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European Junior Leadership Academy for Student Nurses
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

RELATE is a three year project that aims to develop, implement and evaluate a pilot European Junior Leadership Academy (EJLA) for Student Nurses and a related Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). The project objectives align with the philosophy of the European Commission and Erasmus Plus. The objectives are1. to generate a contemporary, shared conception of nurse leadership that integrates a range of cultural and professional values 2. to develop leadership knowledge, skills and attitudes of student nurses and newly qualified nurses 3. to establish active communities of practice for students and newly qualified nurses through blended mobility4. to provide opportunities for nurse educators to collaborate, experience and test innovative teaching methods RELATE targets nurse educators, newly qualified nurses and student nurses. The European Junior Leadership Academy seeks to address the important priority of developing skills in the European Area by focusing on developing the leadership skills of student nurses. The RELATE project also integrates development of digital and ICT skills into the leadership development of nurses because to deliver the most up to date and modern care, employers need nurses who, on the point of qualification, have the information technology skills necessary to take full advantage of the technological resources available for patient care and patient outcomes. Enhancement of these skills has the potential to connect practitioners virtually to facilitate the adoption, diffusion and spread of innovation and evidence based nursing practice. The project also targets nurse educators because educating this modern nurse who is a clinical, care and knowledge worker requires highly skilled, digitally literate and innovative educators. RELATE seeks to develop nurses educators from different countries through shared training and experimentation with teaching and social network tools not often seen in nursing education. The team recognises the value of emerging leaders as peer mentors for student nurses. This project will therefore also target nurses in their first year of qualification and develop their peer mentoring skills. The European Junior Leadership Academy (EJLA) programme will identify 40 high performing nursing students from four Higher Education Institutions in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Slovenia and Portugal who demonstrate leadership aptitude and leadership potential. The programme will develop their leadership identity, knowledge, attitudes and skills by creating opportunities for them to observe leaders in action and leaders’ impact on the individuals and organisations they lead. Through leadership retreats, internships, mentoring and peer network projects, the EJLA will support participants to develop their leadership signature early in their career journey. Materials from the EJLA will be adapted and delivered as a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC). This element of the project aims to expose a wider number of student nurses across Europe and beyond, to leadership development opportunities. The RELATE project is needed because nurses across Europe face the common challenge of delivering more nursing care with less resources. The rising demand for healthcare has been fuelled by an ageing European population, the global epidemic of non communicable illnesses and the information revolution which has resulted in highly informed patients. At the same time, health systems across Europe are under increasing pressure to contain costs. Delivering high quality care under these conditions requires innovative, collaborative nursing practice and cadre of leaders able to operate in different professional situations and cultures. The results of the project include a collection of assets which will be curated on the RELATE website. The assets will include pedagogical resources for student nurses, nurse educators and nurses. These will be available openly to the public. A Massive Online Open Course will also be produced as part of the project. The MOOC, Lead Now! will be available to any student nurse wishing to take part. The impact of the RELATE project in the local, national , regional and international nursing and nurse education community will be a wider acceptance of junior leadership as a key talent management objective for student nurses. Locally, health facilities and higher education institutions will benefit from students and newly qualified/emerging leaders increased leadership identity and skills through the generation of more ideas for service and care improvement and more ability to initiate change. Participants’ enhanced IT and electronic communication skills will result in more effective communication, networks and collaborations. The impact will be better standards of nursing care locally, nationally and regionally which will improve the patient experience, mortality and morbidity rates and improve the health of local populations.
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