There are several different ways you can educate and ensure competency in staff members on skills performed.
Skills and competencies can be evaluated in many different fashions. For example, one-on-one observation, quiz and/or test, verbal, simulation, etc.
The first way is one-on-one observation. One-on-one observation is a great way to determine skill level and proficiency in a smaller and controlled environment. One-on-one observation can be intimidating for staff because they feel like they are being watched and will get in trouble if they perform something wrong. One-on-one observation can be very overwhelming and stressful, for both the staff member and the educator/charge nurse. Observation is a great way to correct behaviors and/or skill sets in the moment. Completing initial and annual competencies in this manner can be very stressful for the educator, depending on the number of employees to be completed.
Skills Fairs are a great way for educators to complete annual skill competencies for a large group of staff members in a controlled but larger setting. Skills fairs tend to be much more laid back with several different talking points throughout. Skills fairs tend to be a one-stop-shop to get all annual competencies completed in one session, versus several attempts of one-on-one observation for separate skills check offs.
As an educator, I choose multiple different avenues to complete my initial and annual competencies on my employees. When COVID hit, I switched over to strictly one-on-one observation to minimize exposure to others and to allow social distancing. In 2022, I went back to competency checks offs at Skills Fairs.
When employees think of Skills Fairs, they think of boring, dull, non-stop being talked to about a new policy. Skills Fairs, to me, should be educational but also fun at the same time. This year was Mardi gras themed, since it fell during Fat Tuesday; we had decorations, beads, candy, and lots of great educational opportunities. Making a theme to go along with your Skills Fair goes a long way with perking up low employee morale, increasing employee engagement, and employee buy-in for new and/or changing policies.