Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in significant changes to education delivery. For many university programmes this has included a move from face-to-face to virtual and online learning and teaching. Aim To gain insight into the experiences of students undertaking the community children’s nursing specialist practitioner programme during the academic year 2020-21, when most learning and teaching was delivered using virtual and online methods as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Method A survey questionnaire containing qualitative and quantitative questions was distributed to 28 students by programme leaders at three universities in England. Seven questionnaires were returned, yielding a 25% response rate. Findings Respondents’ experience of online and virtual learning was generally positive, with benefits for work-life balance and the opportunity to revisit recorded lectures being particularly well regarded. Loss of opportunity for face-to-face engagement with fellow students and the teaching team were identified as disadvantages. Conclusion There was strong student support for the provision of more flexible approaches to learning and teaching. Universities should recognise that failure to offer such flexibility could potentially affect recruitment and the viability of courses in the future.
Encouraging care closer to home has long been a priority for the government and NHS (Department of Health [DH], 2019). The workforce needs to be trained and equipped to deliver this health care in a variety of community settings (Queen’s Nursing Institute [QNI], 2021). The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have consulted and responded to these societal changes, i.e. care closer to home, within their review of professional standards which will shape community nursing roles for years ahead (NMC, 2022). The specialist practice qualification (SPQ) provides the education and training to prepare community nurses for their future professional careers as clinicians and leaders and will be at the forefront of implementing these standards.