When did you first introduce the innovation?
Less than 12 months ago
Please describe the innovation you have developed
A free NMC approved mentorship course which consists of eight weeks online learning materials delivered at intermediate level. This is part of an ‘OpenLearn’ initiative within The Open University, an e-learning platform that allows any member of the public, anywhere in the world, to access learning which is free at the point of delivery.
The course, although focused to reflect the learning needs of those registered nurses wanting to complete an NMC-approved mentorship programme, can be accessed by anyone. For example, health care assistants wanting to develop their mentorship skills, registered mentors who want to update their learning, other health care professionals interested in mentorship, or any member of the public wanting to know more about this subject area.
The course includes relevant educational theory and application to health care practice, multi-media sources to support learning, a range of activities promoting reflective practice and collaborative working, and also videos of clinicians describing their experience of mentoring in practice.
Each week can be studied in any order and at any time, as all learning materials are fully available via the course website which can be accessed as needed by the individual learner. Computer generated quizzes are completed following each week of learning, with weeks five and eight quizzes needing to be ‘passed’ to successfully complete the course. The course and quizzes can be retaken if individuals are unsuccessful.
On successful completion of the course a ‘badge’ of learning is awarded. Registered nurses can subsequently use this to access a work-based mentorship course which is portfolio-based and assesses related NMC competencies in practice. This learning innovation promotes an informal to formal learning design.
What prompted you to develop this innovation?
Listening to our partners across the UK informed our planning and design of this course. Commissioners of healthcare courses told us that they needed flexible learning approaches for their workforce where staff can learn at their own pace in a variety of environments, not being restricted to attendance at classroom based sessions. In addition, many healthcare provider organisations told us that they did not require academic credits for their staff, as many already had secured undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications. Relevant knowledge and skills which clearly demonstrate outputs in practice are the desired outcomes of education and training for commissioners, which ultimately equip staff to deliver and promote high quality standards of patient care.
Following this course (KG005), the progression to a formal assessed competency based course (KG006) is offered to registered nurses who meet NMC requirements. This is work-based and assessed in practice. Both courses can be completed alongside each other if required.
Within the widening participation agenda and also the need for a greater public awareness of nursing, the course can attract a diverse population where no previous knowledge, expertise or qualifications are needed as prerequisites to access this learning.
In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?
The KG005 course provides open access learning for all, not only inclusive of health care staff (both registered and non-registered) but also any member of the public.
Individuals can commence this course at any time throughout the year so do not have to wait for particular academic enrolment points.
The learning materials promote progression from informal to formal learning for those that wish to take their studies further, through activities and quizzes which help to build confidence and a desire to learn more.
The course provides transparency to the public – it gives insight into the learning with which nurses engage to become future mentors of the nursing workforce
To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?
The OpenLearn platform encourages widening participation of learning and is free at the point of delivery. There are a number of courses which utilise this approach to informal learning, however this mentorship course is the first Open University programme that can lead directly to a formal assessed course.
Resources and expertise within The Open University include an Open Media Unit, production and filming departments, and interactive computer based technologies which have contributed to this innovation.
To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?
The course was approved by the NMC in May 2015 with the first students currently engaged in learning. The course will be evaluated following the current group of students progressing with their learning.
Initial comments from Healthcare Trusts have been positive, with commissioners being able to access and ‘complete’ the KG005 learning materials in full, prior to their staff commencing the course.
What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?
As indicated above, it is the early stages of course delivery although initial comments from Healthcare Trusts are positive in that it meets the needs of their workforce in terms of flexible learning.
There have been 400+ individuals who have accessed this course since it ‘went live’ in early May 2015.
To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?
The course was promoted at RCN Congress 2015 and included subsequent ‘tweets’.
Information has been disseminated within the Department of Nursing at The Open University and mentorship team meetings, alongside regional nursing meetings across the UK.
Badged online courses (BOC) evaluation within The Open University involving all departments (nursing, open media unit, learning and teaching systems).
Poster presentation at Nurse Education Today Conference, Cambridge Sept 2015.
Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.
Publications within nursing and educational journals.
UK-wide marketing promotion.