Nurse education in the digital age

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Some 60 years ago, nursing studies at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) became a trailblazer, by being the first higher education department in Europe to offer a nursing programme. We recently celebrated the achievement by noting the impact we had on the development of the caring profession, nationally and on an international level, through our graduates.
However, the education landscape has changed significantly since those early pioneering days and nursing in the United Kingdom (UK) is now an all-graduate profession. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) offer programmes lasting 3 or 4 years (Honours studies) to undergraduate students leading to professional registration. The composition of the curricula enables students to have 50% of their time in clinical practice and they can choose the nursing branch (or field of practice) they wish to specialise in from the first day of their studies. Those branches include Adults, Children, Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Midwifery .
Once qualified and in order to maintain their registration, nurses must complete, on an annual basis, a few mandatory days that serve to fulfil their need for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). To advance their practice and ensure they continue to offer safe care, clinicians may also engage in Post Graduate (PG) studies and complete a Master’s programme in a nursing related subject. A few opt to undertake a PhD studies, which is necessary for nurse consultants in clinical posts at the National Health Service (NHS).
The clinical environment has also seen tremendous changes in the last 60 years, capitalising on advances in technology and biomedical sciences. Clinical IT systems were introduced in the UK in an effort to modernise the healthcare arena and ensure it remains effective, efficient and able to sustain the ethos of being free at the point of need. Manging information is seen as a key factor in providing seamless and smooth patient journey, between primary and acute care settings. In fact, the desire to manage information flows led to a bold attempt to establish a national ‘spine like’ infrastructure to aid the link between various regional clinical IT systems. However, despite billions of pound which were spent on the National Programme for IT (NPfIT in England) this project, like many other large scale IT developments in the UK public sector, failed.
This chapter is set to give readers an overview on development concerning UK nursing, education and what is now often called ‘digital health’. It will elaborate on progress with engaging the workforce in the eHealth agenda and articulate the drivers for needed changes to the education of professional care providers in the UK. A case study, developing 2 new courses for under and post graduate programmes, will be used to demonstrate the approach taken by one leading academic institution in Scotland. Such a development reaffirms the University’s position at the forefront of developments in nursing education in the UK 60 years on.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Professionals’ Education in the Age of Clinical Information Systems, Mobile Computing and Social Networks
EditorsAviv Shachak, Elizabeth Borycki, Shmuel P. Reis
ISBN (Electronic)9780128093214
ISBN (Print)9780128053621
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'Nurse education in the digital age'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this