To solve this problem, cardiac nurse practitioner (NP) Chris Aldridge has designed a free mobile app for nurses to use to keep track of their clinical learning hours, after struggling himself to find all the records for his own learning portfolio.
“I couldn’t find the records of my learning activities, and I thought it would be very handy to have an app where you could record professional development on the spot, track your hours and export your learning records for copying over to a portfolio,” Aldridge said.
The app is called “Ascribe” and is available for both iPhone and Android devices, from both the Google Play and Apple app stores. It is free to use, but Aldridge says it does contain ads to cover his costs in developing and upgrading it, as well as the cost of keeping it in the app stores.
Aldridge, who works at Middlemore Hospital, says several of his colleagues — registered nurses, clinical nurse specialists and NPs — have downloaded the app and are finding it “very useful” to keep track of their continuing professional development (CPD).
“I developed this initially for Android phones but some of my nursing colleagues then asked me where the Apple version was, and hence I spent another few months to put together a version for Apple devices.”
He said not all nurses print out learning records on paper and some complete their portfolios online on hospital systems. “In this case the app makes it easy to access your learning records and copy and paste them over to other templates.”
While the app could help nurses record and track their CPD hours and put together evidence of ongoing professional development, he said it was still important nurses kept attendance certificates and other proof of ongoing learning where required.
Easter egg included
Each version has its own little Easter egg (an extra feature): the Android version has a CPD expense-tracking module, and the Apple version has a sync to iCloud, which allows use across multiple Apple devices.
So far, there have been around 100 downloads of each of the two versions of his app. He said the app wasn’t limited to nursing — other health professionals could also use it if their CPD learning requirements were similar to those of nurses.
Aldridge learnt Java, an Android programming language, as a lockdown hobby (while still continuing to work through the lockdowns), then later learnt the Apple language, Swift.
Developing the two versions of his app had taken up “way too many” hours, he said.