Nursing practices: Lost in translation?

Why do Norwegian nurses use a different procedure than Spanish and English ones when giving the patient an injection? And who has the best way of doing it?

Nursing researchers by hospital bed, from left: Venche Hvidsten (UiS), Esther Navarro (Universidad Católica de Valencia), Kristin Hjorthaug Urstad (UiS), Katharine Whittingham and Heather Wharrad (University of Nottingham) Delving deep into nursing practices: Venche Hvidsten (UiS), Esther Navarro (UCV), Kristin Hjorthaug Urstad (UiS), Katharine Whittingham and Heather Wharrad (UoN)

These and similar questions are being explored in DIMEANE and Digisim, two international projects on digital teaching tools for nursing education. However, those questions were not part of the original project brief.

E-learning for students

Starting out, the DIMEANE project did not seem all that complicated: the aim was to develop and implement interactive mobile e-learning compendiums to improve learning and flexibility for British, Norwegian and Spanish nursing students.

Academics at the universities of Stavanger, Nottingham and Catolica de Valencia collaborated to successfully evolve the project over three years.

On the back of this success, the team was awarded funding for a further project called DigiSim, creating clinical procedure apps.

Just another voiceover?

DigiSim entails making videos of procedures that all students in Divisions of Nursing are required to learn in order to pass their exams and qualify for work in the health sector.

To transcend national borders, you just need to make one voiceover per language, right?


Cultural differences

Because as soon as the researchers got down to the nitty-gritty of mapping out detailed procedures to be described and filmed, they discovered a whole host of national, and even regional, differences in procedure.

­– It became clear that translation of learning content across countries were much more complex than we first thought, says Kristin Urstad associate professor at University of Stavanger and leader of the project.

– Digital resources open up a box which exposes cultural differences in a new way, says Heather Warrad, Professor of e-Learning and Health Informatics at the University of Nottingham in the UK.

New solutions

The project then, has become unexpectedly intricate and interesting. The researchers are now comparing and contrasting the individual procedures, down to the angle of a syringe or whether or not gloves are worn for a specific task.

This in turn has led to fruitful discussions about the underlying reasoning and evidence base behind each approach. When results are published, their findings should be very interesting for educators across Europe.  

Nursing apps

DIMEANE stands for Development and Implementation of Interactive Mobil E-learning Apps for European Nursing Education. The project explores ways of using digital solutions to up the quality of education.

The app is called Erasmus.nursing and is available on App Store and Google play. Such tools can also make training for nurses more available internationally, for instance in countries with weaker infrastructure on education.

The project group is currently working on the next app, the skills training simulation app (Digisim) that will be available in 2019.

Innovation in teaching

Outside these projects, the universities of Stavanger (UiS) and Nottingham (UoN) have other things in common, one of them being both members of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU).

DIMEANE is the UiS nominee for the consortium’s annual Team award for innovation in teaching and learning.

In addition, these projects are part of the research group E-learning and Simulation at University of Stavanger led by Bjørg Oftedal.

Project group members:

University of Nottingham: 

  • Heather Wharrad
  • Richard Windle
  • Mike Taylor
  • Melanie Narayanasamy
  • Katharine Whittingham
  • Jo Rutt

University of Stavanger:

  • Kristin Hjorthaug Urstad
  • Atle Løkken
  • Venche Hvidsten
  • Bjørg Oftedal
  • Torunn Strømme
  • Cecilie Haraldseid


  • David Fernández
  • Cristina Ferrer
  • Olga Forero
  • Esther Navarro
  • David Sancho

Text and photo: Leiv Gunnar Lie