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Virtual nurse training: £25m will expand use of technology and critical care education

RCN welcomes money for England but calls for continual investment in nurses’ development

RCN welcomes money for England but calls for continual investment in nurses development

Nurses in England will benefit from 25 million of funding to expand virtual training and develop a new critical care qualification, the government has announced.

The availability of face-to-face clinical placements has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced in January that up to 300 of the 2,300 clinical practice hours nursing students need to complete during their degree can now be undertaken in simulated environments.

A total of 15 million of the funding will

RCN welcomes money for England but calls for continual investment in nurses’ development

Picture: Oxford Medical Simulation - virtual simulation platform for nursing

Nurses in England will benefit from £25 million of funding to expand virtual training and develop a new critical care qualification, the government has announced.

The availability of face-to-face clinical placements has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council announced in January that up to 300 of the 2,300 clinical practice hours nursing students need to complete during their degree can now be undertaken in simulated environments.

A total of £15 million of the funding will go to universities in England to expand simulated training facilities and technology, while the remaining £10 million will be invested by Health Education England (HEE) to develop a new critical care qualification for postgraduate nurses.

RCN calls for ‘sustainable investment in the continuing professional development’ of nurses

Nichola Ashby

RCN head of professional learning and development Nichola Ashby said: ‘These innovative aspects will change the way the next generation of nurses learn for the better.

‘However, investment in nursing education can’t end here. The government must invest in maintenance grants that cover students’ real living costs and remove tuition fees for individuals.’

Ms Ashby added that there needs to be sustainable investment in the continuing professional development of nursing staff and educators throughout their careers.

Virtual nurse training will simulate a realistic clinical setting

HEE is yet to announce further details about the new critical care qualification.

However, there is a fuller picture regarding virtual training, which will involve the use of virtual reality technology, manikins, role play, and smartphones, tablets or computers, which will allow nursing students to practise their clinical skills in a safe environment.

They will be able to train themselves on clinical procedures and simulate a realistic clinical setting with support from experienced colleagues.

Virtual Reality technology is used by students at the University of Northampton

Government highlights role of critical care nurses

Minister for care Helen Whately said: ‘While there is no substitute for face-to-face training on wards, simulated training is a vital part of the curriculum and provides a safe space for students to develop their skills.

‘The funding will also recognise our critical care nurses, who have played a crucial role during this pandemic, with a new nationally recognised qualification.’


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