Manchester nursing students first to train in digital early warning system

Trainee nurses learn how to record data on a tablet which alerts doctors if a patient’s condition deteriorates

Nursing students in Manchester are the first in the UK to be taught how to use a digital system to record vital signs and calculate patient early warning scores (EWS).

A cohort of 400 students at the University of Manchester is being trained to use Patientrack, which is already used in some NHS organisations. 

In clinical settings, nurses make their bedside observations and then input the information into the Patientrack software through a tablet device. 

The software calculates the patient’s EWS, and if there are signs of deterioration, automatically calls doctors to respond. This is designed to save nurses time for other clinical priorities as they no longer have to calculate the EWS themselves or call for doctors. 

The Manchester students have been using a student training version of the software, and they will also use it to manage a simulated deteriorating patient for a full day. They have recently used the technology during their placements.

Student Emily Heggie, said: ‘The early introduction to Patientrack was something I hugely valued once out on placement. I was able to recognise the software and easily find my way to input details when asked. 

‘Being able to confidently use the system was a great help.’

Carol Wilde, a clinical skills tutor at the university’s school of nursing, midwifery and social work, said teaching students how to carry out observations digitally is an important step in updating nursing teaching. The nursing students are also taught how to record observations on paper charts.