Burn care skills shortage to be treated by UK's first specialist professional qualification

The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust has launched the UK’s first programme specifically for practitioners in burns care - with backing from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

Fifteen nurses and therapists have signed up to the Certificate in Professional Studies (Burns Care), validated by MMU, which starts today (10 April). The course begins with a 30-week core module covering burn injury management from admission to discharge, followed next January by two 15-week modules in burns in critical care and burns rehabilitation. Study days at Wythenshawe Hospital’s Burn Centre run alongside individual practice assignments.

Programme leader Jacky Edwards, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Burns at Wythenshawe Hospital, said the course had been established as a direct result of the National Burns Care Standards which recommended formal education across all levels of burn care. “Previous programmes have combined burns and plastic surgery, which doesn’t work well for nurses who don’t have exposure to plastic surgery,” she said. “75% of senior/specialist nurses and above must have formal training in burn care. As this is the only accredited course of its kind for nurses and other professions allied to medicine in this specialism, it will help hospitals meet that target. Unlike other courses it is also open to psychologists and dieticians while the core module has potential for paramedics and other emergency care practitioners.”

One of the first practitioners to enroll on the course is Rachael Robertson, a senior sister at Wythenshawe Hospital’s Burn Centre. “I’ve got 12 years experience in burn care and have had lots of informal and competency-based training but I wanted to learn more about the theoretical side of burn management, and, as a clinical manager, how to support other nurses in their development,” she explained. “Such a programme has been sadly missing in burn care for a long time while it’s also a great opportunity to build stronger ties with professionals from a wide range of healthcare disciplines.”

The programme could potentially address the shortage of burn care rehabilitation staff, Rachael said. “Recruitment in this area, and paediatric burns, is a problem. Staff come in with little or no burns experience and learn on the job. Working in a hospital I only have rough idea of rehabilitation so, personally, I’m really looking forward to learning more about that towards the end of the course.”

Janet Marsden, from the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care’s Continuing Professional Development Division at MMU, said the University was delighted to lend its backing to the course. “The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust has been doing fantastic work in burn care training for a number of years but now it has a recognized qualification with external validation. This is an important initiative for the sector, particularly for nurses in this area.”

Anyone interesting in finding out more about the course should telephone 0161 291 6318 or email [email protected].


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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