Southampton NHS Trust physios digitise workbook for newly-qualified colleagues

A respiratory physiotherapy team at a major teaching trust has pushed training into the digital age by creating an electronic workbook for its band 5 members.


Critical care physios Zoe van Willigen and Rebecca Vokes

The team co-produced the e-workbook with IT staff at University Hospitals Southampton NHS Trust. It went live on the trust’s virtual learning environment this summer, after an eight-month pilot.

The content, produced by critical care lead physio Zoe van Willigen, was originally published as a lengthy – 130 page – paper document. Written for newly-qualified physios working in respiratory care, it covered theory, case studies and supervised practice.

Southampton is a teaching trust and the major trauma centre for the south coast of England. It is the regional centre for cardiothoracic surgery, neurology, cystic fibrosis, non-invasive ventilation and other specialisms.

Rebecca Vokes, a senior critical care physio with the respiratory team, said the main reason behind the initiative was to make sure that band 5 physios were prepared to work on call in a range of specialist services.

She said the switch to digital meant that diagrams and text were easier to read, compared to the previous photocopied version. Users had more space to input detailed information. And it prompted them to work jointly with their supervisors, helping to make sure that meetings between newly-qualified and senior staff take place.

‘To finish a section, all the questions have to be answered and marked,’ Ms Vokes said.

‘The paper version relied on you going to your senior and getting them to mark all the sections with you. Now it’s online, there are prompts that the page can’t be completed until all the tasks have been signed off.’

Newly-qualified physios were familiar with online learning at university, so the e-workbook was meeting the needs of a generation of digital natives, according to Ms Vokes.

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