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Hans F. Hansen

The Benefits of Continuous Learning

This week, I wanted to expand on some of the themes we discussed last week and, in particular, a piece of feedback we received about the Continence Management course.

First of all, we have all heard the expression ‘we learn something new every day’ or ‘every day is a school day’; the real question is, what we do with that learning?  Furthermore, and one of the topics I want to discuss this week, is being open to the learning…

That ‘learning something new every day’ can take many forms – it might be feedback from someone we support (hopefully we are all open to that kind of learning), it could be from a family member or carer or it could be a change in legislation or guidance.  This is precisely why being open to the learning is so important.

Clearly, keeping up to date with changes in legislation and guidance can be tricky, especially over the course of the last year, given that the changes happened so often.  However, when (global) circumstances changed, what did we do?  We changed with it, adapted to the new circumstances.  The sector found all sorts of creative ways to keep in touch with carers, without being face-to-face, and we found lots of different ways of letting everyone know about the “latest” changes to the guidance.  We did things differently because we had to.

Open to the learning…

Learning when there is no other option is one thing, but what about the new normal?

I wanted to share an example based on some feedback we had from a learner using the Continence Management course just last week, because it illustrates exactly what I am endeavouring to describe.

The learner completed the feedback survey at the end of the course; if you have not seen the feedback buttons at the end of each course, please do let us know if there is anything we can do to improve any course – we are always open to suggestions.

In their feedback, they shared that we had included some incorrect information, about a couple of specific things.  So our processes kicked in and we immediately contacted the subject matter experts who supported us to produce the course.  24 hours passed and the following response came in…

The subject matter expert explained that the feedback we had received is exactly why she wanted to support us to produce the course in the first place, as what had been shared was precisely the kind of thinking that the course was designed to change.  

Clearly, I am not including the exact feedback for confidentiality reasons.  However, it does show that the person who completed the course had some pre-conceived ideas about what is considered “normal” behaviour for older people when it comes to continence management but those ideas were out of date.

If we are not open to the learning, then we will, more than likely, try to defend our position.

If we are open to the learning, we might respond with something like “ah, that is interesting, I had not thought of it that way”.  This thinking is encapsulated in a great book called “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.

The third module in Lead to Succeed is “Effective Supervision” and includes a section on “Active Listening” which is a really powerful tool – it takes practice, but it is super useful.  Being open to the learning is similar; it takes practice, but it is super useful.

The power of listening, real listening, gives us the opportunity to learn, provided we are open to it.

Now no one likes to have their thinking challenged, no one likes to find out that what we thought was the absolute truth, actually needs a bit of a rethink!  But this is really the essence of learning. 

So, the next time someone or a system like Click challenges something that you are convinced is something else, pause, be curious, be open, you never know what might happen.

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