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Explore the Potential for the Living Classroom: (1) Agree on the LC Definition, (2) Determine Operational Viability, (3) Identify the Win-Win Opportunities and Develop Shared Values


Identify the Win-Win Opportunities and Develop Shared Values

The Living Classroom offers many opportunities for both a LTC home and a PSE. Table 4 below presents an overview of the joint opportunities for PSEs and LTC homes embarking on a business relationship.

Table 4: Win-Win Model

Table 4: Win-Win Model

Win-WinLTC HomePSE
Shared ObjectivesOpportunity to hire PSW graduates with the competencies and knowledge ready for LTC.

Opportunity to provide quality of care benefit to residents and their families from new hires trained in a LTC environment.

Opportunity for LTC teams to be leaders and provide mentorship to PSW students.
Opportunity to increase enrollment number of students committed to building a future career in LTC.

Ensure students’ capabilities meet workforce needs in LTC.

Be current with LTC practices and procedures in response to changing resident and system needs.
Shared RealityPotential to recruit from more highly trained graduates with LTC skills/knowledge.PSW college programs come with basic college tuition and grant funding.

LC small class size fits with geographic needs of students and the capacity of LTC homes.
Direct BenefitsIncrease support for team learning by observing and supporting student learning, direct access to learning spaces in the LC and opportunities for mentorship.Opportunity to expand student enrollment to meet changing workforce needs.

Access to environments for clinical learning (both for LC students and other students).

Learnings from the LC can be mobilized into PSE curriculum at other campuses.

Starting the Discussion

With Table 4 as a guide, you can identify your own win-win opportunities that can be gained in a PSE-LTC collaboration. As soon as you have identified your win-win opportunities and shared values, you will have a better idea of which potential LTC home or PSE you would like to invite and engage in a discussion with about starting a LC. Several meetings can be set up so that you can introduce yourselves, discuss the idea of a potential LC collaboration, and assess your compatibility for such a joint venture.

Some of the questions you will want to discuss with potential collaborators include:

  1. Do both organizations feel comfortable with the Living Classroom aims of improving quality through education and clinical learning to prepare a competent workforce in long-term care? What program do you agree to collaborate on, and why?
    Example: The collaboration between Schlegel Villages and Conestoga College agreed to focus first on PSW education before expanding to education of other groups. Experience offering Practical Nursing (PN) at Riverside Glen also made it clear that PN needs more program support and specialized learning resources.
  2. What will both organizations commit towards the ultimate goal of improving resident outcomes? Discuss specific skills, resources, finances and time commitments. Will both organizations invest time and resources to support research that demonstrates the impact of the Living Classroom on resident outcomes?
    Example: In our collaboration, we created a to-do list outlining the major skills, resources, finances and time frames needed and listed who would be responsible for these, and financial resources and in-kind resource committed by each.
  3. How will the Living Classroom foster research and research integration designed to improve care?
    Example: In our collaboration between Schlegel Villages and Conestoga College, we both agreed on the value and importance of research, but also to contain the research agenda initially. Our LC research focuses on development and evaluation of PSW education, optimizing the role of PSWs in LTC, and impacts on resident outcomes.
  4. Do both organizations believe that a collaboration model – between a Post-Secondary Educator and a Long-Term Care home – is the preferred way of working together? Why or why not?
    Example: In our collaboration model, Schlegel Villages ensures that physical space is barrier free and signage meets AODA requirements. Conestoga College ensures that students have all required vaccinations, as well as vulnerable sector police check before coming in contact with residents and families in the LTC home.

Mission Statement

As you can see from the discussion questions above, shared values help define the LC, what the LC can achieve, and how to make it successful. If desired, these shared values can be put forward in a formally stated mission statement.

A mission is the motivator and the driver to any business organization.
It is something to work for and toward. If there is no mission, then there is nothing that binds the collaboration. There is no director, no destination, nothing to work toward. When a mission is created, it should be used as the basis for all decision-making in the collaboration (Rinehart, Tammy, Laszlo, Anna, and Briscoe, 2001).

Sample Mission Statement for a Living Classroom

“The Living Classroom aims to develop a competent and caring workforce for long-term care, by bringing the organizational values and expertise of Schlegel Villages and Conestoga College together, and by locating learning on-site in a long-term care home, as well as integrating learning and practice.”

During our discussion on the LC collaboration, we developed three goals for the LC that built on the missions of the respective organizations to guide development and implementation. A banner hangs in the LC as a reminder of these goals and the mission statements of the collaborating organizations.