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Manchester student nurses training to record patients’ information on tablets

Patientrack system, which helps assess vital signs digitally and flags up potential problems, is in use throughout several hospitals in the region

The University of Manchester is training its student nurses to record patient observations using a system called Patientrack.

The training, which the university claimed was the first of its kind in the world, teaches students to take patients’ vital signs at the bedside and enter them straight into a tablet device.

The system is in use throughout several hospitals in Manchester and the university hopes it will prepare students for using the system in a hospital environment when training is complete.

Carol Wilde, a former A&E matron, who is now the clinical skills tutor at the university’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, said learning how to accurately record a patient’s vital signs and carrying out patient observations is “the bread and butter of nursing practice”.

“As the NHS becomes paperless, we need to give students a real feel for the systems they will use. Introducing Patientrack into the classroom was the only way to do this, something no other nursing school has done,” she said.

Wilde added that allowing “first-year students to learn how to carry out patient observations digitally, through classroom simulation, is an important step in updating nursing teaching in the university environment, so that it reflects the modern realities of nursing”.

Patientrack is one of several e-observation systems in use in the UK. It lets students capture the vital signs directly into a tablet, with the information then used to automatically calculate an early warning score. Hence, if a patient is at risk of deterioration an alert is sent directly to doctors.

So far in 2016, 400 students have been taught to use the system. Students are also being taught how to record bedside observations on paper charts, as part of a normal clinical procedure.

Steven Pryjmachuk, director of NHS education contracts and external liaison at the school, said the training allows students to “test out the technology in a safe, simulated clinical setting, in preparation for use in real clinical environments”.

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Exactly right. (Unless some Harvard Business School report thinks it's too costly for Big Business.) As everything - including medical records - moves into a digital world, this is the kind of early training we need. Actually, if these student nurses had received proper training before opting for nursing, they'd have picked up the tablets and gone right to work, with very little training required.
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