The Centre for Global Burn Injury Policy & Research (CGBIPR) has developed a course for (burn) nurses in Implementation & Improvement Science as part of its current NIHR grant. Due to Covid-19 restrictions on travel and increased demand for the nursing staff, the final week of teaching has now been rescheduled as an online course.
This course in quality improvement and research methods was designed to run over a year’s time with three face-to-face teaching moments and online support in between. The aim of this course is to give nurses the skills, confidence, and capacity to improve practice at their own burn wards. The first two teaching weeks have been successfully held in Malawi in May and July 2019. Dr. Maria Holden, who is the lead for the course for the CGBIPR, then had to change the plan for the final teaching week at the start of April 2020 due to Covid-19.
The eight nurses from Ethiopia and Malawi who are taking part in this pilot course are keen to complete the course despite the change of teaching methods. As travelling has become impossible and the nurses face increased demands on their time in their hospitals due to the coronavirus crisis, the final course material and assessments have been adapted to be done online and spread over a number of weeks to allow for flexibility in time.
Dr. Maria Holden says: ‘We already had experimented with different ways of online contact, to help the participants with their quality improvement projects during the course. So we knew what platforms work for them. This is important as many only have access to slow and unreliable internet connections and use their phones rather than computers. However, there are plenty of creative assignments that can be done and submitted even just via a text message, photo, or video on WhatsApp. Everyone is working really hard to make the most of the course and finish their projects.’
Although face-to-face teaching has distinct advantages, creating online content for our international courses is something the Centre is working hard on. To restrict travel in the longer term and to be able to reach a larger audience, online courses have the future. The Centre works to improve burn care in low resource environments, and this means limited access to the internet and appliances has to be taken into account while designing these courses. An interesting challenge!