Council to join and identify others in their departments who were willing and capable. At this time, there are 50 members on the team.


To become a member of the Team of Teachers, a person must complete a form that identifies the specific topics that he or she is able to teach. Also, the person indicates preferences such as "teach small groups" or "willing to do skills check off" in the event that he or she is uncomfortable with large audiences in a formal setting. The person's department and telephone number are listed so that he or she can be easily contacted if his or her expertise is needed for an education event.


Every person who volunteers to be on the team is accepted. Before agreeing to participate in a teaching activity, however, the person must obtain approval from their immediate supervisor to be sure that participation does not interfere with their regular duties.


The purpose of the Team of Teachers is not just to identify staff to help with teaching projects but also to recognize talent within the organization. There are many employees who do not have a title of educator but have skills that are extremely valuable in the overall education process. Those employees are pleased to be included in the planning and implementation of training programs and appreciate the opportunity to contribute. Retention of these key employees is another important aspect of the Team of Teachers.


Another benefit of having a structured Team of Teachers is to have a speakers' bureau already established in the event that guest speakers are requested by the community. Because Baptist Health Medical Center is one of the major healthcare facilities in central Arkansas, it is seen as a source for information on a variety of topics. Having the speakers identified along with their topics is very helpful when a request is received. The future goal for the Team of Teachers is to have at least 100 members by the end of the first year of implementation. By including talent from all departments in the hospital, there is a broad range of topics and ongoing opportunities for many staff members to contribute to the training needs within the organization and community.