E-Learning centres planned for nurses

Internet drive to further nursing experience

The University of Ulster has been selected as one of three UK universities to deliver an e-learning centre for qualified nurses, enabling them to further their qualifications online.

The Royal College of Nursing initiative will link the University of Ulster with Leicester and City Universities in a partnership to develop a global e-nursing education program. The e-learning centres are scheduled to come online in January 2003, and are being targeted at registered nurses, offering them the chance to continue developing their skills for the nursing profession.

Professor Gerry McKenna, vice-chancellor of Ulster University, said an increasing number of professionals are interested in on-line learning. "[They] want to access the highest quality of teaching and learning materials in their place of work or their homes at times which reflect work schedules and personal needs," he said.

The e-nursing centre will complement the existing online biomedical sciences programme at Ulster University. Registered nurses will work towards building up credits, which they can then exchange for named qualifications such as a master's degree or doctorate. A joint certificate will be awarded from the three universities involved.

Initial costs and intake numbers for the e-learning programmes are yet to be determined. "This market has a huge potential intake -- there are 50,000 state registered nurses in the UK who would all be eligible to sign up for the courses," said a spokesperson for Ulster University.

The three universities were selected on the strength of strong e-learning structures already in place, as well as proven track records in nurse education and research.

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