The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the world’s largest nursing union and professional body, has partnered with digital preservation specialist Preservica to ensure medical and clinical guidance is made available online and preserved for its 450,000 members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The information is hoped to support front-line NHS nurses, midwives, student and newly qualified nurses, support workers and retired nurses “returning to duty” during the pandemic.
The initiative is also hoped to 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.
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 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 said: “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”.
Oxfordshire-based Preservica has previously lent its archiving technology to the UK National Archives, Texas State Library and Archives, MoMA, Dartmouth College and HSBC.
Preservica’s CEO Mike Quinn added: “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.”