E-learning for non-medical prescribers


19 / 2 / 2013 2.32pm


 The organisation                        

 What they did and why

 How they did it

 Results and next steps

 Tips for other trusts

 Further information and contacts


The organisation

The Health and Education Co-operative is a collection of higher education institutes (HEIs) and healthcare providers in the North West of England that carry out business together for the benefit of members, future members and the wider community. It was set up in response to the changing needs of the health education market.

What they did and why

Historically, eight HEIs from across the northwest of England met regularly on a non-official basis to share best practice (in a community of practice).  Responding to demand from employers in the region, the strategic health authority (SHA) commissioned the HEIs to develop a learning module for health staff administering non-medical prescriptions.  After considering various options, it was decided that this would be developed as a DVD resource.

They were developed by all participating universities with specialists from each area contributing to the authoring.  The DVD was based on best practice, university validation and a variety of professional bodies standards.

The DVD was welcomed and widely used. It won a gold award in the International Visual Communications Association (IVCA) Awards 2006, which recognise effective business and public service communications with high ethical and professional standards.  As requirements changed, however, and the module needed updating, it became clear that the DVD was not conducive to this, and it was costly to change its material.

The HEIs met and worked together to research, discuss and agree on a more flexible and cost-effective solution.  This resulted not only in the concept of a website to host the e-learning, but also of a health and education co-operative.  The aim was for the website to provide a much more adaptable, efficient learning tool, and for the health industry to benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience the health education co-operative members could offer.

How they did it

The website and the HE cooperative were developed alongside each other; although the cooperative took longer (two years from inception to establishment), and required consultation with solicitors to define the best model for delivering this work, as well as a lot of negotiation with each proposed member.

The Non-Medical Prescribing (NMP) course, accessible through the co-operative's website, is a generic course that will equip students with the principles of prescribing so that they may be applied in their field of clinical practice.  It was based on existing qualifications in the same subject (specifically V150 - NMP for nurses, and V300 - NMP for health), and was validated by the relevant professional bodies, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Results and next steps

The Health and Education Cooperative website and the first e-learning modules were launched in December 2012.  The website includes information about the HE co-operative, and pre-course information to help learners ascertain whether they are ready and qualified to undertake the non-medical prescribing course.

It contains details about the course, and instructions on how to apply through each co-operative member university.  Once a learner has been through this process, upon enrolment, they receive a user name and password, and can log in and access the learning through this website.

Evaluation and pre-launch testing of the e-learning tool has demonstrated that it has been very well received, and has saved the learners a significant amount of time. An average of 12-15 days was saved by each learner by carrying out distance, or in situ, flexible learning.

The co-operative members continue to work on the following areas:

  • Determining fees for using the resource (for co-operative members and non-members)
  • Implementing an evaluation programme to measure the effectiveness of the learning tool, and continuously improve it
  • Establishing a process for identifying, prioritising and developing new learning resources
  • Defining a process for new organisations to apply for membership of the cooperative.

Tips for other trusts

  • Consider the flexibility and adaptability of your learning resource. It must be accessible to the learners it is intended for, but it must also be changeable as content will need to change if it is to remain current.
  • Think about gaining accreditation and validation of your e-learning.
  • Make sure you put the time and effort in to developing and supporting your community of practice.

Further information and contacts

If you require further information please contact Ian Corrie, secretary to the Health and Education Co-operative

Email: ian.corrie@cumbria.ac.uk

Phone: 07973687236

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