An integrated model of specialised-delivered care is widely accepted as the standard of care for people with haemophilia in the UK. Assessment of available evidence on patient outcomes confirms this approach. But leading the specialist care for this group of patients does not require a medical qualification. Specialist nursing is well established within the haemophilia service and offers perhaps the greatest resource as health services cope with cost constraints on the specialist provision of services.
Guidance from the European Association for Haemophilia and Allied Disorders (EAHAD) sets out the educational milestones haemophilia nurses should aim to achieve. However, little is known about the resources nurses use for education and current awareness.
To assess the current educational level of haemophilia nurses, how and where they access ongoing education, where they feel they need extra support, and how best this teaching could be delivered.
Haemophilia nurses in the Haemnet Horizons group devised and piloted a questionnaire. This was distributed in hard copy to nurses attending the 2019 EAHAD Congress and promoted as an online survey hosted by Survey Monkey.
Seventy-five replies were received from nurses in Europe (46 in the UK), and two from nurses in Chile and the Philippines. Most described their role as ‘specialist nurse’, with the majority having worked in haemophilia care for up to ten years. Half had a nursing degree and one quarter had a nursing diploma. Three quarters had attended at least one course specifically related to haemophilia nursing. Almost all used academic sources, study days and the websites of health profession organisations as information sources. Most also used Google or Wikipedia, but fewer used Twitter. Patient association websites were more popular among non-UK nurses. About half attended sponsored professional meetings and three quarters reported that educational meetings were available in their workplace. A clear majority preferred interactive and face-to-face activities using patient-focused content.
The study shows that nurses, predominantly in Western Europe, access a range of educational resources, most of which are ‘traditional’. Use of online sources is high, but social media are less popular than Google or Wikipedia. Further research is needed to explore the potential of new media for haemophilia nurse education, and whether the current educational levels and needs highlighted in the survey remains the same across the whole of Europe.
Members of the multi-disciplinary team involved in delivering haemophilia care face a range of significant clinical and service leadership challenges. These include the developing treatment landscape, the drive towards individualised care, an uneven age structure among haemophilia nurses and constrained budgets. Faced with such challenges, the ASPIRE programme has been established to encourage and support a new generation of haemophilia leaders who are committed to improving haemophilia care across the UK, and beyond. The programme is open to healthcare professional from multiple disciplines, and is designed to support the development of a leadership community comprising members of the haemophilia care team in a way that contrasts with hierarchical leadership and management courses more typically found in the NHS.