Online course got newly qualified nurses, midwives and AHPs off to a flying start

November 17, 2011, Wiley

Newly qualified nurses, midwives and allied health professionals who took part in an online course during their first year of employment reported increased clinical skills development and confidence. However the survey on the Flying Start NHS™ programme, published in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing, found that mentors needed more training and time to provide support.

Researchers surveyed 547 newly qualified practitioners who had undertaken the course, developed by NHS Education Scotland, and interviewed 21 project lead/co-ordinators and 22 mentors.

"The majority of the newly qualified practitioners reported that Flying Start NHS™ had been useful in terms of clinical skills development and " says lead author Professor Pauline Banks, University of West Scotland.

"Those who were able to take protected time were more likely to complete the learning units and report that the support they received was good. Both newly qualified practitioners and mentors reported a lack of time. Newly qualified practitioners who took up posts in the community expressed greater satisfaction with the support received."

The respondents were (61%), allied health professionals (35%) and (4%). The top five occupations were: adult nursing (43%), mental health nursing (13%), speech and language therapy (9%), occupational therapy (8%) and physiotherapy (8%). Just under half (47%) worked in acute settings, 18% worked in the community and the remainder worked in both.

Key findings of the study included:

• When it came to clinical skills development, 75% of respondents found the clinical skills module the most useful, followed by safe practice (69%), reflective practice (69%) communication (67%) and professional development (62%).

• The five most useful modules for developing confidence were: safe practice (62%), clinical skills (62%), reflective practice (61%), professional development (57%) and communication (56%).

• The careers pathway was the least useful module, scoring 43% for clinical skills development and 34% for confidence. Just 12% said it had helped them understand their future career options, 32% said it had not and the rest were undecided.

• When it came to development needs, staff were very clear about their most and least important priorities, with 71% putting learning the job first and 75% putting commitment to the organisation and career progression in the bottom slot. The votes for the second and third priorities - becoming a member of the team and orientation/induction to the clinical area - were much more evenly balanced.

• Three-quarters of the respondents were allocated a mentor in the first six weeks of employment, with nine out of ten having one by three months. They spent an average of just over two hours a month with their mentor.

• More than half (57%) had protected time for the course, with an average of 3.4 hours per month. However four out of five were not always able to take it. Time was also an issue for some mentors, as was lack of training in the programme.

• Eight out of ten respondents (79%) who had been in post for 12-18 months had completed less than half of the learning units, when ideally they should have completed the programme.

• Community-based staff expressed greater satisfaction with the course than acute-based staff. Staff in rotational or non-permanent posts faced greater challenges, including not knowing if they would keep the same mentor.

"The findings of our study highlight the challenges that newly qualified respondents face during the transition from student to qualified practitioner and indicate that the majority found completing the online learning units useful in terms of clinical skills development and confidence" says Professor Banks.

"However, many respondents reported that they found completing the course difficult, with some believing that there was a lack of partnership or an imbalance in the expectations placed on them as newly qualified practitioners and the support provided by the NHS. This included time issues for both students and mentors.

"It is clear that newly-qualified practitioners undertaking Flying Start NHS™ in their first year found it increased their clinical skills development and confidence. Investing the time needed to make this course even more effective is likely to pay dividends for the NHS, patients and carers, as well as for the practitioners themselves."

Explore further: Medical schools failing to teach the necessary legal skills to practice medicine

More information: Flying Start NHS™: easing the transition from student to registered health professional. Banks et al. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 20, pp3567. (December 2011). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03796.x

Related Stories

Medical schools failing to teach the necessary legal skills to practice medicine

May 16, 2011
Most medical students feel they lack the skills and legal knowledge required to challenge poor clinical practice and promote better patient care, reveals research published ahead of print in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Professional edition of leading nurse manual launched after rave reviews on new format

July 12, 2011
Qualified nurses can now have the very latest advanced practice procedures at their fingertips, thanks to the new professional edition of The Royal Marsden Hospital Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures.

Are frontline nurses prepared for alcohol-related cases?

June 6, 2011
Nurses are often on the frontline when patients are brought into hospital with alcohol-related illnesses or injuries but how prepared are they for dealing with cases of this kind?

Elsevier, Redfox Technologies and Microsoft launch innovative e-learning nursing solution

May 5, 2011
Elsevier, Redfox Technologies and Microsoft today announced the launch of the iCitizen Nursing Skills Netbook, an integrated and affordable e-learning netbook for nurses and nursing students in The Philippines.

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.