PHS eyes training for the future

Monday, November 3, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Pediatric Home Service (PHS) is helping prepare the next generation of homecare clinicians—and possibly future employees, as well.

The provider has partnerships with local universities that provide education and training to prepare students for working in a homecare setting.

“We are trying to prepare students to care for medically fragile children in the home,” said Barb Weisenberger, director of nursing for PHS’s Home Care Department. “We’ve also found once these children go home, they seem to thrive.”

The internships cover a variety of disciplines, including respiratory therapy, home infusion nursing, homecare nursing and nutrition service, and offer firsthand, and in some cases, hands-on experience. For example, students in the homecare nursing rotation receive two days of training and education on vents, infusion services and home medical equipment, and a broad overview of how healthcare works in the home environment. Students also take a simulation lab before they are then assigned to a single patient. Under the guidance of a mentor nurse they are able to perform certain tasks.

“In home care, you have to be really well-rounded because you are doing a little bit of everything, versus in a hospital,” said Weisenberger. “At the end of the experience, they have a very good knowledge of how home care works.”

PHS’s partnerships are on trend with many local nursing programs, thanks to a broader shift in healthcare toward home-based care, she said.

Although it’s a lot of work for the provider to take on students, it is also rewarding, says Judy Giel, senior vice president of clinical services.

“We love doing it,” she said. “I think it keeps all of our clinical staff sharp to bring in refreshing new questions and ideas, so we learn from them—always.”