Nursing studies

Immediate life support: how resuscitation training can help ease the transition from student to newly qualified nurse

Staffordshire University’s free courses offer a way to keep in touch with former students and update their clinical skills

Staffordshire Universitys free courses offer a way to keep in touch with former students and update their clinical skills

  • Staffordshire University is offering e-ILS (Immediate Life Support e-learning) courses for free to postgraduates six to 12 months after qualifying
  • This helps to provide a support network during their transition from student to newly qualified nurse
  • The university is also using the courses to build on its relationships with clinical placement partners by running advanced life support courses for medical colleagues

At Staffordshire University, we believe the relationship with our students is for life, not just their degree programme.

To help our students with the transition to newly registered nurse,

...

Staffordshire University’s free courses offer a way to keep in touch with former students and update their clinical skills

  • Staffordshire University is offering e-ILS (Immediate Life Support e-learning) courses for free to postgraduates six to 12 months after qualifying
  • This helps to provide a support network during their transition from student to newly qualified nurse
  • The university is also using the courses to build on its relationships with clinical placement partners by running advanced life support courses for medical colleagues
Picture: iStock

At Staffordshire University, we believe the relationship with our students is for life, not just their degree programme.

To help our students with the transition to newly registered nurse, and to support their continuing professional development, we have collaborated with Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK) to deliver free, accredited, nationally recognised resuscitation courses to our postgraduate student body.

Offering the latest guidance on resuscitation

RCUK Immediate Life Support (ILS) and e-ILS (Immediate Life Support e-learning) courses can be delivered at any accredited RCUK ILS course centre, including clinical settings and universities.

Although there are 14 universities across the UK registered to deliver the courses, as far as we are aware, we are the only university offering the e-ILS for free to our students, who will be invited back to the ‘classroom’ six to 12 months after qualifying.

RCUK sets the standard for the response to all resuscitation attempts in the UK.

Latest guidelines, which were published in May, have a new section on ethical practice that focuses on advance care planning to promote shared decision-making, and using evidence-based communication to improve end-of-life discussions, building on the ReSPECT process first introduced in 2016.

Providing a safe space to consolidate clinical skills

Resuscitation training is mandatory for everyone working in healthcare, with all newly qualified nurses undertaking basic life support training. This is obviously crucial to every resuscitation, but the extra learning outcomes from the e-ILS include recognition of deteriorating patients and improved communication skills around resuscitation decisions.

‘As well as bringing the student body back into university so they can reconnect with each other and share their experiences, the course will improve their clinical skills and ensure their resuscitation knowledge is up to date’

We are also providing a safe space for those taking part to consolidate their skills and knowledge, as well as bringing their real-life experiences from clinical practice back to the classroom.

What is the e-ILS course?

The e-ILS (Immediate Life Support e-learning) course was launched in 2019 by RCUK and has grown in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It uses the same core curriculum as the ILS (Immediate Life Support), which was launched in 2002 and is RCUK’s most attended course. ILS certification is recognised in the UK, the European Union and Australia.

The e-ILS is a flexible way of learning skills in immediate life support, and blends e-learning with face-to-face workshops.

Knowledge and skills developed include:

  • Identifying the causes and promoting the prevention of cardiorespiratory arrest
  • Recognising and treating the deteriorating patient using the ABCDE approach
  • Learning how to perform quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, manually and using an automated external defibrillator (AED), and simple airway manoeuvres
  • Using non-technical skills to facilitate team leadership and effective team membership

Providing support for recent nursing graduates

Research shows that the transition from student to newly qualified nurse can be incredibly daunting, with many new registrants facing untold amounts of stress as they leave the safety of the university family and enter clinical practice as a staff nurse.

The initial period following qualification has been described as the ‘honeymoon period’, with newly registered nurses happy to have successfully completed their degree and found employment.

Dreams are realised and expectations are high but there is a lot of internal pressure, with genuine concerns about the fear of failing. Many report ‘imposter syndrome’ and feeling ill-prepared for the responsibilities of being a registered nurse.

Delivering these courses is an opportunity to maintain and build relationships between the university and our postgraduate students, with an emphasis on lifelong learning.

As well as bringing the student body back into university so they can reconnect with each other and share their experiences, the course will improve their clinical skills and ensure their resuscitation knowledge is up to date, with a focus on technical and non-technical skills, including human factors and communication.

New facilities provide ‘almost’ clinical training

The first cohort of students to be invited onto the course will be those graduating in July, with the first e-ILS course starting in December. All candidates will receive an RCUK ILS manual two weeks before the start of the course, which runs for half a day.

We will also be supporting our children’s nursing graduates through the one-day Paediatric Immediate Life Support (PILS) course, with PILS and e-ILS courses running twice a month initially.

Those who successfully complete the courses will be registered with the RCUK and receive a certificate valid for one year.

The courses will be run in our brand new centre for health innovation, which opens in October. The state-of-the-art centre has an emergency department, an ambulance bay and drop-off area, and a resuscitation room, as well as wards and clinical rooms.

The aim is to provide students with an ‘almost’ clinical experience, with all areas having filming capability to aid feedback and learning.

What is PILS?

Launched in 2007 by RCUK, around 17,000 professionals are trained every year in PILS (paediatric immediate life support).

It is ideal for nurses and other healthcare staff who need to develop their skills beyond basic life support but do not need to train to advanced level.

Knowledge and skills developed include:

  • Understanding the structured ABCDE approach that facilitates rapid recognition of seriously ill children.
  • Providing appropriate initial treatment interventions to prevent cardiorespiratory arrest.
  • Treating children in respiratory or cardiorespiratory arrest until the arrival of a resuscitation team or more experienced assistance.
  • Becoming an effective team member who can respond appropriately in an emergency.

Making sure the door is always open to past students

As I have a clinical background in emergency care and am an accredited course director and instructor with RCUK, I am the course director for the programme at the university. Other members of the university lecturer team are also RCUK accredited instructors, so our priority for the next few months is to ensure all faculty members are up to date and equipped to teach the courses.

We are also building on our relationships with clinical placement partners by running RCUK advanced life support courses for medical colleagues and others looking to attend these courses locally, along with generic instructor courses.

All profit made from courses will be invested back into our student body, with the aim of improving outcomes for those who experience a cardiac arrest, as well as adding value to the student experience.

Staffordshire University has two aims with this initiative – to improve the standard of education and skills in resuscitation, and to remind our students that they have a university family, who are not just there for the degree phase.

We want to ensure our university family remains inclusive and diverse and that our students – past and present – know that the door is always open.


Find out more

Resuscitation Council UK resources

The transition to newly qualified nurse


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