Atlanta, GA,
13:57 PM

Shepherd Center Launches Online Training for Clinicians Across the Country

The hospital’s NeuroRehabilitation Learning Institute offers interdisciplinary professional education to support treatment of complex neurological conditions such as brain and spinal cord injury.

Few things are as complex as providing excellent care for brain and spinal cord injury. Advancements move quickly, and healthcare providers must stay up to date on the latest breakthroughs and new therapies to ensure they are providing the best medical care. For patients, the quality of care often depends on where they live and where they can – or will – travel for treatment.

To improve access to clinicians with expert knowledge in treating these injuries, Shepherd Center’s NeuroRehabilitation Learning Institute will launch online training programs in January 2018 to provide ongoing continuing education at reasonable costs. Interdisciplinary teams of experts from Shepherd Center – one of the country’s top spinal cord and brain rehabilitation hospitals – will teach courses via a web-based learning management system (LMS) to clinicians who enroll.

“In the United States alone, there are more than 4.5 million people with some form of disability from brain injury and 450,000 with spinal cord injury, but only a relatively small number of these individuals have medical providers with substantial knowledge to provide the quality of care that allows them to live life to the fullest,” said Diane Johnston, MSPT, director of professional education at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. “We want to improve the quality of life, not just for Shepherd Center’s patients, but for anyone with a complex neurological condition. That’s why we launched the NeuroRehabilitation Learning Institute.”

Shepherd Center’s LMS hosts an online interdisciplinary professional education program providing continuing education credits to healthcare professionals. The LMS will feature a host of courses spanning brain and spinal cord injury and learning plans. These include a review course of 21 learning modules to support nurses who seek certification in rehabilitation and a Provider’s Guide to Spinal Cord Injury geared to home health providers. In the spring 2018, a Provider’s Guide to Brain Injury will also be available.

The LMS features both live webinars and webcasts, and it will soon add resources, such as problem-solving tools, to help providers apply their lessons when they are working with a patient. The LMS is available at

“There’s a high specificity of care needed for patients with brain and spinal cord injury,” Johnston noted. “And they return to the healthcare system at different points throughout their lives. It’s incumbent upon healthcare providers to have the most up-to-date level of education possible, and historically, finding these educational resources has been very challenging.”

It can be especially difficult for patients of Shepherd Center when they return to their hometown after discharge from rehabilitation in Atlanta.

“We’ve heard from families, and we’ve seen firsthand, that many of our patients often need healthcare providers with more education in serving patients with these types of injuries and the related complications that may occur when they return home,” Johnston said.

A patient at Shepherd Center may have 10 to 12 healthcare providers with different areas of expertise involved in their rehabilitation care. That means hometown providers need to understand a vast amount of material from an array of disciplines to effectively treat that patient. That is why the interdisciplinary nature of Shepherd’s LMS programming is essential. Providers who access the courses will be learning from physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, recreational therapists, dietitians, nurses and nurse practitioners.

The goal of the LMS programming is to help hospitals and other healthcare organizations by improving the knowledge and skills of their staff, which can reduce patients’ medical complications, result in shorter hospital stays and lower rates of hospital readmission. In addition, by offering courses in specialized skills, the LMS can improve the quality of care for patients at their home trauma center before they’re transferred to a facility like Shepherd Center to begin rehabilitation.

“Many people who sustain a brain or spinal cord injury are people in the prime of their lives,” Johnston said. “If we can affect the quality of care they receive to help them improve so they can return home after rehabilitation and possibly get back to work, have a family and do all the things we all like to do, then we’ve achieved a huge accomplishment.”

Learn more and enroll in continuing education classes at

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.