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Redefining undergraduate nurse teaching during the coronavirus pandemic: use of digital technologies

28 May 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 10


During the current coronavirus pandemic, undergraduate nurse teaching is facing many challenges. Universities have had to close their campuses, which means that academics are working from home and may be coping with unfamiliar technology to deliver the theoretical part of the undergraduate nursing curriculum. Emergency standards from the Nursing and Midwifery Council have allowed theoretical instruction to be replaced with distance learning, requiring nursing academics to adapt to providing a completely virtual approach to their teaching. This article provides examples of tools that can be used to deliver the theoretical component of the undergraduate nursing curriculum and ways of supporting students and colleagues in these unprecedented times.

The nursing profession globally has found itself in unprecedented circumstances due to the outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus. The gravity of the situation has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic, a term that describes significant, ongoing spread of an infectious disease person-to-person across multiple countries around the world at the same time.

The education of nurses is also facing unprecedented circumstanes, with schools, colleges and university closures, and many people, within the UK and globally, working from home, having to self-care or care for others. Within this context, the delivery of nurse education is more challenging than ever.

Undergraduate nursing programmes across the UK generally offer a range of teaching and learning strategies, recognising that learning and assessment will take place in both practice and academic settings, and will involve working and learning with students from other disciplines as well as their own. Indeed, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the European Union are explicit that undergraduate nursing programmes require proportions of theoretical and practical components of study, totalling a minimum of 4600 hours, and that each proportion is assessed (NMC, 2018). Examples of approaches to teaching and learning are presented in Box 1.

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