Burns and scar management education: A national learning package

Deane Bell1, Jenna Courtney2

1 Waikato District Health Board, Pembroke Street, Hamilton, New Zealand 3240, deane.bell@waikatodhb.health.nz
2 Waikato District Health Board, Pembroke Street, Hamilton, New Zealand 3240, jenna.courtney@waikatodhb.health.nz

Historically therapists across New Zealand providing in- and out-patient management of burn injury and scaring have managed their own educational needs. Education within individual services has been achieved through the use of resource folders, self-directed learning and attendance at a Burns and Scar Management (BSM) forum held every 18months. Resource folders and self-directed learning between hospitals is not standardised and tends to be based on clinical experience and resources handed down between therapists. Due to this ‘ad-hock’ educational approach therapists, particularly in rural and smaller regional units, often feel under-prepared and isolated.

Larger centres, such as regional and national inpatient burns units, have a higher likelihood of retaining experienced therapists and future proofing their services with rotational therapists; while rural services and more specifically sole practitioner roles can often have high staff turnover or therapists who retain these roles for many years, leaving with their expert knowledge when they depart.

There is no formal direction in the literature or through training institutions regarding minimum educational requirements, such as specific topics or clinical experiences, for therapist’s to be successful in their role. This therefore has the potential to lead to disparities in knowledge, education and learning opportunities between national, regional and rural centres.

The BSM National Learning Programme is designed to ensure therapists throughout the country have a standardised approach to learning and development, resulting in an equivalent skill base, knowledge, and access to educational material and resources.  The intention is to develop a programme that will be rolled out across New Zealand, accessible by those entering the BSM service, especially those in rural / sole practitioner settings.

This poster outlines the current state of education throughout NZ and how we intend to see the National Learning Programme being implemented across NZ BSM service.

Key Words

Education, National Learning Package, Standardised, Therapists


Jenna Courtney and Deane Bell are occupational therapists working at Waikato DHB, New Zealand, within the Burns and Scar Management (BSM) service.  Combined they have 10years experience working with burn injury and have become passionate about their roles and development of others.  Both therapists have a special interest in education and are currently providing education to junior therapists and rural therapists surrounding the WDHB.  They recognise the importance of continuing education and access to specialist learning, therefore are excited to be involved in this project.

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