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Online opportunities for continuing nursing education

Online opportunities for continuing nursing education

The nursing profession is the largest single health profession in Fiji. The Ministry of Health understands how important nurses are and each year allocates tens of thousands of dollars to provide continuing nursing education. Although it is a costly investment, it is well worth it because it ameliorates nursing standards and practice, which in turn improves patient satisfaction and safety. Continuing nursing education is an ideal way for nurses to brush up on their knowledge. However paying for continuing professional development can be a costly investment. This being said, there are other ways to learn new skill and knowledge without spending a dollar.

The power of online courses

Devina Gaundan, a Nurse Unit Manager, has taken several free online courses through the World Health Organisation (WHO) funded human resource for health development program, Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN). “The Fiji Nursing Decree 2011 requires a registered nurse to demonstrate evidence of at least 20 hours of continuous professional development every year in order to continue practicing as a nurse,” said Ms Gaundan. POLHN provides course completion certificates that registered nurses use as evidence toward meeting the requirements for re-licensure. The online platform provides integrated e-learning topics to equip nurses to deliver a broader range of care. “WHO recognises constraints linked to the management of a competent nursing workforce, hence through POLHN, offers ongoing study opportunities to improve knowledge and enhance clinical practice,” said Mohammed Aruf Yasin, Technical Officer for Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN). “The objective behind the establishment of POLHN is to improve the health of all people by closing the skill gap in the health sector through innovative mechanism and collaborative partnerships with universities, institutions and ministries of health in the region, he continues. “Through POLHN’s support, I was able to complete Master of Health Service Management (HSM) from Fiji National University”, said Ms Gaundan. “I have also managed to publish three of my articles. POLHN has opened many doors for me and I encourage all students to grab this opportunity,” she continued.

Making the most of POLHN

POLHN provides and sponsors CPD opportunities in the areas of medicine, nursing, health education and public health. To assist with online learning, POLHN in partnership with Fiji's Ministry of Health has established 24 internet connected e-learning centres within all the sub-divisional and divisional hospitals in Fiji. “POLHN remains committed to assisting MOHMS to bridge knowledge gaps by providing a flawless supply of professional development and education opportunities to upskill health workers and improve overall health service delivery,” said Mr Yasin. Online learning through POLHN has now become a quintessential part of continuing professional development for nurses in the Pacific. To enroll for free or to browse the various opportunities available, visit:

Free online courses now available for nurses

Free online courses now available for nurses

The Pacific Open Learning Health Net in partnership with the Ministry of Health has established 24 internet connected e-learning centres within all the sub-divisional and divisional hospitals in the country where nurses can access free online courses which will help upgrade their knowledge and skills.

POLHN’s free online courses improve education opportunities for Pacific health workers

POLHN’s free online courses improve education opportunities for Pacific health workers

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has put extensive efforts into providing free e-learning courses over the past 14 years through Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN).

This strives to bridge the gaps between geographically dispersed health workers and address their growing needs for continuing professional development (CPD).

Aiming to develop a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce using relevant, effective and quality e-learning, POLHN has worked extensively at providing free online courses to health workers in the Pacific, irrespective of their location.

Since 2003, the WHO and Pacific Ministries of Health have together created several self-paced e-learning courses in a wide range of clinical and public health topics. So far, more than 50,000 learners around the world have enrolled in POLHN’s free online courses.

A laboratory technician at work in Nauru General Hospital

©WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

Mohammed Aruf Yasin, Technical Officer for POLHN at the WHO explained why he is so enthusiastic about the platform: “The POLHN model works because it is embedded into the Ministry of Health and is guided by its training and human resource development plan. It is governed by Pacific Ministers of Health and Heads of Health and allows countries to customise, manage, and implement online training to improve both public health and clinical services.

POLHN has recently upgraded its website to become mobile responsive, multi-page and country oriented with improved and up-to-date health-related information. It currently hosts more than 30 e-learning courses, links students with more than 10,000 non-accredited short self-paced online courses, and provides access to 10 specialised online accredited postgraduate programs through its partner institutions.

The e-learning platform provides course developers and health workers an opportunity to explore different teaching methods and learning models. “The upcoming free self-paced e-learning courses will take nursing skills and knowledge to another level,” said Yasin

The new professional development courses will be available in the last quarter of 2018.

POLHN remains committed to developing human resources for health by developing and sharing knowledge with a wider health workforce,” Yasin said. “The ability to transform classrooms into online platform allows course developers to reflect and advance their teaching methods. The content they develop also allows them to use it during their in-class teaching.

Kiritimati Hospital students at their graduation


POLHN continues to create free e-learning courses that are open to health workers for self-development. Those seeking full academic degrees can also apply for POLHN sponsorship to be enrolled into programmes. One such opportunity is the fully online, part-time Master’s degree program in Public Health and Nursing from Fiji National University and the University of Fiji. POLHN plans to continue expanding to other universities in the Australasia region to improve health workforce in the Pacific.