* Objective: The integration of technology in nurse education has become an essential element of academic practice. Yet innovation uptake between academic institutions across the four countries of the UK and their clinical practice partners has proved problematic, leading to a slow introduction of digitally enhanced teaching and learning innovations, particularly in the area of clinical decision making and leadership.
* Participants: The Virtual in Practice Support (VIPS) project involved two academic institutions working with the same mental health care service partner aiming to maximise student clinical placement learning. Student nurses in their final year of training were invited to take part in testing the viability of distance e-tutoring (via computer access to academic nurse lecturers) for facilitated critical reflection.
* Design: An evaluation of the use of video linked conference sessions, set up for students to undertake a group based online (i.e. virtual) group tutorial is presented.
* Methods: All participants completed an evaluation data sheet using a five point Likert scale and free text evaluation feedback form completed at the end of each online tutorial session. Students were also invited to a focus group and all tutors were interviewed at the completion of the project.
* Results: The VIPS project findings highlight; i) the importance of a clear project vision for innovation uptake ii) consequences of working with innovation champions and iii) how technology can be used to maximise student learning across geographical distance through online facilitated group critical discussion.
* Conclusion: VIPS' participants were able to articulate positive outcomes as a result of engaging in a multi-institutional project that capitalised on the richness of nursing clinical practice learning experience for both the students and the academics involved as innovation champions.
- Clinical placement support
- E tutoring
- Nursing students
- Online conferencing
- Technology enhanced learning