Crouse Hospital Uses Employee Performance and Learning to Enhance Professional Development



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When your organization’s mission is to provide the best in patient care and promote community health, professional development is essential to delivering on that promise. Crouse Hospital in upstate New York took its professional development program to new levels by using symplr Employee Performance and symplr Learning to manage employee professional growth and to launch its Professional Nursing Pathway.


Using talent and learning management systems to great effect   

Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, New York, runs the first and largest outpatient surgery program in the central part of the state, and is the first hospital in New York to be designated a chest pain and heart failure center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Crouse was using symplr Learning and recently started using symplr Employee Performance—realizing tremendous benefits using the solutions alone and in their integrated state—according to Sarah Peterman, talent and learning management systems administrator for the hospital. 

Taking employee performance to new heights  

In the event the hospital is asked to retrieve files for review by state regulators, it can simply display all scanned files and documents online via symplr Employee Performance. There’s no need to manually pull information and transcripts from various locations, such as the file room and departmental file cabinets. At the same time, staff can easily run a custom-built report showing employee competencies by organization, department, and title. Plus, within symplr Employee Performance, HR and managers can drill down into departments to view average scores by competency and pinpoint where targeted education resources are needed.  

symplr Learning also makes it possible to assign computer-based learning (CBL) or a live class to only those employees who need to attend, ensuring that an entire department is not attending training unnecessarily. The symplr solution also saves on costs and time associated with the continuous adjustment of staff schedules.  

Automating employee performance appraisals with symplr Employee Performance ensures managers no longer must track appraisal dates. symplr Employee Performance automatically sends self-appraisals to the right employees at the right time. In addition, Peterman and her team can quickly report on certifications when applying for grants or reimbursements. The hospital also scans all continuing education credits staff earn and uploads them into symplr Employee Performance so employees, managers, and HR can easily gauge compliance with state laws.  


Streamlining on-the-job learning  

Numerous other staff and administrators throughout Crouse also see symplr Learning as a tremendous asset. Fo example, the hospital’s educators can quickly and easily add classes and record and report on attendance and results. Administrators find the dashboard easy to use and enjoy streamlined access to all needed information and features.  

“We especially appreciate that symplr Learning is tailored to the healthcare industry and our employee population,” Peterman said. “Rather than create new courses, our education department can simply access existing courses geared toward healthcare. Moreover, they can integrate records from other systems, so employees have a single transcript. We can automate and integrate so much using symplr Learning that it alleviates a significant number of tasks,” she added.  

According to Peterman, symplr Learning’s flexibility is a game changer for the hospital. Before its implementation, administrators processed and kept track of a great deal of paper and folders related to employee professional development. The former process involved paper transcripts and handwritten class rosters—and thus was time-intensive when it came to filing and retrieving those documents.

The previous learning management system also lacked pre-built content and did not make reporting easy, which made it a challenge to track and manage professional development. That’s all changed with symplr Learning in place. Now, the hospital easily records classes that employees complete, creates and tracks education-related records, and generates reports on demand. If, for example, an individual is supposed to complete a CBL by a certain date, HR can inform department managers who then follow up with the employee.  

Integration between symplr Employee Performance and symplr Learning allows Crouse to instantly see courses taken and scheduled while looking at an employee’s performance appraisal. It also makes it possible for managers to easily add or remove an employee from classes as they are discussing the employee’s annual performance plan.  

In addition, many classes that were previously delivered in-person are now done online, freeing up classrooms for other uses and minimizing the need to print handouts. Crouse can even minimize in-service training, such as around Ebola and personal protective equipment, by recording a video and assigning it as a CBL for employees to complete on their own time. All of this translates to tremendous time savings, allowing staff to focus on other responsibilities.  


Serving staff needs outside the hospital walls  

Via the hospital’s HRIS feed, Crouse’s employees can access symplr Learning to track their continuing education credits—even from home. As Peterman explained, such access enables Crouse’s contracted employees and home-based employees, such as transcriptionists, to complete learning tasks. It also provides employees who don’t have an office to complete important education in quiet, comfortable surroundings.
Even college students taking classes via Crouse can track their progress via symplr Learning. “We hire quite a few nurses once they graduate from local colleges and it’s terrific when they don’t have to retake a course and are already familiar with our learning management system,” said Peterman. 



  • Managing and tracking continuing education 
  • Struggling to easily launch and roll out new professional development programs



  • Enhanced employee performance management 
  • Streamlined class development and learning process
  • Improved creation and tracking of continuing education 
  • Gained robust reporting system 
  • Enabled smooth rollout of new professional development pathway

Gaining a solid foundation for professional development   

When Crouse Hospital recently introduced a clinical ladder for registered nurses (RNs) called the Professional Nursing Pathway (PNP), the integration between symplr Employee Performance and symplr Learning turned out to be a huge bonus. While an internal committee had developed the mission and objectives for the program—comprised of about 100 pieces of paper—it had struggled with how to execute and track progress.

The committee had proposed publicizing the program via emails, internal publications, and departmental meetings, and planned to print application and verification forms for each department and HR. However, it had not considered reporting or how to deal with outdated printed copies.  

When the hospital’s HR department was approached to bring structure to the rollout and program, Peterman realized they could use symplr Employee Performance and symplr Learning to make the process easy for RNs, their managers, and HR. Using the integrated solutions along with single sign-on made it possible to address what would have otherwise been an onerous, manual process.  

Using symplr Employee Performance and symplr Learning, Crouse can easily offer and manage CBLs and provide electronic versions of PDF forms, like the PNP program handbook. It can also incorporate the PNP process into the performance appraisal process and run reports to see program enrollment and participant status. RNs can accrue points toward the PNP by teaching classes, and through symplr Learning, Crouse can track this and easily calculate points earned toward the PNP credential.  

Moreover, Crouse can automatically send out reminders to managers and nurses about upcoming due dates. It can also send out congratulation letters once an RN completes the program, which signifies that the nurse has earned a new designation for his or her work badge.  


Tapping into integration and a true partner for measurable benefits    

The solutions make building blocks for development plans, like job descriptions and competency plans, easily accessible. Plus, once we define a career pathway, we can assign it to many employees. And we can validate course completion all in one system,” said Peterman.  

Moreover, Peterman and the hospital’s managers appreciate that symplr takes their feedback into account as new solution features and updates are being developed. “Providing tools to help our managers to work smarter rather than harder is my aim, and symplr makes that possible. We see symplr as a partner not a vendor because they truly enhance their solutions to help us address our needs,” concluded Peterman. 



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