In an Australian first, primary care nurses now have access to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) training, regardless of where they live. COPD Online is a new web-based interactive training program developed by The Australian Lung Foundation (Lung Foundation) especially for primary care nurses which teaches participants about COPD, how to identify and manage patients with COPD, and develop self-management plans with patients.
COPD Online has been 18 months in the making and The Lung Foundation’s Director of the COPD National Program, Heather Allan, said the training was developed for a number of reasons. “Primary care nurses have a pivotal role in driving disease management programs at general practice. Until now, there was very little training to support that important role. This unique ten module intensive program will support the nurse’s role in identification, diagnosis and evidence based management of their patients with COPD,” Mrs Allan said.
The Lung Foundation have worked very closely with leading clinical experts throughout Australia to develop this resource including the chair of the steering committee, Dr Vanessa McDonald, Respiratory Clinical Nurse Consultant at the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.
“Working with clinicians and patients with COPD every day, we have long identified the need for quality training we could trust. COPD Online is both clinically relevant and correct for primary nurses treating patients with COPD. We also have the opportunity to evaluate the impact of the training on both the nurse and their patients,” Dr McDonald said.
The pilot test of the training involved over 50 nurses covering six states, located in metro, rural and remote areas. The pilot test showed that participants increased their knowledge and confidence in the management of COPD patients. Further evaluation on patient impact will be conducted over the coming months.
Anne James, practice nurse for the rural community of Ranelagh in Tasmania participated in the pilot. “The training was very relevant to practice nurses working with patients with COPD. The information presented has a good evidence base, it is easy to understand and provides knowledge about the progression of the disease and what can be done to help patients better self-manage their condition,” Ms James said.
Mrs Allan explained the training is of an International standard and has already generated interest from health professionals in America and New Zealand. “One of the modules even goes into detail about how nurses can navigate through the Medicare Benefits Schedule and work out a self-management plan with the patient,” said Mrs Allan. The training program is self-paced and highly accessible. Participants can use the training anywhere and at any time they use the internet. It’s flexible too as the bookmarking feature makes it easy for participants to save their work and re-enter the training where they left off.
This online learning program has been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing Australia (RCNA) according to approved criteria. Completion of COPD Online by nurses means they will be awarded seven RCNA Continuing Nurse Education Points as part of RCNA’s Life Long Learning Program.
COPD Online has many interactive features, including case studies and videos, downloadable assessment tools and patient handouts as well as quizzes to test knowledge.
The development of the program was supported by generous funding from The Talbot Family Foundation.
COPD Online is available on The Australian Lung Foundation’s website for $250. View it at www.lungfoundation.com.au
(Source:The Austrlian Lung Foundation)