The IBD Nurse Education Programme

Kay Greveson, N-ECCO Chair

K.Greveson  Kay Greveson

The ECCO IBD Nurse Education Programme was introduced in 2018. Prior to embarking on the development of the programme, N-ECCO undertook a survey regarding the IBD nurse role in 2014 and found very large variation across Europe, with the role still being in its infancy in some countries. The level of education also varied. A scoping exercise was done to see whether there was a need for an educational programme. A total of 140 responses were obtained from a mix of clinical IBD nurses, nurses who reported that they cared for patients with IBD but whose role was not specifically IBD care, and research nurses. There was overwhelming agreement on the need for this type of programme and over 60% said that they had no accredited IBD course available to them. In all countries the largest provider of IBD training was the pharmaceutical companies. 

Based on the N-ECCO survey and the scoping exercise, EduCom and N-ECCO developed the IBD Nurse Education Programme. The course is fully funded by ECCO, including the cost of an one-week visit by the participants in their chosen IBD centre. The course will cover aspects of IBD which are relevant to all IBD nurses. It will address both fundamental and advanced IBD care and also offer supportive clinical and nursing mentorship and experiential learning through a visit to a centre of IBD care either in the country of practice or in Europe. The course is organised into monthly modules, covering a 6-month period, and will start with a face-to-face (F2F) meeting. The course will end with a final F2F meeting to discuss the learning that has been achieved as a result of the course. 

The programme has three main pillars:

• First pillar: Two F2F meetings attended by the nurse participants: the main purpose of the first F2F is to introduce the programme, to familiarise nurses with the buddy system and to provide an introduction to IBD and the role of the IBD nurse in general.

• Second pillar: A period of 6 months independent e-Learning divided into six modules, which is supported by the local faculty, including the physician and nurse mentor.

• Third pillar: Visiting an established IBD nursing centre in Italy, where nurse participants can interact with more experienced nurses.

The three support tools:

• The local physician mentors have a crucial role to play in supporting their mentees. They agree to provide not only managerial and administrative support, but also clinical support.

• A local nurse mentor within an IBD centre of excellence with longer experience in the field of IBD will help the nurse participants, providing them with guidance and helping them to understand the IBD nurse role.

• The buddy system will also be implemented in the programme. Every nurse will be paired with another nurse from a different city or hospital so that they can exchange knowledge and help each other through the programme.

IBD Course Milan
The IBD Nurse Education Programme, Italy - First Face-to-Face Meeting in Milan © ECCO

Learning outcomes have been developed and the modules include a range of reading, podcasts, e-courses and reflection. The modules will be posted monthly on the newly developed platform and final evaluation will be at the last F2F meeting. 

The decision on which country is to hold the course is based on a nomination and assessment process which is determined by the need of the country, existing IBD nursing resources and educational opportunities. Italy was chosen as the first country to hold the IBD Nurse Education Programme. Out of 27 application, 20 nurse participants were successfully selected and the first F2F meeting was held in November 2018 in Milan. 

The outcomes and evaluation of the Nurse Education Programme will be presented at the N-ECCO Network Meeting 2020.

For future Nurse Education Programmes watch out for country applications calls from the ECCO Office.

The IBD Nurse Education Programme, Italy - First Face-to-Face Meeting in Milan © ECCO

The IBD Nurse Education Programme, Italy - First Face-to-Face Meeting in Milan © ECCO

Posted in ECCO News, Committee News, N-ECCO, Volume 13, Issue 4