Nurses gain leadership skills through CD-Rom

A massive NHS e-learning project is set to help up to 40,000 nurses improve
the way they deal with stress, manage conflict and become better leaders.

The Nursing Leadership Project was developed to help nurses adapt to their
changing role in hospitals, which now goes far beyond treating patients.

The NHS is to begin actively promoting the programme this month with 10,000
CD-Roms being distributed across the UK.

David Dawes, the NHS’s e-learning development manager, said: "Nurses
are at the frontline and have to handle patients on a daily basis, deal with
conflict, adapt to constant change and cope with all sorts of challenges.

"By providing them with proper leadership training, we can help them to
be more effective in their jobs and improve the overall patient

More than 70 per cent of registered nurses have access to the internet and
training can be carried out in flexible chunks, either at home or work. At just
52p per user, it represents a fraction of the cost of traditional
classroom-based training and allows nurses to improve their skills, without
impacting on critical NHS staffing levels.

The national promotion follows a successful pilot scheme last year where
suppliers Skillsoft filled 400 places in under three weeks, without having to

"The average age of volunteers was 41, with 10 per cent over 50. This
contradicts the assumption that only younger people feel comfortable learning
electronically," said Dawes.

Feedback after the pilot showed that 69 per cent of students could give
practical examples of how they applied the learning, while 85 per cent said
they would recommend it to colleagues.

Around 5,000 nurses have already completed the course since it was launched
at the end of last year and Dawes expects this to increase to 20,000 by the
summer and 40,000 by the end of 2004.

By Ross Wigham

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