Last updated: 04.02.12

Hospital unveils online learning scheme

A hospital in the Midlands has revealed that it is set to launch a new online learning scheme for nurses embarking on their training at the facility.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham has been using the programme for the last few months and two more organisations are now looking at following suit.

Vanessa Lockyer-Stevens, principal educator at the trust's faculty of nursing and midwifery, said e-learning could result in as many as 65,000 hours per year being saved, which can then be devoted to "hands-on patient care", reports the Nursing Times.

The figure was calculated assuming each of the trust's 2,500 members of staff would spend at least two hours using the online learning facility every year.

She explained the scheme is "designed to complement and reduce some of the burden" placed on the nursing staff as a result of face-to-face learning, rather than replacing it completely.

It was noted most nurses were keen to use the online system to carry out their training from home instead of doing it in the workplace, with Ms Lockyer-Stevens adding: "This could be for a number of reasons, among them the need to recognise that not all learners are nine to five."

She pointed out: "Some learners prefer to work in surroundings favourable to getting the best from the learning experience and that may mean quiet time at home."

It was also revealed the trust's chief nurse had guaranteed members of staff who used the e-learning system in their own time would get days off work in lieu.

Speaking to recently, Heather Kanuka, director of the University of Alberta's Centre for Teaching and Learning, hailed the importance of engagement in an online learning system.

She conducted research showing individuals struggle to engage with course material if 100 per cent of it is presented in a text-based format.