Could part-time programmes be the future of nurse education?
Mark Edwards and Nicola Henwood
Despite successive increases in the number of commissioned places for pre-registration nursing programmes across Wales, the number of nurses’ remains stationary. In most areas there are severe nursing shortages and health boards struggle to recruit qualified nurses. Nursing shortages lead to reduced standards of patient care, safety concerns, significant agency costs and difficulties delivering key services.
An innovative education programme has been developed at Swansea University to try and address this problem. Currently, our four local university health boards (Swansea bay, Hywel Dda, Cwm Taf and Powys) employ several thousand healthcare support workers (HCSWs). Many of these have the requisite entry qualifications to access a nursing degree but are unable to consider applying for a BSc (Nursing) through the traditional route because they have financial commitments that cannot be met while studying on a limited bursary. As many of these HSCWs will have families and other responsibilities, studying full time is not realistic. These HCSWs have strong ties to the local community and are a stable workforce. By offering flexibility in an education programme, which involves creative delivery methods, funding and working conditions, it is expected that we can enable HCSWs to access a degree programme leading to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) whilst maintaining their normal income as a HCSW. Once qualified, these newly registered nurses will be guaranteed employment in the health boards that have supported their studies.
In 2017 Swansea University, in collaboration with the Health Education and Improvement Wales ( HEIW – commissioning body) and our local health boards pioneered the first part-time Pre Registration Nursing Program (BSc). The program is structured so that course components are delivered over three days per week. This equates to one day of placement, one day at university and another of work based learning. The same standard of academic achievement and clinical hours are required by the Nursing Midwifery Council to enable students their nursing registration. To complete the degree and entry onto the professional register, specific skills need to be compiled and demonstrated alongside the successful completion of modular assessments. To address these issues the programme necessitated a change of many components from the traditional full time nursing programme. A robust combination of blended learning, clinical placements, work based and distance learning has been developed to ensure the students are able to improve their knowledge and skills at times that suit their learning needs. The programme also allows for the limited face to face teaching time to be used to its best advantage.
These new methods of delivery allow the students to learn at their own pace in a way that suits their preferred learning style and lifestyle. Allowing students to set aims and objectives and the ability to learn in this way respects the diverse needs of our student populations. It also provides equality for students who have disabilities, those who live rurally or far from campus, and those who have caring, family or financial responsibilities. Early evaluations suggest that the programme will be a success and could be considered for alternative nurse training in the future?
This poster presentation will outline alternative teaching methods within a part time programme to enable nursing students to develop some of their knowledge and skills at the convenience of their own time. The impact of these new innovative teaching methods and the completion of the programme qualifies the student to register as a nurse.
The delegates will gain an insight of different methods of teaching delivery and how students can develop skills for independent lifelong learning.
Independent learning, enquiry based learning, blended learning
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