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Challenges and Opportunities

The combined, worldwide Health Systems account for an estimated workforce in excess of 35 million nurses and midwives within primary, acute and community care; an enormous professional category that faces some problems with their general education level. In 2001, the World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA54.12 meant to strengthen the nursing profession: it recognized nurses' crucial and costeffective role and promoted further actions to maximize their contribution to our Health Systems. As a result, the SDNM 2002-20082 identified nursing education as one of the five Key Result Areas (KRAs). The new strategic directions for the period 2011-2015 increase to three the number of KRAs that are contemplated in EMECC NURSING, thus contributing to enhancing the relevance of the proposed training programme:

  • KRA 3: Education, training and career development focuses on ensuring a qualified workforce supply through "continuing education programmes at every level of nursing", to ensure that nursing education/training programmes are equipped with adequate teaching resources and to develop nursing expertise through post-basic education, mentoring and other career development activities.
  • KRA 4: Nursing and midwifery workforce management, with a key focus on a nursing workforce capable of consistently meeting established standards of care and the expectations of the public. "Strategies can draw on evidence-based recommendations and technical support to enhance the skills mix, performance and mobility".
  • KRA 5: Partnership for nursing and midwifery services, with a focus on encouragement of active, systematic collaboration among nursing organizations and with community-based organizations, health professional groups and governments. Amongst other lines of work, it encourages effective networking and partnerships and specifically Interprofessional collaboration promoted in education, research and practice, especially at postgraduate level or within the framework of continuing education.

The partners in the EMECC NURSING consortium have a track record of nurse training in tight collaboration with local hospitals –some of them also collaborating as Associated Partners in the Consortium- and have, therefore, jointly developed a clear picture of the real-life situation of their acute care units. In particular they are aware of the importance of professional preparedness in a workforce of front line service providers, such as the nurse corps.

Considering the locally identified needs and adding the global needs identified by the WHO, the consortium considers there is substantial justification for the proposed Master training; EMECC NURSING is, in fact, a post-basic continuing education programme based on evidence-based practices that enhances nurses' competence to meet real-life needs of European and Worldwide Health Systems, carried out by a network of international educational and health-professional institutions. Its core concept intrinsically conforms to the WHO Strategic Directives 2011-2015, while the Master's contents and methodology address several of the Key Result Areas defined by WHO.

The EMMECC NURSING Master main objective is to provide a structured and methodologically sound training programme that will cover the shortage of specially trained staff that burdens our health systems' intensive and acute care services.

Within our Health System, emergency and critical care typically deals with life-threatening problems; the nature of the problems as such, as well as the surrounding setting (human responses, stress handling, families, continuous monitoring, etc) have shown the necessity of creating specialised care units manned with specialised staff in order to provide optimal care.

While the physical setting (intensive and critical care units) is common practice at any modern hospital, the same cannot be said for the training of staff that works in those specialised units. The medical staff in charge of handling those situations must have specific knowledge, skills and attributes that encompass the specifics of care to critically ill or unstable patients and their families; however those specialized needs are rarely covered during standard nursing education –instead, hospitals are mainly obliged to rely on internal selection and training within existing personnel as and when required.

The EMECC NURSING Master will prepare clinical nurses to provide advanced nursing care within acute care services. To ensure student preparedness and employability, the Master will grant them a solid theoretical background, evidence-based training and clinical hands-on internships; all academic and experiential training modules will be specifically designed to fulfil the needs of intensive care units, as assessed by the participating nursing schools and collaborating hospitals.

The Master will also prepare nurses to elaborate a research project (Master Thesis) related with care of unstable or acutely ill patients, therefore it will also qualify students in research methodology and train them to use quality scientific literature to enhance their professional skills, to consider research as a relevant part of their professional practice, to motivate them to undertake additional studies to access Doctorate degree and to understand the concept of Lifelong Learning.

The EMECC NURSING Master is focused on the adult and paediatric critically ill patient. To our knowledge it is the first Master that permits students to acquire a general background in this field, with a progressive specialization in paediatrics, or adult and geriatrics. Moreover, specific aspects in the care of oncologic, postoperative or transplanted patients are included in the Master. Simulation, a new learning method, will be also developed.

Nursing staff is one of the most expensive parts of the healthcare budget in emergency and critical care services. In the near future, Emergency and Critical Care Units are expected to play an increasingly important role in our Hospitals. Moreover, given our health systems' economic reality, hospitals are expected to work in a more cost-effective manner and to deliver quality care to the community. A place to begin is by ensuring that safe and effective nursing staff is available in all emergency and intensive care departments. Therefore, educational programmes in this field will be highly competitive because they produce high added value for society.

Non European partner countries will add experiences and patients that are uncommon in European Hospitals providing a unique opportunity to compare advance nursing care under different circumstances.

New admission period self-financing students

In order to facilitate access to students who were not able to process their applications in the first phase of the selection process for the Erasmus Mundus Master´s Degree in Sustainable Transportation and Electrical Power Systems, The University of Oviedo has announced a new admission period aimed at 8 self-financing students

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