The Royal Marsden : Bespoke Qualification

Bespoke qualification for a world-leading cancer hospital

Case Study

World-leading cancer specialists, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust needed a time-efficient way to rapidly develop confidence in relevant cancer terminology among new clinical administrators; balancing the need for learning with the demands of service provision.

The Royal Marsden NHS Trust

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust was the first hospital in the world dedicated to the study and treatment of cancer.  Today, it remains a world leader for its work in cancer research, education and patient care.

Employing nearly 4,000 staff across hospitals in Chelsea and Sutton and a day care unit in Kingston, the Trust supports 50,000 cancer patients every year.

The Royal Marsden won ‘Best UK employer of the year’ at the Nursing Times Workforce summit in 2018.  They continue to be committed to developing the careers of both their clinical and non-clinical workforces.

The Need

Administrative staff play an important part in the efficient running of any organisation.  In healthcare settings, medical administrators can be the link between patients and healthcare professionals and provide vital support to clinicians.

A strong grasp of medical terminology not only helps administrators feel more confident in their role, but familiarity with the language, spellings and meanings help to reduce the risk of errors.

With a robust apprenticeships programme, the Trust was recruiting and training new clinical administrators but had identified a gap in the development of specialist technical language that is relevant in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

Mariyana Gospodinova, Apprenticeship Manager & Interim Head of L&D, explains “a need for a specific oncology terminology course was identified from training need analysis of administrative staff.  The current Level 2 qualifications available nationally didn’t meet the Trust’s needs and don’t provide skills and knowledge needed for staff working in an oncology setting.  It was clear we needed something unique.”

The Solution

A mutual connection recommended McCrudden Healthcare Training; an innovative learning and development company with a proud history of working with healthcare providers and NHS organisations.

McCrudden Healthcare Training sought to understand the pay-off, business needs and performance needs identified by the organisation.

“McCrudden Healthcare Training were very approachable, good communicators. They listened to what we had to say and didn’t push their agenda, taking into account our learning outcomes.  They brought their knowledge of training design and delivery and combined it with our technical and medical expertise, creating a bespoke training programme that really met our needs” adds Mariyana.

McCrudden Healthcare Training understands the value of nationally accredited qualifications for staff working in prestigious organisations and suggested developing a nationally accredited course that was tailored to fit those working in non-clinical roles in cancer settings.

They matched a clinically trained member of the team and a solutions specialist to work closely with the stakeholders at the Trust.  The training provider created core content, a qualification specification, developed an assessment framework and tools, as well as project managing the process of getting the learning accredited.

The Royal Marsden Level 2 Award in Oncology Terminology has a total qualification time of 20 hours and includes four key learning outcomes:

  • the root of core medical terms linked to cancer
  • the meaning of medical terminology relating to body systems and structures
  • terminology linked to the most common types of cancer
  • abbreviations linked to oncology therapies.

The Approach

Medical terminology could be a ‘dry’ subject to learn.  McCrudden Healthcare Training’s core philosophy of making great learning, great fun became crucial in creating a delivery format that would engage learners.

Combining accelerated and experiential learning with neuroscience, the company was able to teach a significant amount of content in a comparatively short space of time.

Knowledgeable trainers delivered the tailor-made programme using techniques that teach more, faster and so that it would be retained longer by learners. Challenges such as ‘at the pharmacy’ and flipped classrooms bought out the creative side of the learners.  One learner even added their own creative content to the session developing a word search to teach their peers.  A tool that was included into the course.

The Results

The pass rate for the programme is currently 100%.  Learner satisfaction for the programme and rating for the quality of materials both sit at 96%.

Learners report having their passion for their role reignited, increased confidence and promotions.

“It is a pleasure working with McCrudden Healthcare Training.  The trainer was both approachable and open to meeting our needs.  The high standard of teaching style is proven from the comments in the learner evaluations”.

The Next Steps

As a result of the success of the programme with apprenticeships, The Royal Marsden is exploring ways to deliver the learning to existing medical administrators.

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