When COVID-19 curbed the ability to travel for people across the globe, the Seychelles Nurses and Midwives Council (SNMC) and their members found themselves in a difficult situation.
How to support their members in staying engaged in their continuous professional development (CPD) – a requirement for their profession since 2010 – without the ability to travel across the nation. The restrictions imposed locally regarding meetings and face to face sessions further added to the constraints to meet this professional requirement.
Faced with an urgent need to support their members remotely, the council leaped at the opportunity to partner with the Commonwealth of Learning’s Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth, and the World Continuing Education Alliance (WCEA), to offer affordable online CPD courses to more than 500 nurses and midwives.
Having worked at SNMC for 10 years, Registrar Winnifred Agricole can already see the difference that improved access to training and education is making for the country’s nurses and midwives.
“The last two years of face-to-face CPD sessions were limited because of the COVID-19 health measures,” says Winnifred. “Now our nurses can access the sessions in their own free time in the comfort of their homes or wherever they are based.”
Winnifred sees benefits to both individual nurses and midwives as well as to the overall profession, and the people they care for as the nurses stay up-to-date with the changes and evolution of disease patterns and health care overall.
“I see the benefits as both achievable and worthwhile,” says Winnifred.
For nurses, accessibility and affordability are two key factors in the success of this project, with SNMC members getting free access to learning via the WCEA platform, wherever they are located. By requiring all of their members to meet regular CPD standards, the council is helping ensure that professional standards are met and upheld.
The updated training and education that SNMC members get is improving the care that they’re able to provide, producing better patient outcomes and enhancing the credibility of SNMC members.
Nurses themselves have responded enthusiastically to the new opportunities, with some offering feedback such as:
“Being able to access the on–line platform for our professional development, whether I’m in the bus or elsewhere, is a great advantage.” said one SNMC member adding, “The CPD on-line modules have brought positive changes on how I do my nursing practice on a daily basis.”
Other SNMC members have applauded the reduced costs for both the courses and travel, calling them a “golden opportunity” and citing the costs previously as, “a major challenge, and as time came for the renewal of our license this challenge became a real threat for us.”
Further modules have been added to the platform since it was launched, allowing the nurses and midwives to widen the scope of the learning activities available to them.
Winnifred says her members find it reassuring to participate in learning about new and emerging care and treatment protocols, something that also helps them integrate learning into their nursing skills as they practice the approaches gained.
This has been our first time working with COL,” says Winnifred, “and the collaboration has definitely been successful.”
“This project will definitely have a long-term impact on our organization,” she explains, “as a culture of lifelong learning will hopefully be instilled in this professional group so they can pass that along to our younger members.”