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Maintenance Technician Training with Rod Allen
Rod Allen, system director for plant operations with Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla., provides strategies for implementing online and traditional training.
System Director, Plant Operations
Lee Memorial Health System
Fort Myers, Fla.
What are the key characteristics you look for in an online training program?
We want to make sure the content is applicable to our environment, it needs to be easy for technicians to access and use, and it cannot be too time consuming – one hour or less.
Can you talk about your area-maintenance approach and its impact on training?
Having a technician take ownership of an area helps them realize personal strengths and weaknesses. Different areas of the hospital often will request their respective technicians during inspections and in-service situations. Technicians also will seek out training they can then take back to others in their areas.
How do you ensure veteran technicians can attain the computer skills necessary to complete ongoing training?
We are providing laptops and encouraging use through closing work orders and having access to the energy-management system. They also work with younger technicians to take advantage of their computer skills. The situation is reversed when veteran technicians educate younger technicians on more traditional equipment.
This is where ownership comes into play. If there is a request for a temperature change, for example, the technicians are required to do it themselves. They want to show they can do it, providing them with a sort of self-satisfaction.
What role do vendors play in training technicians?
Vendor training is invaluable as long as they don’t use it as a sales pitch. Vendors help technicians by offering assistance in troubleshooting their product and providing component information.
It’s also helpful in improving overall operations when the technician understands the function of a contractor in a given area and understands a malfunction that may be applicable to the job the contractor is performing.
Can you talk about training requirements for an advanced technology you recently introduced?
We recently introduced laptops for all technicians with a work-order system that allows them to tie work orders with assets and preventive maintenance. These are small, 10-inch computers the older technicians were reluctant to use at first. But once they saw the younger technicians using them and realized that they were not only a timesaving tool, but a physical-step saver, they were more amenable.
They could check for work orders coming in real time, rather than having to travel across the hospital to check a computer screen in the shop or plant. In addition, they are able to manipulate a valve from the laptop, again saving a lot of walking and time.
They also use a is a self-paced, module-type program that teaches code requirements of a heath care facility. Technicians can work at their own pace, review material, and take tests in a comfortable environment. I require them to do this on their own time so they can learn without outside distractions.
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