The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the world’s largest nursing union and professional body, has partnered with digital preservation specialist Preservica to ensure vital medical and clinical guidance is made available online and preserved for its 450,000 members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The information is critical to supporting front-line NHS nurses, midwives, student and newly qualified nurses, support workers and retired nurses “returning to duty” at this unprecedented time. The initiative is helping reassure RCN staff and senior decision-makers that records documenting decisions and actions of the RCN, as well as advice given to members, are being actively collected. Actions include the RCN lobbying the UK government on the availability of testing and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for its members.
Real-time digital preservation & access
Led by the RCN’s archives team, the college has already made more than a thousand historical clinical guidance publications available online through a secure members portal. The very latest information on tackling infectious diseases and a full summary of all UK government advice and statements is available on the RCN website.
The team is also actively capturing and preserving RCN website bulletins related to COVID-19, and working with the RCN’s comms team to harvest testimonials of front-line nurses that have been shared on social media. The aim is to document the contribution of the college and its members for future generations and enable the RCN to supply evidence that demonstrate its role and actions during the pandemic.
Fiona Bourne, Archive Manager at the RCN, commented:
“A lot of nursing students have just qualified, and they’re going straight into the workforce to tackle the pandemic. Without that depth of experience, it’s part of our job to ensure that they have access to vital clinical information as well as the most up to date advice and guidance so they can come up to speed quickly and safely.”
The RCN is using Preservica’s online digital preservation and discovery platform to quickly capture, preserve and make material securely accessible to members no matter where they are or what device they might be using.
The college is also participating in an initiative launched by Preservica called #ourcovid19story that is donating additional free cloud storage to the user community for COVID-19 related collections.
This has taken pressure off the RCN archive team enabling them to ensure information is collected and made available in near-real-time without worrying about storage space. The cloud hosted Preservica application has also meant that the team have been able to remain productive while working remotely during “lockdown”.
“If, as seems likely in the future, there is a public enquiry about the government’s response to the pandemic, we’ll be able to provide evidence promptly and effectively to the relevant body. That same evidence will show what the organisation has done in terms of advice and support for nurses and care workers across the NHS and the independent sector, and the contribution of key staff to government advisory committees”.
Mike Quinn, Preservica’s CEO, commented:
“We are humbled by the work the RCN archive team are doing to support their members on the frontline of this pandemic as well as documenting their heroic work for future generations. This along with all our customers using Preservica to actively capture and preserve this unprecedented time in our history fills us with enormous pride.”
The RCN, along with other speakers from the City of Boston, the University at Buffalo, Network Rail and Rhode Island Department of State, will be talking about their work on an upcoming webinar: Preservation in real time: delivering value to you institution & community during a global pandemic.