The highlight of last week for me was a trip to the wonderful city of Bologna to speak at a conference for nursing professionals on the development of competencies organised by IPASVI, the national nursing federation. It was a pleasure to meet our colleague and EIfEL member, Stuart Cable, Interim Lead for Learning Zone of the Royal College of Nursing in the UK. I gave an overview of ePortfolio activities in the healthcare sector in Europe and a brief outline of the role of the ePortfolio in the creation of digital identity. Stuart presented the impressive RCN ePortfolio and its use in professional development in the UK.
Can we have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to competency as the European Qualification Framework seems to hope? I think the answer is yes if the EQF remains a framework in which national frameworks can find their place. The Italian nursing profession is now tackling the challenge of defining competencies and designing development programmes – a process that some EU countries have already gone through and others have yet to address. Once again, context is critical. The eternal round of elections in Italy has inevitable repercussions on the availability and deployment of resources. The profession is making a concerted effort to improve its image and raise the level of qualifications. It was clear that they were in agreement with the broad view of competence as presented by the EQF that includes such ‘metacompetencies’ as learning to learn, working with others, communication and problem-solving. At the same time, there seems to be a need for consensus on basic technical competencies. We shall make slower progress to achieving the goal of professional mobility if some nurses can prescribe medication (UK) and some can’t (Italy).
The only slight downside to the event for me was trying to communicate the excitement of the subject in 7.5 minutes (15 mins with consecutive translation!). However we aim to follow up this ‘headline delivery’ with more detailed work in the ePortfolio healthcare SIG. So far there is interest in this group from Italy, France, the UK and Australia. All other expressions of interest welcome. We’ll be posting information soon and arranging a meeting before the summer in preparation for ePortfolio 2008 in Maastricht.