Comment

The bigger picture: everyone has a responsibility to educate

Continued learning and development can often be sidelined in a busy emergency department environment. Owen Hammett explains what you can do to help your team – and yourself.

Continued learning and development can often be sidelined in a busy emergency department environment. Owen Hammett explains what you can do to help your team – and yourself.


When it comes to continuing learning developments, your team may be able to help more than you think
Picture: John Houlihan

With the pressures of delivering high-quality care to the increasing number of patients accessing emergency and urgent care, it is often difficult to ensure that we continue to learn and develop.

In such circumstances, education opportunities are often the first things to be cancelled so how can we ensure that we make the most of every opportunity to educate the team?

While many departments have clinical educators and education teams, it is everyone’s responsibility to educate. Whether it is the senior charge nurse explaining the advanced life support algorithm to a newly registered nurse or an emergency nurse practitioner teaching a healthcare assistant to apply a back slab, all present learning opportunities.

Seek help

Members of emergency and urgent care teams have such a broad and diverse range of experience and knowledge so seek the experts in your teams in the areas you wish to know more about.

And use the patients you meet as case studies to help you understand the effects of illness or injury and each condition’s management plans.

Ask colleague, ask the medical team or spend time reading up on the chosen topics. Relating them to patients will help you remember what you have learned and how you would assess and treat patients presenting with similar problems in the future.

'It is important to continue learning and developing'

Competencies are a great way to guide your learning and identify the areas you need to focus or improve on. The RCN emergency nurse competency framework will be released later this year. As soon as the competencies are released, we will be updating you on how you can use them to guide your education to ensure you have the knowledge to assess and manage the patients you meet daily, as well as rarely.

Despite the challenges we all face in emergency care, it is important to continue learning and developing. Remember to seek opportunities to learn while you are working and enquire about things you don’t understand. There is no such thing as a silly question.


About the author

 Owen Hammett is a critical care technologist at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and a member of the RCN Emergency Care Association

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs