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Skill up, any time

Nurses for Nurses webinars provide round-the-clock access to materials for professional development. 

Since June 2010, nurses in Australia have been required to meet the refined legislated requirements set out in a national registration and accreditation scheme. Nurses for Nurses Network webinars aim to help professionals comply more easily.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is responsible for the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme across Australia. The agency monitors and audits at least 10 per cent of all nurses each year to make sure they have met their requirements.

Registered and enrolled nurses must be able to demonstrate completion of at least 20 hours of continuing professional development (CPD). Failure to do so may result in a nurse being unable to practise and in some circumstances de-registration. It is the individual nurse’s responsibility, not an employer’s, to ensure they meet their annual CPD requirements.

To help, Nurses for Nurses chose a web-based platform to provide CPD sessions. The aim was to make it easy to use, accessible to all nurses in Australia with no time-zone restrictions, compatible with lifestyle constraints and affordable – and of course it had to be fabulous!

When we commenced this project two years ago, the concept of the webinar was just starting to circulate in Australian healthcare education circles. We believed that this format would meet our needs and our ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the program attests to this.

The webinars cover a broad range of topics; there are more than 200 education sessions available and they can be undertaken using a computer, tablet or smartphone.

The web-based environment is simple and easy to use. All the member has to do is select the session they wish to use and click play. After the session is finished, they can click on a “get your CPD certificate” button and bring up the evaluation page. Once this page is completed and submitted, a certificate is created that nurses can print off for their evidence portfolio.

Australia is a large country and not all regional and remote areas have access to the same internet speed as the larger cities. This is one issue that affects the success of web-based education. That said, there are only a small number of remote locations where internet speed has been a concern with our webinars. The government is committed to enhancing internet services in the near future, so this should no longer be a problem soon.

The majority of evaluations from the 29,122 sessions that have been attended/watched thus far indicate that members are happy with the technology and the variety and content of the webinars offered. Members find it easy to use and love the fact that they can access a session at a time that suits them, 24/7.

When we started, we planned to provide education via webinar, both live and as a recording. This we have done and done well, according to the evaluations of our members.

As we have interacted with our colleagues we’ve broadened the type of format that we use. For example, we have added online quizzes to our CPD program. This allows nurses who prefer to read and reflect the opportunity to undertake tests on a huge range of topics. We have also created a short video library where “how to” clips are housed for people to cross-reference their work with the latest best practice guidelines – from how to undertake a PAS assessment to the use of a turbohaler.

The use of a web-based application to support CPD in nursing is possible and indeed effective. We believe the traditional method of education and information delivery will continue to have a place, but for ease of access, delivered at a time that meets the needs of each individual nurse, a web-based application is the answer to keeping the profession up to date in an ever-changing healthcare environment.

Cheryl Dezotti and Sue Walker are co-founders of the Nurses for Nurses Network. Go to: www.nursesfornurses.com.au

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