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Sanford Health: Learning and Development Amid Scalpels and Stethoscopes
Serving four states and 10,000 employees, Sanford Health's Center for Learning &amp; Innovation ensures the medical facility, the largest in the region, is both a place of treatment and training.
Physicians devote a large portion of their lives to education — the road to medical school is a long one, and learning does not end when they earn their diplomas. Although health care organizations, including hospitals, commonly are regarded as places of treatment more than training, a great deal of both goes on in them.
This is especially true at Sioux Valley Health System, which was renamed Sanford Health in February, when T. Denny Sanford donated $400 million to the health care organization.
Sanford Health spans four states (South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota) and employs about 10,000. It is the largest medical facility in the region, providing myriad health care services. Sanford Health’s Center for Learning & Innovation is responsible for educating the entire workforce, as well as developing training opportunities for specific subsets such as nurses.
All the center’s initiatives, however, center on the simple idea that you never stop learning, said Diana VanderWoude, director of the Center for Learning & Innovation.
“Our learning philosophy is about advancing human potential, innovation and transformation through collaborative learning and development,” she said. “We really view ourselves as everlasting beginners. We view excellence not as a permanent state, so we’re ever-evolving, and we’re always becoming as humans.
According to Mark Moir, manager of organizational development at the Center for Learning & Innovation, the learning and development process is as important as the results.
“We really try to take the approach of exploration and discovery,” he said. “In a sense, we feel like that’s where the wisdom lies. We really try to approach things from a very open sense and a sense of partnership. It becomes much less prescriptive and much more collaborative in nature.”
It is in this spirit of collaboration that the center has tackled leadership development across the health system, which is a strategically key population, VanderWoude said.
“Several years ago, with the emergence of our leadership development philosophy, the trend around the country was to keep disciplines separate, to have a physician leadership development effort, to have nursing separate, to have different managing groups separate from one another,” she said. “We just felt that if we’re going to practice in an interdisciplinary way, we need to learn in an interdisciplinary way. That was a key foundational piece to where we are today. We ensure there are multiple angles and visions in the rooms, engaging in collaborative inquiry.”
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