Last updated: 15.06.12

E-learning 'improving standards of care in nursing'

Online training systems have improved standards of care among professional nurses, a study has shown. The Nursing Times reports that Birmingham's Heart of England Foundation Trust has realised a fewer number of pressure ulcers and falls, as well as a better overall catheter use, after it implemented the e-learning solution. This online learning course has seen the prevalence of ulcers in the National Health Service Trust drop from 3.33 per cent to 2.68 per cent, the usage of urinary catheters inserted by hospitals decline from 12.28 per cent to 11.54 per cent and the proportion of patients receiving severe pressure ulcers in medical facilities fall from 0.72 per cent to 0.21 per cent. Mandie Sunderland, chief nurse for the healthcare body, led the rollout of the virtual learning environment, which provides training and skills assessment. She told the publication: "It does appear that our registered nurses are practising better and generally we are seeing improvements in fundamental basic standards and patient care." The tool involves the assessing of the skills and knowledge held by these professionals throughout 14 fundamental areas and where participants lack knowledge, the online learning system aims to support them before they re-sit tests. So far, over 2,000 registered nurses in the trust have completed the assessments since the e-learning course was introduced around 18 months ago. On average, people who take the tests in the virtual learning environment receive scores of between 119 and 120 out of a maximum of 140. Midwives and other healthcare providers in neonatal and children's facilities are expected to soon receive an adapted version of the online training course. "I feel so much more confident about what my nurses know and I now have the assurance we are doing everything possible to provide excellent standards of care," Ms Sunderland noted. Principal educator at the trust's faculty of nursing and midwifery recently told the news source that the e-learning course could free up as many as 65,000 working hours every year.