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Brain injury and stroke course developed to help nurses

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A first-of-its-kind course for nurses to enhance their capability in supporting patients recovering from brain injuries and strokes has been developed. 

The online course, which is open to applications from around the world, enables registered nurses to study part-time while continuing their clinical roles, and will enable them to develop integrated brain, body and mind specialist skills, which are urgently needed in neurological rehabilitation.

The “ground breaking” course is being targeted particularly at assisting the rehabilitation of people aged between 18 and 40, which course creators say is a “relatively neglected” area in existing teaching programmes. 

The year-long course will, says its creators, equip specialist neurological rehabilitation nurses with “the resources and skills to develop person-centred, partnership focussed, practice in the area of neurological care and rehabilitation of adults”.

The postgraduate certificate in Neurological Rehabilitation and Care has been created by specialists at the University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the RCN Foundation and brain injury charity SameYou. 

SameYou was established by actor Emilia Clarke, who survived two life threatening brain haemorrhages while working on Game of Thrones. Now an Ambassador for the RCN, Emilia is committed to enhancing the skills and academic improvement for all nurses.

Research shows that almost 1 in 3 people will have an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) at some point in their life, with more than 135 million worldwide currently living with brain injury. However, a lack of focus on such brain injuries in healthcare means the scale of the problem is underestimated, experts say.  

Furthermore, statistics show that every 5 seconds someone in the world will die of a stroke, and that in England and Wales alone, a total of 1 million stroke survivors need post-acute care. One in four people who have a stroke is aged under 65.

The launch of the course will provide 30 fully funded places for nurses around the world, with it being set to start in May 2021. 

“Nurses are at the forefront of delivering excellent care and the investment in this programme demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting and strengthening the profession,” says Deepa Korea, director of RCN Foundation. 

“The RCN Foundation is delighted to be funding this innovative and ground breaking education programme in collaboration with SameYou and the University of Edinburgh, which will enhance and improve patient care for young people across the UK with acquired brain injury.”

Jenny Clarke, co-founder and chief executive of SameYou, says: “Neurorehabilitation is among the most neglected and underfunded areas of healthcare, and it is one of SameYou’s goals to take action to improve this.

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership to develop this first-of-its-kind nursing education programme to support the enhancement and training of our nurses to work in neurological rehabilitation.”

“We are delighted to partner with the RCN Foundation and SameYou to develop this cutting-edge and responsive educational programme,” adds Professor Aisha Holloway, head of nursing studies at the University of Edinburgh. 

“This opportunity will elevate and strengthen the nurse’s role as part of multi-disciplinary, person-centred neurorehabilitation care. As part of our Edinburgh Global Nursing Initiative, this new programme aligns to our vision of advancing the scope of practice and influence of nurses for the purpose of transforming patient health outcomes.”

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