Tracey Jones, The University of Manchester, UK
How Covid 19 has affected education provision: A senior lecturer’s reflection: The consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic has been felt far and wide. Never before have we experienced the impact of such a global crisis reaching all areas of the world. In the United Kingdom the impact of isolation and being quarantined to our homes has resulted in many of
us adjusting the way we socialise, communicate and work. Whilst our front-line healthcare teams continue with their work and deal with the health crisis, as an educator my support for these teams has been in a different way. As a nurse educator my key area of work is related to educating undergraduate nursing and midwifery students and leading on continual professional courses related to neonatal care. The government guidance to cease face to face contact led to all teaching being changed to online learning. Almost overnight we had to leave our offices, set up online teaching, rearrange face to face exams and find new ways of working. As an academic team we were forced to explore how and if we could continue to run the CPD courses and if so, how could we support the students to reach their end goal of success and academic accreditation.
Some would argue that this crisis has offered an opportunity to revaluate education provision. Year on year course evaluations demonstrate that students specifically CPD students enjoy face to face teaching. One would argue that the discussion that transpires when a room of neonatal nurses from a range of organisations come together is priceless, encouraging shared learning, initiating questioning and prompting change in practice. So how do we continue to nurture this environment whilst working at a distance? For me as an educator zoom has been a lifeline offering me the opportunity to hold meetings, assess neonatal intensive care Viva’s and continue to encourage student joint engagement.
There is no doubt that the Covid 19 crisis will continue for some time demonstrating that not only have we had to evolve but also plan for future education provision. Healthcare teams will continue to require CPD education courses and the neonatal workforce must still aim for 70% of the nursing establishment to be ‘qualified in specialty’ [UK Dept. of Health, 2009]. It is important now to analyse how we as educators can support clinical teams to achieve this. The future requires all those working in education institutions to seek new ways of offering distance learning that keeps the students engaged, motivated and ensures that CPD education equips healthcare teams with the knowledge they require to offer both safe care and drive change.